Apr

12

QuickSpec: Welcome to the Monkey House edition

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23 Comments

  1. oh.  

    no.... vonnegut? we lost vonnegut?

  2. B. Pilgrim  

    So it goes.

  3. sad

    news re: vonnegut, but reading those quotes made me happy. what an amazing man. did you folks know that during the counter-commencement after the '68 strikes here at columbia, vonnegut gave a speech? crazy.

  4. Bethmann-Hollweg  

    Vonnegut was easily the greatest American author.

    Poo-tee-tweet?

  5. Kilgore Trout  

    Our good man Kurt has come unstuck in time...
    "Still and all, why bother? Here's my answer. Many people need desperately to receive this message: I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone. "

    -KV (1922-2007)

    You'll be missed, brother.

  6. alexw  

    Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.

  7. von Metternich  

    "What is the purpose of life?...To be the eyes and ears and conscience of the Creator of The Universe, you fool."

    -Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Breakfast of Champions

    "Tiger got to hunt,
    Bird got to fly;
    Man got to sit and wonder, 'Why, why, why?'
    Tiger got to sleep,
    Bird got to land;
    Man got to tell himself he understand."
    -Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle

    KV, You'll be missed.

  8. rip

    "harrison bergeron" changed my life when i was 13.

  9. epitaph  

    "The only proof he needed for the existence of God was Music"

  10. wirc  

    Finally, a QuickSpec theme that really, truly works. Only Vonnegut can do it, apparently.

  11. Hmmm  

    Vonnegut was interesting, but the greatest American author of the century? Really? Rest in peace Kurt; I didn't think you were a particularly good writer (except for Mr. Rosewater) but by god you were interesting.

  12. Sad  

    It's been really nice to read all of these quotes. Rest in peace, Mr. Vonnegut.

  13. pms  

    "All of the true things I am about to tell you are shameless lies."

    Cat's Cradle is one of those books you can read five times a year. I'll miss you, man.

  14. it's  

    Slaughterhouse-Five, not Slaughterhouse V. we're not talking about a Rocky movie here.

  15. Cam  

    Mr. Vonnegut is up in heaven now.

    "Do you know what a Humanist is? I am honorary president of the American Humanist Association, having succeeded the late, great science fiction writer Isaac Asimov in that functionless capacity. We Humanists try to behave well without any expectation of rewards or punishments in an afterlife. We serve as best we can the only abstraction with which we have any real familiarity, which is our community.

    We had a memorial services for Isaac a few years back, and at one point I said, ''Isaac is up in Heaven now.'' It was the funniest thing I could have said to a group of Humanists. I rolled them in the aisles. It was several minutes before order could be restored. And if I should ever die, God forbid, I hope you will say, ''Kurt is up in Heaven now.'' That’s my favorite joke. "

  16. Not a great writer?

    He was indeed. Your honor, I submit evidence:

    Billy looked at the clock on the gas stove. He had an hour to kill before the saucer came. He went into the living room, swinging the bottle like a dinner bell, turned on the television. He came slightly unstuck in time, saw the late movie backwards, then forwards again. It was a movie about American bombers in the Second World War and the gallant men who flew them. Seen backwards by Billy, the story went like this:
    American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France, a few German fighter planes flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground, and those planes flew up backwards to join the formation.
    The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The containers were stored neatly in racks. The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own, which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes. But there were still a few wounded Americans, though, and some of the bombers were in bad repair. Over France, though, German fighters came up again, made everything and everybody good as new.

    ...

    When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody again.
    The American fliers turned in their uniforms, became high school kids. And Hitler turned into a baby, Billy Pilgrim supposed. That wasn't in the movie. Billy was extrapolating. Everybody turned into a baby, and all humanity, without exception, conspired biologically to produce two perfect people named Adam and Eve.

    "And everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt."

    RIP Kurt, there will never be another like you...

  17. rjt  

    "Everyone now knows how to find the meaning of life within himself." - The Sirens of Titan

  18. quote

    "
    I've often thought there ought to be a manual to hand to little kids, telling them what kind of planet they're on, why they don't fall off it, how much time they've probably got here, how to avoid poison ivy, and so on. I tried to write one once. It was called "Welcome to Earth." But I got stuck on explaining why we don't fall off the planet. Gravity is just a word. It doesn't explain anything. If I could get past gravity, I'd tell them how we reproduce, how long we've been here, apparently, and a little bit about evolution. And one thing I would really like to tell them is about cultural relativity. I didn't learn until I was in college about all the other cultures, and I should have learned that in the first grade. A first grader should understand that his or her culture isn't a rational invention; that there are thousands of other cultures and they all work pretty well; that all cultures function on faith rather than truth; that there are lots of alternatives to our own society. Cultural relativity is defensible and attractive. It's also a source of hope. It means we don't have to continue this way if we don't like it."

  19. So middlebrow

    Did you read those quotes? Ugh, he's so middlebrow it hurts.

    • rjt  

      "Middlebrow" is the stock dismissal of Vonnegut by people who have only read pretentious critics and haven't actually gone into any of his novels. Go to hell. Unless you're making a clever joke, but I don't think you are.

      • No, it's middlebrow

        I've read a couple, and it's middlebrow watered down sci-fi mixed with dinky little helpings of magical realism and fabulism in small enough quantities that it's safe enough for all. Get it the fuck away from me and I hope he rots in hell

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