Nat Case ncase at
Wed Oct 4 17:19:50 EDT 2000

I am allergic to idealism in its purer forms at the moment; too many 
friends who as they grow older, have become wedded to principles 
instead of the things behind the principles. Folk singers who can't 
listen to anything that's "untraditional". Environmentalists who hope 
humans become extinct. Snobs who sneer at drinkers of cheap beer.

There's a thing that happens as you engage with the world over time, 
and it isn't a neat or tidy thing to see: trying to categorize the 
characters in Year of the Griffin is an interesting exercise, which I 
think defies doing. More on October 20.

In HOMEWARD BOUNDERS, Jamie loses all his sworn "ideals", but is 
still a hero, and a genuinely good person. Maybe even the better for 

When people swear they will never give up an ideal, I think they may 
have multiple things linked that aren't linked by necessity. They 
usually see older people around them who have all seemingly given up 
on some basic profound injustice in the world. They link this 
resignation to some sort of compromise for greed or gross comfort. 
This simply isn't fair. I thin what mostly happens is that 
allegiances shift from chilly ideals to warmer people and places. And 
as those ideals resurface as issues to act on, the safety and 
integrity of those people and places becomes more important.

I sound like someone who's become some sort of war-wearied veteran, 
and I'm still supporting Nader for president. Go figure.

I guess to me the trick is not to defensively protect your ideals, 
but to do a sort of odd brave offensive move that is hard to 
describe, but which any number of kids fantasies, including Jones', 
outline in detail. Using the ideals not as a weapon or defense, but 
as a platform to jump off of.

I don't know that I'm making any sense, here, but that's the best I 
can put it for now.


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