To Live in an Age of Optimism

Above is a scene from the MAS*H episode “Run for the Money.” Charles Emerson Winchester III has taken notice of a wounded soldier who is constantly degraded by his commanding officer and fellow comrades for his stuttering. Rather than argue back with those poking fun, he buries his nose into comic books because why should he read anything else? He’s been called a dummy for so long that he considers himself exactly that. Enter Winchester, who notices that the soldier’s IQ is actually well above normal. This kid is no fool. While Winchester admits to reading some Captain Marvel, himself, he explains that comic books are these lesser stories, and he hands the soldier a beautiful copy of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. It, he continues, is something worthy of the kid’s intellect.

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