Monday, November 3, 2008

Robert Jordan, Machiavelli, and McCain

My friend Rebeca recommended David Margolick's piece in the New York Times about Hemingway's hero in the novel For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Robert Jordan is the hero of Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls, an American fighting Franco's Fascists in the Spanish Civil War. And despite his radical roots, he's a literary sensation during this election season. Senator Barack Obama told Rolling Stone that Hemingway's novel, published in 1940, is one of the three books that most inspired him. As for Senator John McCain, few men, real or fictional, have influenced him as much as Jordan.

I thought it a curious choice for for Johnny Mac ... but almost predictable. It is a Romantic choice too. I suppose that sort of mindset would be of use in a POW camp under torture. Machiavelli might have collaborated. Or maybe not. Machiavelli, I suppose, also had a "strategic" -- meaning he would have understood how collaboration would have damaged his future -- vision rather than a tactical one.

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