Sunday, June 14, 2009

Prisoner's Dilemma

The year is 1951 and Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Inferior Cheese State*) is leading a witchhunt for Communists via the media, who, for though I feel they are failing us almost completely these days, evidently weren't much better back then. He brings two Senators into his office and sits them down in front of his desk. He then informs them that he knows they're both Reds and has enough evidence to indict each of them, but not enough to get the sentence he believes they deserve. Therefore, he proposes that he will generously let whoever comes forth with the goods on the other first go free. If both squeal, they both get longer sentences than they would if they both stay quiet, but less than if they stay silent and the other volunteers information. He then puts them in separate rooms to interrogate each individually. What do they do?

*Okay, I've been taking cheap shots at Wisconsin's cheese pretty much whenever the internet in these parts works for over 3 consecutive minutes, which was not much until Friday when we got our own and stopped having to steal from our neighbors (Or neighbours, if you prefer. Blogger's spell-check does not). But in fairness to Wisconsin, while I was generally unimpressed with their cheeses, I did have what is possibly the best cinnamon roll I've ever eaten there, at Denny's (Not the Chain) Diner in the Wisconsin Dells. Awesome. Also, this footnote format is blatantly thieved from Posnanski. Since the internet is now legal, I wanted to at least steal something. It's a rush.

That is the question posed over breakfast by Eddie Hobson Sr. to his brood of youngsters, 75% of whom have already moved out and are back visiting at the same time solely because their father's undiagnosed illness has worsened. The lack of a diagnosis has nothing to do with the failings of modern medical science, but rather Eddie Sr.'s avoidance of such, a situation that is likely to change only when the trained coroner is required by the authorities to confirm he is deceased. Such a morning puzzle is a Hobson tradition, as Eddie continually keeps everyone on their toes, so to speak, refusing to let their minds rest, even when it sets the family's collective nerves on edge. But he does not rest either. In his free time, he constructs Hobstown, the world as it should be, and one that will cure the planet we live on, despite the fact that he doesn't even allow his family to view any results of the project. In it World War II, himself and Walt Disney intertwine, in a captivating subplot so well-done that I actually researched the (non-fictional) subjects to see if any of it was true. Alas, it is not. At the beginning of this novel, the two seperate parts of it lie far apart. But as the book goes on, they begin to merge more, until the two almost bleed into one another. This is a captivating novel that picks up speed from one of the best living novelists, and a great bit of fun with the traditional screwed-up family. And what of our prisoners, who we briefly visited back at the beginning of this post? Well, that depends. What do you consider to be a prison?

Edit - Wow, I forgot to write the author's name. His name is Richard Powers. And I feel very smart right now, though evidently I have no clue how to proofread.


dacelow said... wait......mccarthy took them to dennys?

Cindi Lynn said...


Cindi Lynn said...


Cindi Lynn said...


HOLLA(R) said...

Oh wow. I forgot to write the author's name. Well, we'll put this in the 'crappy blog posts' pile. It's Powers. And McCarthy, being a God-fearing American, ate nothing but apple pie.

Cindi Lynn said...

I'm a good guesser.