vonnegut tonight

I’m told that Kurt Vonnegut is going to be on Real Time with Bill Maher tonight, but I don’t get HBO… Any chance that I might be able to get one of you to tape it for me? Vonnegut rarely does these kinds of things and I’m really interested to hear what he has to say about the hurricane, the war in Iraq, and everything else going on these days… Thanks.

update: Our friend Norm, at One Good Move has taped it for us and posted it at his site. You can check it out here. Vonnegut, I’m sad to say, is looking and sounding very old. I’m not sure what I was expecting, given the fact that he’s about to turn 83, but it depressed me to see him like he was. On the positive side, however, he still seemed quite sharp… If you want to read more about his new book, “A Man Without A Country,” just follow this link.

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  1. mark
    Posted September 10, 2005 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Our friend Norm over at One Good Move did us (me) a favor, recorded last nigth and put it up on his site. You can see it here.

  2. chris
    Posted September 10, 2005 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    But Bill Maher is such a diiiiick. Why was Vonnegut on his show?

  3. mark
    Posted September 10, 2005 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    I agree about Maher. Even though I agree with him on a lot of points, I think he’s a dick. As for Vonnegut, he’s promoting a new book… He probably still wouldn’t do an interview for Crimewave though. I’ve been trying for years, to no avail.

  4. chris
    Posted September 10, 2005 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Odd, I would think that he would be far more likely to do an interview w/ Crimewave as the % of readers who are likely to buy and own his books is probably far higher than Maher watchers.

  5. [steph]
    Posted September 13, 2005 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    Vonnegut was actually looking/sounding much less old and haggard than when I saw him give a reading about 5 years ago. I remember thinking as I left that I was happy to have seen him as it seemed he would die very soon. Luckily, I was wrong. The end.

  6. mark
    Posted September 13, 2005 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    If you’ve never read my interview with Daniel Pinkwater… which you can find over at the Crimewave site… there’s a nice exchange about Vonnegut.

    (Pinkwater’s a fan, and had written a letter to Vonnegut once. Years later, when they were speaking on a panel together, he mentioned it, and Vonnegut said that he remembered the letter and liked it very much. In fact, he kept it on the wall of his office. He said that he never answered mail though. That thought gave me some hope. I like to think that maybe he’s actually read the issues of Crimewave that I’ve sent him.)

  7. Anonymatt
    Posted September 13, 2005 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Vonnegut is supposed to be on the Daily Show tonight, I think. If not tonight, then sometime later this week.

    “I agree about Maher. Even though I agree with him on a lot of points, I think he’s a dick.”

    I think that about some of my friends but I don’t hold it against them. I’d rather watch Maher for politics than a Sunday morning pundit show.

  8. mark
    Posted September 13, 2005 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    If I was the paranoid type, I might think you meant me, Anonymatt.

  9. Anonymatt
    Posted September 13, 2005 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t get so personal in public. And what do you mean “if”?

  10. Anonymatt
    Posted September 13, 2005 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    I read it 2 or 3 times back in the 80s, and I think “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater” is my favorite Vonnegut book. I’m going to reread it on an upcoming vacation.

    I also liked The Sirens of Titan, Bluebeard, Deadeye Dick, Slaughterhouse Five, and Cat’s Cradle.

    So, everyone, name your favorite Vonnegut book(s).

    Oh, I first heard the term “beaver” in Breakfast of Champions.

  11. mark
    Posted September 13, 2005 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know that it’s one of my favorites, but I’ve got Player Piano on my list of books to read again.

  12. mark
    Posted September 13, 2005 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    As for favorites, I’d say either Cat’s Cradle or Slaughterhouse Five, but they’re all good… I need to re-read them all.

  13. Doug Skinner
    Posted September 14, 2005 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    I guess I’m the only one here who isn’t a Vonnegut fan. I read several of his novels years ago: I didn’t hate them; I just didn’t find them that interesting. What is it that hooks you? What did I miss?

  14. Anonymatt
    Posted September 14, 2005 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    I’m not exactly sure, Doug. I have read many more of his books than I listed, those are just my favorites.

    I really got into him while in high school, maybe that says something. Although Galapagos came out while I was in HS, and that one was more interesting in concept than execution.

    I read Player Piano once and was bored. Other of his books left me feeling indifferent like Doug. But few felt like a waste of time to read.

  15. Dave Morris
    Posted September 14, 2005 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I remember liking Cat’s Cradle. i just read a synopsis on wikipedia to flesh out forgotten details. I still like the idea of the book. However, the thing that eventually turned me off about Vonnegut was his deep cynicism. He was Salinger on a grander scale. ( Perhaps ) unlike Salinger though, Vonneguts cynicism is somewhat warranted by his experiences – WWII and his sons schizophrenia.

    I think that re-reading Cat’s Cradle might be worthwhile. The Bokonon religion may have me rethink my opinion of Vonnegut. The “touching souls” is either about hopefulness and innocence or it is another example of his dark cynicism.

    I do share his opinion of technology though. The Ice-9 idea is analogous to many things I am concerned about- like the ocean colick that is acting like a giant bathtub drain and is now the size of Texas. Or the Moab Atlas Mining 11 million ton uranium tailing pile sitting in a flood plain along the Colorado River outside of Moab….

    Now that I think about it, I still share his cynicism. It is an ugly feeling.

  16. Tony Buttons
    Posted September 14, 2005 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    You’re all right, his cynicism is unpleasant. However, it also happens to be called for, especially given the state of the world today.

    Vonnegut lived through the firestorm that laid waste in Dresden. He saw people literally melt. His voice is an important one in American history. He’s seen mans cruelty toward man.

    He also tells a damned good story.

  17. Dave Morris
    Posted September 14, 2005 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    On a lighter note, my friend Jon grew up in Indiana and shopped at Vonneguts’s Hardware. It was owned by Kurt’s dad.

  18. Teddy Glass
    Posted September 14, 2005 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Vonnegut on last night’s Daily Show:


  19. Dave Morris
    Posted September 14, 2005 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    There is a book written by Freeman Dyson called “Disturbing the Universe” that might make good companion reading for “Slaughterhouse Five”. I have not read the book myself, but I know of the author. Freeman Dyson ( who is still alive) worked for the British Government during WWII and developed the idea of strategic bombing / “Firestorm”. He is pretty much the man responsible for the technology that created the firestorm in Dresden. He went on to work on the Manhattan Project.

    I learned about him while researching skin on frame kayaks. I have met and talked with his son George a few times.

    An interesting aside is that Freeman Dyson went on to work on Project Orion ( the development of the concept of space exploration using nuclear explosions as propulsion rather than chemical reaction ). He is obessed with colonizing comets. No kidding.

    I think it would be VERY interesting to see Freeman Dyson and Kurt Vonnegut engage in a conversation. I would be willing to actually make efforts to see this happen if you (Mark) are interested in helping. I think that Princeton or MIT would be VERY willing to host this and this may be the opportunity seeing that Vonnegut is now making public appearances.

  20. Doug Skinner
    Posted September 14, 2005 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Well, that’s interesting. I certainly didn’t find Vonnegut too cynical or unpleasant; on the contrary, I found him a bit thin and predictable. I would have preferred him if he were nastier.

    Anyway, tastes differ…

  21. mark
    Posted September 14, 2005 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    I like Vonnegut’s idea, as expressed in both of the videos that have been linked to, that the earth is just beginning to fight off the infection known as humanity. It’s dark, but, in a way, hopeful.

  22. mark
    Posted September 14, 2005 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Dave, I love the idea. I really do. I’m just afraid that if I get involved it’ll die the slow death of every project I touch… As soon as I get involved, things tend to wither. I never have enough time to give to make something really work, so they just tend to keep limping along. They’re all damned good ideas too. That’s the frustrating thing. Right now, I’ve got at least a dozen things on my plate…. rotting.

  23. Anonymous
    Posted September 22, 2005 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    F..k LEO Club
    I better do that too. digs around to find out how Hil lost so much weight

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