According to Wikipedia: Among other things, Catch-22 is a general critique of bureaucratic operation and reasoning. Resulting from its specific use in the book, the phrase “Catch-22″ is common idiomatic usage meaning “a no-win situation” or “a double bind” of any type. Within the book, “Catch-22″ is a military rule, the self-contradictory circular logic that, for example, prevents anyone from avoiding combat missions. The narrator explains:
There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle. (p. 56, ch. 5)
Unfortunately, I never made it that far into the book. I’ve brought this topic up before but I still feel guilty when I give up on a book, a TV show, a friend . . . (ok that doesn’t happen often and is probably a whole other discusion – ) I thought the first Chapter of the book was quite brilliant and then the second so full of slow dialogue that I flipped ahead to trusty page 77 and still found myself not interested enough to continue. I also stopped “Her Fearful Symmentry” this week after a few chapters so what else did I just stop on?
The TV show: Sister Wives. For some reason i am a complete sucker for certain types of topics and polygamy is just one of them. No, I have no desire to be a polygamist but I think that is where the fascination comes in. I want to know about things I would never do (but apparently I don’t do war books or books about ghosts as well lately . . . hmmm don’t both of those topics have a death quality to them).
I made it through season 1 and season 2 on Netflix but getting through the 2nd season was a chore. I think my spouse put it well when he said – if they weren’t polygamists they’d just be boring white people. Ya know. He was right. I didn’t even consider trying to find the newer seasons. I did a brief google to see if they law ever caught up with them, but I’m done thinking about them.
Maybe each of these items had one bit that seemed to draw me in: Catch-22 as a “classic”, “Her Fearful Symmetry” by an author whose other novel I enjoyed, and “Sister Wives” with their rebellion against modern society in one aspect of marital life but having that one thing that makes you somehow unique or eye catching doesn’t mean the finished product is going to be enough to keep people reading. I often tell writers to either tell me something no one can tell me or tell something anyone could in a unique way. Somehow, for me, these items I mentioned fell in between these two sides and I couldn’t quite pull them out of that valley. Is trying to find that balance, in itself, a Catch – 22?