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Catch this

Post office considering Heller's novel for 1960s stamp

May 1, 1998
Web posted at: 5:00 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT)

(CNN) -- When Joseph Heller penned "Catch-22" he spoke for a peace-loving generation on the horrors, and contradictions, of war.

But does his work deserve a place on a U.S. stamp as a symbol of the 1960s?

That's the question the U.S. Postal Service begins asking potential voters on May 1, which also happens to be the 75th birthday of Heller.

Joseph Heller's novel "Catch-22" managed to capture and define the anti-war flavor of the 1960s generation with it's darkly comical take on the horrors and contradictions of war. Has there been a novel in the 1990s that did the same? What is it?

As part of its effort to commemorate the 20th century, the postal service's program "Celebrate the Century" is offering voters a chance to choose from 30 different stamps symbolizing the 1960s. The top 15 vote-getters will soon been seen on envelopes across the country.

"Catch-22" is one of the candidates. Heller's book, published in 1961, depicts World War II Capt. John Yossarian, who wants to quit flying potentially deadly combat missions, but is caught in his predicament due an unusual Air Force regulation regarding insanity.

"Catch-22" quickly became a buzz-phrase for anyone caught in a dilemma, and it fertilized the minds of the hippy generation that later suggested making love, not war as the nation became caught up in the Vietnam War.

Other candidates to represent the 1960s on a postage stamp include The Beatles, Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, Woodstock, the Kennedy brothers, man walking on the moon, the peace symbol, the Mod look, and the Vietnam War.


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