To borrow part of the first sentence of Huck Finn, "YOU don't know about me...but that ain't no matter." I was nine years old when man first stepped on the moon. We were poor, and that summer we did without a television set, and i missed the moon landing. We had a small radio that sat on the top of the electric icebox, and the Cleveland Press on occasion. Once a week, my mother took me to Collinwood's public library. For some reason or another, i was a fanatic about base ball. I read nearly every base ball book that library had. I became familiar with much of twentieth century ball up to the late 1950s; beyond that—Sandy Koufax, and Bob Gibson. I was not able to appreciate "Ball Four", and quit on it. Well, the one important book i read, that summer, was Huck Finn.
Now, that novel came out about 1885 and occurred around 1840. It was popular when it came out, and attacked for its roughness and coarseness. To-day, it is still attacked for its coarseness; but, perhaps, from different perspectives. As America had changed from antebellum to the gilded age, so it has at the beginning of this century. That book is still important, and has become an academic standard in American and English language literature.
The book is told by a participant of the tale. He is a youth, that would have been anonymously overlooked by important people. He speaks to us of conscience, and the choice between good and evil. What is right, is not always legal, or accepted by society and its arbiters of propriety. They will scare with threats of prison and damnation. But simple Huckleberry becomes a servant of his conscience.
So Huck is important to the world. I read, that, this story has always been popular in Russia. After reading much Russian literature, and history, i can see why. The Russian existential question concerns man's relation to the cosmos. Though Neil Armstrong touched the moon first, Jurij Aleksejevič Gagarin was the first cosmonaut.
As Bob Dylan sang, "I've learned to hate Russians all through my whole life". He was a troubadour in the cold war in a country still heavily contesting the difference between white and black men. He begins that same song in an humble, and even more anonymous spirit than Huck. "Oh my name it is nothin', my age it means less. The country I come from is called the Midwest. I's taught and brought up there, the laws to abide". He also is man struggling with his conscience against his country's culture and ethos. The nation still intimidates by coercion of legal, and religious censure.
The point and crux is: we all matter, and where you matter the most is to do right.
— 29 November 2012.
**** **** **** **** **** **** **** ****
Time, to time i pen things. I also lose them. This was going to be the introductory page for a book, possibly, of interviews with people who followed their consciences. I spoke to a friend about it, he listened and nothing. I would like a publisher.