... goes to war
I began to understand the mechanics
The story begins quite harmlessly. In 1914 an Austrian couple travels to Sarajevo. Nö, sorry, that's another story. The Sombrero story begins with an American humorist, who begins to write a story, in which a black Sombrero falls on the main street of an American town. The mayor, his cousin and an unemployed person stand around the Sombrero, and that was it already; the storyteller, who remains nameless in the book, is overwhelmed by his grief over the loss of his Japanese girl-friend and tears up the story. Who's interested in an Austrian couple anyway, who drives in an open car through Sarajevo? Nö, that's really another story. What's the matter?
He was still staring at the torn pieces of paper in the waste-paper basket. He was staring very intently at them as they made friends with the abyss. They seemed to have a life of their own. It was a big decision but they decided to go on without him.
Richard Brautigan, Sombrero Fallout, p. 14, Rebel Inc. 1998
|What occurs now is a slowly accelerating unleashment of insanity. Richard Brautigan renounce any logical or psychological action. More badly, the events are indecently told in a kind of comic-strip way.|
The mayor was totally berserk.
He was no longer shouting at the two men to stop crying or threatening them with the police.
He was shouting things that had no meaning like the license plate number of a car he owned in 1947.
»AZ 1492!« he shouted.
»AZ 1492! AZ 1492! AZ 1492!« he kept shouting over and over again. Everytime he shouted his license plate number it seemed to provoke the crowd to a higher and higher state of agitation.
His license plate number was inciting a crowd to riot.
»I hate you!« a seventy-one-year-old woman shouted at a total stranger, somebody she had never seen before in her life, and then she punched the person, who was an elderly man, right in the balls. He dropped like a stone to the street but was able to open the package he was carrying and take out a lemon pie that he just purchased at the bakery and shove it into the old woman's knee.
In a few days when the bodies would be sifted through for burial, the old man's body would be unrecognizable. ... He was to be buried in a common grave with 225 other unfortunates who were not recognizable and did not have any identification on them.
Richard Brautigan, Sombrero Fallout, p.77-79, Rebel Inc. 1998
|As if it wouldn't be already courageous to describe crazy human behavior in a crazy manner Richard Brautigan never leaves any doubts that this is an American story.|
Three days later the town was captured.
Over 6,000 people were dead inside it, including 162 wounded children that were killed by a rocket that hit a temporary hospital in the basement of a public school. ...
The mayor sat dead in a barber's chair.
He had done his best.
It wasn't enough.
But still he was a brave man.
He had fought his hardest.
What else can you say?
He was an American.
Richard Brautigan, Sombrero Fallout, p.165/66, Rebel Inc. 1998
This small civil war is finally incorporated into the American myth. The president gives a godfearing speech, the small town is declared as a national monument and tourism booms. By the way, does anyone know, why 200,000 people let themselves be crushed in front of Verdun?
Parallel to the development of the mass insanity the story of the desperate American humorist continues, who emerges as a rather exerting personality. In other words: Richard Brautigan describes himself.
|»Sombrero Fallout« is published at the same time in Japan and the USA. In Japan the reception of Richard Brautigan's books is quite different from that in the west, but Japan is anyway something special or like someone said: Japan is differently different ...|