Ernest Hemingway was about the least-contradictory human being to walk the planet. He was what we used to refer to as a “man’s man,” a hard-drinking, hard-living S.O.B. who didn’t care what you thought of him. (On the downside, he was also a clinically depressed alcoholic who took his own life, so there’s some brickbats in there along with the bouquets.) Papa is the archetypical macho man for many of us, the very antitheses of the metrosexual or “sensitive guy” of the seventies. No Alan Alda/worry about his “feminine side” for Hemingway. It’s hard to imagine Hemingway even dealing with the question, in any way other than beating the questioner bloody, then standing over the mangled body and ordering another bottle of hooch.
Papa offed himself 50 years ago today. Given his lifestyle, I can’t imagine him surviving (suicide or no) to today’s age. But author Marty Beckerman has penned an interesting tome (cover pictured above) which speculates on just how Hemingway would have reacted to our modern technological lifestyle, had he been around for it. The Heming Way: How to Unleash the Booze-Inhaling, Animal-Slaughtering, War-Glorifying, Hairy-Chested, Retro-Sexual Legend Within… Just Like Papa! like an interesting book. But reading about it got me to wondering, what would Papa think about TTAG?
I suspect, Hemingway would love the site. I think he’d be a frequent contributor, complaining that we didn’t have enough coverage of hunting (we don’t) and calling those that don’t hunt for our own food, a bunch of nancy-boys and pussies. (Hard to argue that with a guy who’s armed and dangerous.)
I think he’d be aghast at how society has gotten positively wimpy over the years, and (from his retreat in some far-off, primitive area – or Idaho – that limits online communication to the occasional SatPhone hookup), he’d wax rhapsodic about the manly arts of hunting, fishing, and taking the bull by the horns (or running from them in Spain), and decrying the kind of fuzzy-thinking, appeasing, worrying-about-what-the-rest-of-the-world-thinks-of-us kind of prevailing wisdom among today’s Progressives.
Which is kind of interesting to me, because Hemingway was far from a Conservative. Buddies with Castro (right up until Fidel nationalized all American-owned property in Cuba – including Hemingway’s) Hemingway was a fan of The People, and The Man in his politics.
I think he’d look at the political landscape today and side more with the Tea Partiers than anybody else, having no use at all for either the Rockefeller “Country Club” Republicans and even less for the loons of the Far Left. While he might sympathize with the original goals of the Sierra Club, he’d likely just as soon shoot members of PeTA, Earth First, Greenpeace, and the other eco-Nazis.
But what about TTAG itself? I fancy he’d like it here. If he’d condescend to pen pieces for us, he’d raise the quality of writing here by an order of magnitude, and that would be A-OK with us. (After all, we learn from standing in the shadows of giants.) And Hemingway was a literary giant.
Most of all, I think he’d find TTAG a breath of fresh air, in a world that has become increasingly afraid of it’s own shadow. In short, if Papa wasn’t proud of us, he’d at least give us a friendly nod, kick us in the ass, and then tell us to man-up and go write something that would make the rest of the world sit up and take notice.