Tuesday, March 10, 2020

The Night Before Chancellorsville by F. Scott Fitzgerald

And in the papers the next day they never said anything about how our train got attacked or about us girls at all! Can you beat it?”

This brief tale from the legendary author may strike some as anticlimactic in that it deals only tangentially with the events of Chancellorsville. Instead the author takes a tack that reminds me of a routine from the acerbic but brilliant comedian, Anthony Jeselnik, loosely titled “Don’t forget about me.”

The crux of “Don’t forget about  me” is the outpouring of “hot takes” from many post any tragic event, be that a celebrity death or a disaster that left the “hot taker” untouched but they somehow still have some fodder that returns the focus to them ala, “I can’t believe David Bowie is dead, I’m so sad he was so influential to me" or, "I was in the region where that tornado touched down just last month!"

These “Don’t forget about me-ers” always relate to themselves and seldom remember to add “Oh, and my best to the families.”

Mr. Fitzgerald has provided us with his version of that solipsistic phenomenon. Some may feel cheated that the battle is not the true subject, but a closer reading reveals an all too human, and all too unflattering observation about prevailing egoism.

An intriguing tale with a bit of a wry sting.

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