Considering he passed away in 2007, reading ‘A Man Without a Country’ is probably the closest I’ll ever get to meeting Kurt Vonnegut. And I’m not okay with that. His essays here are honest, pessimistic and funny as hell.
Everyone should read Vonnegut. Age is not a factor here. Vonnegut is a Socratic thinker – he questions everything and that is not a bad thing.
So many topics are dipped in and out of in these essays and his opinions are gut punches against society, each and every one of them… The man did not shy away from calling out society’s ironies, lies and hypocrisies.
I might not agree with all of his views, or his politics, but I really enjoyed reading about what he had to say. You can expect discussions around:
– Greenpeace. Fossil fuels and our irresponsible, Earth-destroying, consumption of them.
– “Guesser” politicians and the constitution. Kurt Vonnegut is fearless in his socialist leanings and his criticisms of politicians – Stalin and Mao included.
There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution… Only nut cases want to be President. –p.102
– The news. Only Chicago’s In These Times gave Vonnegut hope for our news cycles.
– War, the military and modern weaponry. Kurt Vonnegut versus weapons of mass destruction.
They [soldiers] are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas. –p.72
– Racism and sexism and many other isms…
There have never been any ‘Good Old Days’, there have just been days. And as I say to my grandchildren, “Don’t look at me. I just got here.” -p.131
– Technology and the Meaning of Life.
Electronic communities build nothing. You wind up with nothing. We are dancing animals. How beautiful it is to get up and go out and do something. We are here on Earth to fart around. Don’t let anybody tell you any different. -p.62
– Writing tips and how he got into comedy/satire.
Rules only take us so far, even good rules. –p.134
You can’t really misfire with a tragic scene. It’s bound to be moving if all the right elements are present. But a joke is like building a mousetrap from scratch. You have to work pretty hard to make the thing snap when it’s supposed to snap.” -p.128
Be prepared to be wowed by these essays… To dispair and to laugh out loud!
Some books recommended by Vonnegut:
- Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge – Ambrose Bierce
- Democracy in America – Alexis de Tocqueville
- The Tin Men – Michael Frayn
- The Mysterious Stranger – Mark Twain