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  • Art Shay reviews Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds”

    Art Shay reviews Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds”

    September 8, 2009

    Some big Swans fans don't like the past joy I've taken in killing Nazi fliers in the real war. Next month I'll be at the head table of a reunion of 9 survivors of the infamous Kassel mission — 35 B-24s went out, 4 of us returned. . . Ira goes back to Germany every two years and has dinner with the German Luftwaffe crews who shot him down that fatal day. (Farmers forced him to bury five of his crew members who couldn't get out of their burning Lib fast enough.) I could never bring myself to break bread with these people, even though they vas obeying orders, as was I. My play, Where Have You Gone, Jimmy Stewart? (Jimmy was my Squadron commander), which ran in Chicago three years ago, made that point to great applause. As somebody on Swans has reminded me, all war is immoral. — from Art Shay's review, "Sick Glourious Basterds", at

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  • An Art Shay eulogy in verse for Robert McNamara

    An Art Shay eulogy in verse for Robert McNamara

    August 25, 2009

    "He was shaving when the president called," Margaret McNamara said, letting me and my Times photo gear into their Birmingham, Michigan, livingroom. "We were drinking Martinis. Do you want one while you're setting up? I know you met him at Ford in 1953. He loves the book you did and your picture of him in Fortune. That's why he took your call. You said the magic word — Ford." Sitting next to the warm fluttering lady whose life was about to transfer to Washington forever (to do much for needy children, as it turned out) I sweated cold for no discernible reason. I mindlessly thought the arcane word: doom. I would be right, eventually, because this precise moment in this precise man's precise life, far from anything I'd precisely learned going to war instead of college would be the infant step leading to McNamara's ultimate march of 56,000 kids like yours and mine to death. So much for taking violent evasive action based on prescient knowledge. . . — from Art Shay's Snapshot of a Strange (Love?) Before His Time, at

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