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The Binger of Books

I am a slow reader, and even slower blogger. That said, I can go into bouts of frenzied reading that can last for weeks. And then nothing. Hence the name Binger of Books.

Currently reading

Dust to Dust: A Memoir
Benjamin Busch

Chapter Review/Rant: Money Makes Us Real

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk - Ben Fountain

I'm on the last two chapters where Bravo have gone into negotiations on the film rights with some Hollywood shark (Norm Oglesby?). I've been confused as to who is who and what exactly they're doing there. I thought Albert was the Hollywood guy, but he's just some agent.


There was no actual work up to this meeting, and no talk between the soldiers about the details of the deal, besides a lot of jokes about Hillary Swank. Why not? Are young men incapable of serious thought? The stereotypes live on. It seems it just came out of nowhere. Looks as if Fountain didn't know how to end this or where the story (if you can call it that) was going in the first place.


The whole scene was pretty farcical and unbelievable. I thought it was bad, but this chapter pretty much solidified everything I said in my initial review. Who does the negotiating? Albert the experienced agent? No, of course not, it goes to Sargent Dime, an infantryman who fights terrorist. Even though the deal isn't done, Norm clearly establishes whose boss. Fountain makes victims of the soldiers, and everyone around them is there to use them and take advantage. This is a pretty lame metaphor for the war itself. I don't mind metaphors, but this was really badly done. Up until now, the main villains have been the Hollywood sharks and a couple of rich Texas businessmen. Fountain then gives us another layer of nonsense:

"It's pretty incredible," he says. "they've gotten your chain of command involved. Apparently Norm's good buddies with the deputy-deputy secretary of defense or some such crap, he had that guy call your superiors at Fort Hood. He says he talked to General Ruthven? And the general's supposed to call here in a couple of minutes, to talk to you." Albert shakes his head; his voice wavers. "I think they're going to make you do the deal." He looks at them. "Can they even do that?"

By the end of the chapter Sgt. Dime gets off the phone with the General, but what is said is never revealed. Just that the General is from some place where they hate the Dallas Cowboys. Nuff Said. It might as well never happened. In the last chapter, Fountain gives us no reaction to this news from any of the soldiers, with attention spans to rival a 4 year old with ADD, they are all too preoccupied by the swag bags they're given. There it is again, the soldiers are painted as naive dumb victims being done over by someone more powerful who knows someone more rich, whose loyal customers are dumb as fuck. Well done Fountain, repetitive to the fucking end. Blah blah blah.