If you can think of a dumb joke without setting out to think of a dumb joke, if it just pops into your head on the A train, what precisely did the thinking? There must be more of me than I realize, but how is that possible?
I finished The Psychiatrist today, while we're on the topic of tricky questions about what constitutes a person. Did you know (of course you didn't) that Walter was pals with a psychiatrist on the team of the War Crimes Commission at Nuremberg? Walter says Douglas Kelley was all busted up when Goering offed himself, which makes me uncomfortable, and quotes him:
In his final suicide, Goering carried out his ideals to the very end. He had faced the International Tribunal with courage but denied its right to judge or sentence him. In his last moments of life, he took matters into his own hands and, once again the dominant figure; cheated the hangman of the Allied Nations.
At first glance his action may seem cowardly -- an attempt to escape the punishment meted out to his compatriots. Careful consideration of his actions, however, reveals that here is the true Goering, contemptuous of man-made rules and regulations, taking his own life at his own convenience and in a manner of his own choosing. By this action he has joined the other top Nazis -- Hitler, Goebbels, and Himmler, who preferred death by their own hands to ignominious hanging.
Goering, however, went a step further than his former associates. He stoically endured his long imprisonment that he might face down the Allied Tribunal and browbeat the prosecuting lawyers on his own terms. By these methods he established himself with the German people. His suicide, shrouded in mystery and emphasizing the impotency of the American guards, was a skillful, even brilliant, finishing touch, completing the edifice for Germans to admire in time to come...history may well show that Goering won out at the end, even though condemned by the high court of the Allied powers.
Not quite, Doug. The punch line here is that Kelley appears at the very end of Walter's book, in the chapter "Psychiatrists Who Kill Themselves." In 1958 he swallowed a cyanide capsule, just like his BFF Goering. "Whether he had kept as a souvenir one of the cyanide capsules that he had obtained when the German prisoners were searched at the Nuremberg trials, is not known," says Walter. I wonder the reverse: I wonder if Goering got the cyanide capsule he killed himself with from his admirer Kelley. I'm pretty sure he was the one who talked Miggs into swallowing his tongue.