Was Ernest Hemingway the greatest writer in English of the 20th century? Fortunately we don’t have to choose. We can read Hemingway, and Faulkner (with whom he had a few bones to pick), and Hammett, and Parker, and Feynman, and Vonnegut, Bellow, Morrison, dos Passos, Shaw, Kipling, , Conrad and a dozen more, enjoying each for the gifts she or he demonstrated so well on a page.
Any way you stack it, though, Hemingway was a great one.
The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof, shit detector. This is the writer’s radar and all great writers have had it.
If we could make a machine to substitute for that, a solid-gold, built-in, shock-proof [excrement] detector, we could improve writing, politics, government, business, and a hundred other fields of endeavor.
If we had a just and appropriately skeptical world, everyone would have one, a “solid gold, built-in, shock-proof [excrement] detector.”
What an enormous If.
Also at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub: