all vonnegut all the time

I was supposed to go to the gym today after work. At least that’s what I’d been telling myself. I hadn’t been for a long time and I thought that it might help me feel less anxious. Instead, however, at the last minute, I decided to go to the brewery. I’d gotten an email from a friend telling me about a rumor that had been traveling through his office. Apparently, some folks were getting together at the brewery to swap Vonnegut stories, wish him a fond farewell, and console one another. Well, I’m at the brewery right now and I don’t get the sense that anyone else here likes Vonnegut. They look too happy. Their white of their eyes are too white. I’ve decided to make the best of it though. I’m sitting here alone, outside, listening to Kurt Vonnegut, in his own voice, read from “Breakfast of Champions” and “Slaughterhouse Five.” It’s not how I intended to spend my evening, but I’m finding it incredibly satisfying. It’s good to hear Vonnegut’s young voice, and I can’t imagine a better way to spend the first sunny day of spring.

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  1. oliva
    Posted April 13, 2007 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    What you can become is the miracle you were born to be through the work that you do.
    –Kurt Vonnegut

    This quote is from “In These Times,” where there are many outrageously precious (wonderfully cantankerous and glowing-bright, life-saving) words from the “Dear Mr. Vonnegut” installments from recent years in the archives:

    Okay, a little more, this from 10 May 2004, one more of those times we urgently needed him–and were lucky indeed to have him here, offering up his ideas and views so generously.

    If you want to take my guns away from me, and you’re all for murdering fetuses, and love it when homosexuals marry each other, and want to give them kitchen appliances at their showers, and you’re for the poor, you’re a liberal.

    If you are against those perversions and for the rich, you’re a conservative.

    What could be simpler?

    . . . So let’s give another big tax cut to the super-rich. That’ll teach bin Laden a lesson he won’t soon forget. Hail to the Chief.

    That chief and his cohorts have as little to do with Democracy as the Europeans had to do with Christianity. We the people have absolutely no say in whatever they choose to do next. In case you haven’t noticed, they’ve already cleaned out the treasury, passing it out to pals in the war and national security rackets, leaving your generation and the next one with a perfectly enormous debt that you’ll be asked to repay.

    Nobody let out a peep when they did that to you, because they have disconnected every burglar alarm in the Constitution: The House, the Senate, the Supreme Court, the FBI, the free press (which, having been embedded, has forsaken the First Amendment) and We the People.

    About my own history of foreign substance abuse. I’ve been a coward about heroin and cocaine and LSD and so on, afraid they might put me over the edge. I did smoke a joint of marijuana one time with Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, just to be sociable. It didn’t seem to do anything to me, one way or the other, so I never did it again. And by the grace of God, or whatever, I am not an alcoholic, largely a matter of genes. I take a couple of drinks now and then, and will do it again tonight. But two is my limit. No problem.

    I am of course notoriously hooked on cigarettes. I keep hoping the things will kill me. A fire at one end and a fool at the other.

    But I’ll tell you one thing: I once had a high that not even crack cocaine could match. That was when I got my first driver’s license! Look out, world, here comes Kurt Vonnegut.

    And my car back then, a Studebaker, as I recall, was powered, as are almost all means of transportation and other machinery today, and electric power plants and furnaces, by the most abused and addictive and destructive drugs of all: fossil fuels.

    When you got here, even when I got here, the industrialized world was already hopelessly hooked on fossil fuels, and very soon now there won’t be any more of those. Cold turkey.

    Can I tell you the truth? I mean this isn’t like TV news, is it?

    Here’s what I think the truth is: We are all addicts of fossil fuels in a state of denial, about to face cold turkey.

    And like so many addicts about to face cold turkey, our leaders are now committing violent crimes to get what little is left of what we’re hooked on.

    Kurt Vonnegut is a legendary author, WWII veteran, humanist, artist, smoker and In These Times senior editor. His classic works include Slaughterhouse-Five, Breakfast of Champions, Cat’s Cradle, among many others. His most recent book, A Man Without a Country, collects many of the articles written for this magazine.

    That one is at:

    (Oh dear, I thought it was gross when Bush invoked The Who lyrics when he slipped up back when with that “Fooled me once” line and said “Won’t get fooled again.” Now I see he took from Mr. Vonnegut too when he did his hang dog blah-de-blah a while back about “America’s addicted to oil.” Some things are way too holy for his proximity, I want to say!)

  2. idmta
    Posted April 14, 2007 at 2:27 am | Permalink

    A few weeks ago, had audio of Vonnegut reading from Slaughterhouse 5. It was amazing.

    (Jailbird. It’s all about Jailbird.)

  3. UBU
    Posted April 15, 2007 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    and now Don Ho is gone…I just sit listening to tiny bubbles…how can there be laughter in the world when there is no more elvis headed ho…

  4. egpenet
    Posted April 15, 2007 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    UBU … i’mus be hearing things

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