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"The Card"

"The rich are different from you and me," said F. Scott Fitzgerald.

"Yes," said Ernest Hemingway. "Some of them spend millions of dollars on a baseball card."

Hemingway didn't really say that, but he might have if he'd lived long enough to learn about the Honus Wagner card that has inspired Michael O'Keeffe and Teri Thompson to write "The Card: Collectors, Con Men, and the True Story of History's Most Desired Baseball Card."

But he probably wouldn't have, because even toward the end of his life, when he was depressed, he was probably thinking about more important things than baseball cards and the idiots who pay millions of dollars for them. Or maybe not. Maybe Ernest Hemingway somehow knew intuitively that the world was wagging toward the point where a baseball card could be sold for millions of dollars. He was, after all, a novelist. Maybe the premonition of fatuousness on the part of the rich caused Papa to kill himself. Maybe he decided there was no point in writing more carefully crafted books in a world where a guy selling an old baseball card that might or might not have been altered to improve its appearance could make more money than a guy who spent years writing a carefully crafted book.

Just a thought.

This program aired on June 21, 2007. The audio for this program is not available.

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