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Betty Felon
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Postby Betty Felon » Wed Jun 02, 2004 1:41 pm

I thought I'd pass on a great article written by the always amazing Kurt Vonnegot.

In these insane times, I find my self putting more and more faith in the words of the older generations. Vonnegot is 81; he's lived through the Depression and WWII and.... all of it. And he's got something to say.


http://www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/a ... old_turkey

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Karousme
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Postby Karousme » Wed Jun 02, 2004 3:16 pm

I would love to sit on the porch and talk to that guy.

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Postby Unremarkable » Wed Jun 02, 2004 3:39 pm

Wow, that was a great article. Very interesting. I just realized that I have never read one of his books, a fact that I shall remedy quite soon.

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Postby LoveSickJerk » Wed Jun 02, 2004 6:18 pm

Kurt is an amazing writer. Even at 81! He's as old as my grandpa!

That artice was very very cool.

Start where Kurt started: with Cat's Cradle! It is an AMAZING novel. And Vonnegut's first! You'll be hooked!

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Betty Felon
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Postby Betty Felon » Thu Jun 03, 2004 6:59 am

"Cat's Cradle" is a great place to start. So is "Slaughterhouse Five". But consider them primers.

Vonnegut is a cross between fine literature and those sci-fi/mystery/fantasy/whatever books that one devours raveonously as a child and that teach you to love reading. (I must admit, I was a sci-fi dork.)

Start, and you'll have the whole body of work read by the end of summer. ENJOY!

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Postby grant » Fri Jun 04, 2004 6:55 am

Merlin once corralled Vonnegut into having breakfast with us.

Charming man -- picked up the tab, despite the fact that there were suddenly something like 12 of us instead of two.

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Betty Felon
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Postby Betty Felon » Fri Jun 04, 2004 7:32 am

Charming huh? I saw a lecture once, he seemed so much nicer than I expected. I would expect him to be a cantankerous old hermit.

I wish I could remember what he said, but I can think of was that he thought all flags everywhere after 9-11 were laughable, and he used the world "middlewestern" a million times.

I get caught in this article though....the idea that human beings are inherently bad or crazy. "Such treacherous, untrustworthy, lying and greedy animals we are!" he says.

I've heard this from my token super-christian friends as well when they tell me that they struggle daily trying to fill thier hearts with God's love in the face of horrible people and evil that they see everywhere.

This attitude baffles me. I just don't see the world that way. I never look around and see bad, in fact, I'm continuously amazed by the amount of goodness and kindness that I see everywhere around me. It seems that we'd have riotous anarchy all the time without inherent goodness in people. Yes, we have a laws, but I see them as guidelines, not really instruments of punishment that keep us in line. If someone wanted to hurt and steal, I don't think the police would be able to stop them, they always arrive after the fact.

Yes, I believe the phrase "absolute power corrupts absolutely" It was nowhere more apparent than recent horrors in Abu-Graib. But the way that I see it, that corruption was due the legal-rights blackhole that Bush established for prisoners, not the inherent evilness of the soldiers.

Maybe I'm naive...

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Postby anthropomorphizing_kitty » Fri Jun 04, 2004 7:32 am

grant wrote:Merlin once corralled Vonnegut into having breakfast with us.

Charming man -- picked up the tab, despite the fact that there were suddenly something like 12 of us instead of two.


Nuh uh.

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Karousme
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Postby Karousme » Fri Jun 04, 2004 8:28 am

Bluebeard's my fav. Sirens of Titan is up there too.

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Postby anthropomorphizing_kitty » Fri Jun 04, 2004 8:33 am

My personal favorite is Mother Night.

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Postby Karousme » Fri Jun 04, 2004 8:37 am

I liked that one too. Oh shit and Deadeye Dick.

I like how he has these worlds and each book is about a different character. A major character in one book is a minor character in another book. How cool is that?

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Postby anthropomorphizing_kitty » Fri Jun 04, 2004 9:46 am

Karousme wrote:I liked that one too. Oh shit and Deadeye Dick.

I like how he has these worlds and each book is about a different character. A major character in one book is a minor character in another book. How cool is that?


I am Kilgore Trout.

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Postby Merlin » Fri Jun 04, 2004 9:55 am

grant wrote:Merlin once corralled Vonnegut into having breakfast with us.

Best breakfast ever. I was at the height of my KV worship at the time, so that was pretty magical.

Apart from his kindness and generosity--spending a long morning with a table full of undergrads--I was struck by his decency and, I dunno, I guess humanity.

Sounds corny, but you could really tell that he worried about this stuff and felt like he had a personal stake in how things turned out for the world. It wasn't just an artistic affectation, to be sure.

I've cooled on his writing a bit since then, but I'll always have the utmost respect for the man. If everyone fretted this much about the lives of strangers, we'd all be a good deal better off.

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anthropomorphizing_kitty
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Postby anthropomorphizing_kitty » Fri Jun 04, 2004 10:15 am

KV has always been on my top 10 list of people I'd like to someday meet. Isaac Asimov was another, but I guess that opportunity has passed.

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Postby miriyummy » Fri Jun 04, 2004 12:04 pm

Betty Felon wrote:
This attitude baffles me. I just don't see the world that way. I never look around and see bad, in fact, I'm continuously amazed by the amount of goodness and kindness that I see everywhere around me.


i agree. i think there is so much good in our lives that we are accustomed to it. the bad stands out. my mom and i were talking about this yesterday. the way i figure it is if we continually ran into bad everytime we left the house, we'd fold.

of course, there are a lots of rude people and mean people, but the majority aren't like that. i hope. as individuals, we do good on a small scale, but large scale "evil" tends to negate that by being so in our face. in the big picture, it balances out.

we just haven't grown up yet. or rather we grew up and we weren't supposed to.

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Postby reisley » Fri Jun 04, 2004 2:16 pm

that was a pretty good article, but some of the people replying to it on the discussion board had some wacky things to say:

among them, "Jesus was the first libertarian" and

" We know that the fertility rate of females is a function of education. By insuring that every human has access to the cultural innovations of reading, mathematics and music the fertility rate will drop for a time below the rate needed for replacement .


the fuck? once that village in india gets a load of "algebra" and "beethoven" they'll be sure to quit making babies and start being refined western culture snobs. it sounds like everyone wants to coopt vonneguts ideas, just like they want to coopt jesus in whatever political or social cause they happen to be championing at the moment. and there's also a debate over who invented the zero, because of course once we nail that down, then all geopolitical controversies will resolve themselves by admitting the superiority of the indoeuropeans or the arabs. people are studpid sometimes.

anyways in response to the comment that people are inherently good, and that the abuses at abu ghraib prison were the result of president bush's legal blackhole, not a flawed human nature, i find that pretty escapist. we can't blame the avarice or ugliness of human beings or our country on george bush or any of his cronies. we seem to forget that humanity has fought in bloody and barbaric wars for centuries upon centuries upon centuries and that millions and millions of people have died. in our warm cozy dr.phil/katie couric/chicken soup for the soul world we want to close out all the symptoms of violence and people waving guns in the air that happen in teh rest of teh world because the rest of the globe is not ensconced in the ridiculous amounts of wealth accumulation and padded material comforts that we are, and have to fight for basic survival day in and day out. the bush agenda is pretty scary and i like the line vonnegut said that "We the people have absolutely no say in whatever they choose to do next" but simply ignoring the rest of teh world and concentrating on a lovely indie world we have here in our country seems an irresponsible answer to the worlds problem. i think fretting over the inherent evilness or goodness of human beings ignores the real problems and sufferings we can address in our time here. the problem with our country and our world, is not necessarily the evilness of human beings or the agenda of one presidential administration but the degradation of our world and our values caused by avarice and the militant desire among our country's citizens that we have every single right imaginable - the freedom to do/say/buy whatever we want. such a world leaves every person scrambling for the palaces (as w.d. howells might say) we see all about us in fancy car ads, or tv dream worlds, but leaving a good deal of the rest of the country in the poorhouse - in scarred communities, decay, ugly big box retailing centers. and simply pulling out of iraq or any other foreign country, and going through a pseudo regime change, won't disrupt a bit the ills and deep set decaying desires we have built into our culture here at home. (whew) there i've said too much, but this article and this thread leaves me wiht a lot to say.

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grant
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Postby grant » Sat Jun 05, 2004 6:58 pm

anthropomorphizing_kitty wrote:
grant wrote:Merlin once corralled Vonnegut into having breakfast with us.

Charming man -- picked up the tab, despite the fact that there were suddenly something like 12 of us instead of two.


Nuh uh.


To this, I must reply, "Yes huh."

I am Kilgore Trout.


Actually, I'm afraid you've been beaten to that byPhilip Jose Farmer, in one of his more meta-fictive moods.

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anthropomorphizing_kitty
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Postby anthropomorphizing_kitty » Mon Jun 07, 2004 9:26 am

That was rather fascinating.

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Postby John » Mon Jun 07, 2004 2:41 pm

KV's description of champagne from the perspective of yeast always made me cry like a baby. It's in Breakfast of Champions I thinks.


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