Kurt Vonnegut Holds Up
When I was in middle school and high school, my two favorite authors were Kurt Vonnegut and Stephen King-- I read everything they wrote; but a few years ago, I tried to re-read The Stand and I found it dated and kind of cheesy (though I did love King's more recent novel 11/22/63) and I read less and less fiction these days anyway-- except crime fiction about murder and drug lords and torture-- but I was screwing around with my Kindle and somehow 'borrowed" Breakfast of Champions for free, and I devoured it in the same way teenage Dave must have done . . . the book is super-meta, extremely profane (with liberal use of the N-word) and very funny; Vonnegut's ironically detached view from outer space on art, the environment, character, free will, and income inequality are as modern (post-modern?) as anything written today; here are two passages that I highlighted:
1) "I used to be a conservationist. I used to weep and wail about people shooting bald eagles with automatic shotguns from helicopters and all that, but I gave it up. There's a river in Cleveland which is so polluted that it catches fire about once a year; that used to make me sick, but I laugh about it now . . . I realized," said Trout, "that God wasn't conservationist, so for anyone else to be one was sacrilegious and a waste of time. You ever see one of His volcanoes or tornadoes or tidal waves? Anybody ever tell you about the Ice Ages he arranges every half-million years? How about Dutch Elm disease?"
2) Because of the peculiar laws in that part of the planet, Rockefeller was allowed to own vast areas of the Earth's surface, and the petroleum and other valuable minerals under the surface , as well. He owned or controlled more of the planet than many nations. This had been his destiny since infancy. He was born into that cockamamie proprietorship.