Catch 22

Discussion of Books, Literature, Book Reviews, and more!
koan
Posts: 16817
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2004 1:00 pm

Catch 22

Post by koan »

I was really impressed with Heller's book when I read it and it paved the way into my love of satire.

The phrase "Catch 22" came up tonight while talking with my kid and I realized that coming up with an exact, real, example to fit the scenario described isn't easy. What are some Catch 22s that you can think of, using the definition

"a problematic situation for which the only solution is denied by a circumstance inherent in the problem or by a rule."

Catch-22 - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary

In the story, the Catch runs like this:

Yossarian finds the old woman who lived in the complex sobbing. She tells Yossarian that the only right the soldiers had to chase the girls away was the right of Catch-22, which says “they have a right to do anything we can’t stop them from doing.” Yossarian asks if they had Catch-22 written down and if they showed it to her, and she says that Catch-22 stipulates that they don’t have to show her Catch-22. Yossarian knows that Catch-22 does not exist but that its nonexistence does not matter, because everyone believes that it exists.

(SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Catch-22.” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. 2003. Web. 3 Oct. 2012.)

"You need money to make money" is the first one that comes to my mind, but it's not always true.

On the site where I got the definition it gives "no work unless you have an agent, no agent unless you've worked — Mary Murphy" which is usually true with actors
Bruv
Posts: 12181
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2007 3:05 pm

Catch 22

Post by Bruv »

I understood "The catch" in Catch 22 was that you have to be mad to be a pilot, but that if you claimed to be mad, in order to get out of flying, it proved you were sane enough to fly.
I thought I knew more than this until I opened my mouth
koan
Posts: 16817
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2004 1:00 pm

Catch 22

Post by koan »

Yes. And they expanded it to cover more circumstances.

eta ... sorry. I didn't punctuate that properly to show how excited I was with your reply. I'm really tired. Off to bed.
Bruv
Posts: 12181
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2007 3:05 pm

Catch 22

Post by Bruv »

koan;1407242 wrote: Yes. And they expanded it to cover more circumstances.

eta ... sorry. I didn't punctuate that properly to show how excited I was with your reply. I'm really tired. Off to bed.


Still not sure how to take you Ms Koan................(did I say that out loud ?)
I thought I knew more than this until I opened my mouth
koan
Posts: 16817
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2004 1:00 pm

Catch 22

Post by koan »

I wouldn't know how to take me right now either. I went to put an exclamation point after "yes" and decided it sounded aggressively happy and might freak you out.

I had forgotten how much I love this book. Sort of a starting point for me. Might reread it in full.

I think the stuff I've been reading about the arms industry got me thinking about Catch 22s
Bruv
Posts: 12181
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2007 3:05 pm

Catch 22

Post by Bruv »

It takes more than an exclamation mark to freak me out.
I thought I knew more than this until I opened my mouth
koan
Posts: 16817
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2004 1:00 pm

Catch 22

Post by koan »

hey, can you find the exact passage that explains the insanity clause connection?

Also trying to remember if that's what they used for Klinger's character in the show M*A*S*H
User avatar
Snowfire
Posts: 4835
Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:34 am

Catch 22

Post by Snowfire »

I did try and read this book some years ago. It's one of the top 10 "must read" in every book list for avid readers but I'm afraid I struggled. It was a very difficult read for me and I gave up very early on.
"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire."

Winston Churchill
koan
Posts: 16817
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2004 1:00 pm

Catch 22

Post by koan »

actually, wikipedia has the exact text. I didn't scroll down before deciding to look through sparks notes.

There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle. (p. 56, ch. 5)

Catch-22 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Catch-22 is used in a lot of other circumstances in the novel though and, if I remember, no one has actually ever seen it written down. It's just what they are told it means.
koan
Posts: 16817
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2004 1:00 pm

Catch 22

Post by koan »

Also there's a point where the guy is ordered to dig holes and fill them in again. I can't remember how long he does it for or how many holes he digs and fills... but it's a lot. That's one of the moments I have clearly pictured in my mind.
gmc
Posts: 13566
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2004 9:44 am

Catch 22

Post by gmc »

you can watch the film version on you tube if you want.

Catch 22 1970 p1of2 still working on getting part 2 - YouTube
Bruv
Posts: 12181
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2007 3:05 pm

Catch 22

Post by Bruv »

I read it long long ago, cannot remember the details of the story or even a summary, only that it was heavy going.

The term Catch 22 has passed into the language and is widely understood to be what it is, mostly not understanding where it came from.
I thought I knew more than this until I opened my mouth
Bruv
Posts: 12181
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2007 3:05 pm

Catch 22

Post by Bruv »

This might be of interest, if not found already
I thought I knew more than this until I opened my mouth
koan
Posts: 16817
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2004 1:00 pm

Catch 22

Post by koan »

gmc;1407340 wrote: you can watch the film version on you tube if you want.

Catch 22 1970 p1of2 still working on getting part 2 - YouTube
Thanks! I was thinking about looking for that tonight.

Bruv;1407344 wrote: I read it long long ago, cannot remember the details of the story or even a summary, only that it was heavy going.

The term Catch 22 has passed into the language and is widely understood to be what it is, mostly not understanding where it came from.
It's funny how that happens. Intricacies of what the phrase really encompasses can be lost. The essence of Catch 22 is so layered in the novel and by the end you feel what Catch 22 is. Now it's just a "no win" situation. Kind of loses some magic in basic application.
koan
Posts: 16817
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2004 1:00 pm

Catch 22

Post by koan »

omg

The scene with the parachute is so great! You can see the actors were cracking up. I wonder how many takes that took.

Never seen the film before. (thanks for linking to what is only short of an hour of a film 122 minutes long, btw)

It always cracks me up when actors can't keep a straight face. That's what was great about the Carol Burnett Show. They were always trying to make each other lose it.
koan
Posts: 16817
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2004 1:00 pm

Catch 22

Post by koan »

I remember now. The life changing event for me was in realizing that Yossarian is crazy. He is crazy because no one sees the world the same way. He says "people are trying to kill me" while he is a war pilot and they all laugh at him as if there is no war going on. He is the only one who realizes there is no Catch 22. Everyone quotes it but no one has ever seen it. It's just the rule that explains all the suffering and lack of ... "rightness" in the world.

The film is quite well done. I'll have to order a copy of the whole thing.

Return to “The Library”