Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Man Without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut

I wish I had known Kurt Vonnegut and now, having read his little book, A Man Without a Country, I see that I'm going to have go back reread all of his work. I guess there are a few that I might have missed along the way; I'll have to read those for the first time. I used a semicolon in that sentence because of the opening of Chapter 3 of A Man Without a Country:
"Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college."

But there's also some great other observations sprinkled throught the book, a few of which I'm going to share:
"Foreigners love us for our jazz. And they don't hate us for our purported liberty and justice for all. They hate us now for our arrogance."
"I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America becoming humane and reasonable. Because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts us absolutely. Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many lifeless bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas."

"Speaking of plunging into war, do you know why I think George W. Bush is so pissed off at Arabs? They brought us algebra."
"In case you haven't noticed, we are now as feared and hated all over the world as the Nazis once were. And with good reason. In case you haven't noticed, our unelected leaders have dehumanized millions and millions of human beings simply because of their religion and race. We wound 'em and kill 'em and torture 'em and imprison 'em all we want. Piece of cake."

"For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that's Moses, not Jesus. I haven't heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere. 'Blessed are the merciful' in a courtroom? 'Blessed are the peacemakers' in the Pentagon? Give me a break!"

Okay, that's enough. You should buy it and read it yourself. It's quick.

2 comments:

Anglophile said...

I loved Timequake and recommend it if you haven't read it already.

Clifford Garstang said...

I haven't. Thanks for the recommendation!