nd now begins the Xmas season, with the first Sunday in Advent, which this year falls on the birthday of the Prophet. I speak, of course, of Mark Twain, who single-handedly created American Literature, as the great Ernest tells us. He was probably not that far off—certainly without Mark Twain there’d be no H. L. Mencken, no Kurt Vonnegut, no Hunter S. Thompson, to name just a few of his most obvious literary descendants.
I suppose it’s not impossible that somebody else would have accomplished much the same sort of thing—giving American literature its voice, so to speak. I don’t know that the voice would have been the same—but there were no doubt other possibilities, other paths.
That’s the trouble with trying to rerun history—there’s no way of really knowing. And without some sort of hard knowledge, there’s no real way of saying that any one event is any more important than any other. Like the parable of the butterfly’s wings, change anything, no matter how small, and the results snowball. Or something like that.
Anyway, I have nothing to say, and I am determined to say it, even in the absence of purpose, audience, and desire.