2 Interviews with Joseph Heller - 'The Realist An Impolite Interview With Joseph Heller Q Has Catch-22 been banned anywhere A No Q Are you disappointed

2 Interviews with Joseph Heller - 'The Realist An Impolite...

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- - - 'The Realist' An Impolite Interview With Joseph Heller Q . Ha s Catch-22 been banned an yw here? A. No. Q. Are you disappointed? A. Not anymore. I'm really delighted because it seems to have offended nobody on the grounds of mora li ty or ideology. Those people it has of fended, it has offended on the basis of literary value, But I'm almost sur prised to find that the acceptance of the book covers such a broad political spectrum and sociological spectrum as well. This pleases me first because it pleases my ego, but next because I put an optimistic interpretation on it: I think there is close to a common reser voir of discontent among people who might disagree with each other and not realize that their basic disagreements might stem from the same rec ognition of a need for
correction in ce rtain areas. I learned from Murray Kempton's co l umn also--and this to my surprise th a t it's quite an orthodox book in terms of its morality. He referred to its being almost medieval in its moral orthodoxy, which had not occurred to me. But o f course as soon as I read his column, I re ali zed he was correct. I suppose just about everybody accepts certain principles of morality. The differences appear in testing certain institutions against those basic princi ples. There is a tradition of taboo against submitting to e xamina tion many of our ideological beliefs, rel igious beliefs; many things that become a matter of traditional behavior, or habit, acquire status where they seem to be ex empt from examinati on. Or even to suggest that they do be examined becomes a form of heresy. Now the book might be surprising in that respect, but with the excep tion of a certain appreciation for lechery, which you wouldn't find among the basic virtues; you might find it among the deadly sins I don't think SOURCE : The Realist, Vol. 39 (November 19 62 ), p p . 1 8-3 1. Reprinted by permission of the publisher and Mr. Heller. 273 --. -.- 274 The Realist . An Impolite Intervicw with Joseph H e ller 275 ' - ' eini' TODO PROCESADOR there's any principle of morality advocated in the book with which most intelligent-even i ndecent-people will disagree. 0. W ell, wir en I w as reading it, I first did a double take w hen Y ossarian is censoring the letters, and my sympathy immediately f el l to the people w ho we re getting these letters. A. Really? Well, that hadn't occurred to me. They probably h ave the same status as the victims during a Shakespeare play. When critics deal in terms of classical tragedy-when they interpret Shakespearean tragedy they see this as an examination of crime, the tragic flaw, and the retribu tion as representing a certain system of justice; but they ignore, let's say in M acbeth, a ll those children ofwas it Macduff or Malcolm?--his wife is killed, his children are killed, and Banquo is s lau ghtered. All the peripheral characters seem to be exempt from the working out of this moral principle.

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