Books Magazine

Ben Fountain is My Hero. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk...

By Shannawilson @shanna_wilson
Ben Fountain is my hero. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk...

Ben Fountain is my hero. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk flips the lid off the absurdities of America “at war.” When a group of soldiers returning from Iraq get a heroes welcome at a Dallas Cowboys football game, fans, players and bystanders say things like, “Are you winning the war?” to a group of newly anointed veterans, unsure how to reply.

In one exchange, a man tells Billy, “‘You are your brother soldiers are preparing the way,’ and Billy knows better than to ask the way to what.”

In the way all the journalists, and parents and siblings and spouses ask inane questions, “What’s it like to get shot at? Have you ever killed anybody? Do you know anyone who died?” Fountain explores the men’s reactions, most of which, are stoic and unobservant. While the good folks of Texas are getting their daily consumption of football, fast food, Bill O’Reilly and God, they are also blindly thumping their drum of patriotism, having no idea what’s out there on the other side.

This is how society treats men and women coming home from war. Melodramatic welcomes home parades, with strangers bearing unsolicited and ill-directed praise. There’s nothing behind these exchanges - they’re all just exercises in futility spoken by people with rarely a clue about what a terrorist is, or America’s role in it.

Billy’s conversation with his sister, Kathryn, who ignorantly, but lovingly pleads with him to object to returning with his battalion, is indicative of the sort of sweetness, and solidarity that is often missing from the country’s dialog. She asks him if he agrees with the war. She’s researched help for him to re-enter society, listing all the political figureheads and Fox news anchors who had never been to war, but serve as its strongest proponents.

In the end, Fountain digs at society’s un-sensibilities. Its reluctance to determine its own foe, the gluttonous, God-fearing reflection it stalks. The nation’s disconnected, non-influential families have sons and daughters in Iraq and Afghanistan, while the movie producers and sports teams get society’s bonus points for hailing them at home. All a footballer has to do in his patriotic duty, is stand at attention during the National Anthem and jump up and down a few times. Let’s get pumped.

I can’t help but be reminded of the Jean-Paul Sarte quote, “When the rich rage war, it’s the poor who die.”

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • 10 Reasons Why Startups Love Graphic Designs (And You Should, Too!)

    Reasons Startups Love Graphic Designs (And Should, Too!)

    Every business is going to need graphic design work at some point or another; in fact, for startups today, the majority of this work should actually be done... Read more

    The 13 September 2015 by   Gaurav Tiwari
  • New WOWBUTTER Range


    Disclaimer- Precious Little Worlds have been sent out some samples of peanut butter from WOWBUTTER for free in exchange for our honest opinion for the purpose o... Read more

    The 13 September 2015 by   Hannah Staveley
  • Apple Sued For Trademark Infringement Over “Ear Pods”

    Apple Sued Trademark Infringement Over “Ear Pods”

    Direct Sound Headphones, LLC, of a Fenton, Missouri has sued Apple for Trademark Infringement over the term “Ear Pods” Plaintiff, (“Direct Sound” or “Plaintiff”... Read more

    The 12 September 2015 by   Worldwide
  • Review: Red: A Natural History of the Redhead

    Review: Red: Natural History Redhead

    You cannot be a fan of Pre-Raphaelite art without, at some point, noticing that one hair colour seems rather prevalent. Whether you say 'russet' or 'Titian' or... Read more

    The 12 September 2015 by   Kirsty Stonell Walker
  • Essential Papers You’ve Probably Never Read

    Essential Papers You’ve Probably Never Read

    Hmmm. What to read next?“What would you consider to be the most important papers to read in your discipline?”.That was the question a colleague with whom I’m... Read more

    The 13 September 2015 by   Bradshaw
  • When to Toss Away Your Beauty Products?

    When Toss Away Your Beauty Products?

    beauty products expiration guide Beauty and makeup products do go bad, they stop performing, even cause irritation and infection when used beyond expiry date. Read more

    The 14 September 2015 by   Subha Bose

Add a comment