Thursday, July 26, 2007

The War of Art

[posted by Callimachus]

If you've been following the "Scott Thomas" affair, it seems to be reaching denouement. The anonymous soldier who wrote a nasty account of behavior by himself and his fellow soldiers has been identified, and turns out to be someone who, according to his own earlier writings under his own name, seems to have gone to war to bulletproof his public anti-U.S.-military views and to boost his career as a creative writer. I don't pretend to be able to understand such people. In his own words:

I know that NOT participating in a war (and such a misguided one at that) should be considered better than wanting to be in one just to write a book...but you know, maybe id rather be a good man than a good both? Some can and some cant...i guess it all depends on how great an artist, or how great a man they want to be. Sometimes it feels like i have to choose between being totally loyal to thoughts of my future family OR totally loayl to chasing down the muse. must find a middle ground.

The Remarque wanna-be needs a spell checker.

Kudos to John Barnes, who had the anonymous writer's general identity pegged days before the reality came forth:

Based on a mix of semiotic analysis and my seat of the pants experience as a frequent reader of professional and near-professional writing by new writers, my guess is this: I think "Scott Thomas" is actually an MFA writing student, or a recent graduate of such a program, probably with some military experience ....