Saturday, December 06, 2008

Wampeteres, Foma & Granfalloons by Kurt Vonnegut

This book is a great little compilation of speeches, articles/reviews, a few short stories and lengthy interview. I probably appreciated the interview and a few of the speeches the most as they allowed for a greater understanding of just what he might believe and how he might give a talk. I know Vonnegut tends to the pessimistic view of life, and his skepticism and cynicism are all too often valid, but the perspective presented in some of those talks was more severe and negative than I would have anticipated.

There are many wonderful parts and amusing opinions provided. A nice collection for Vonnegut fans (and the interview would serve as a good intro to who he is).

Interview with Playboy Excerpt (where he was able to ‘revise his stupidity’ and state what he should have said, not what he really said):
Playboy: In some of your books – especially The Sirens of Titan and Slaughterhouse-Five – there’s a serious notion that all moments in time exist simultaneously, which implies that the future can’t be changed by an act of will in the present. How does a desire to improve things fit with that?

Vonnegut: You understand, of course, that everything I say is horseshit.

Playboy: Of course.

Vonnegut: Well, we do live our lives simultaneously. That’s a fact. You are here as a child and as an old man. I recently visited a woman who has Hodgkin’s disease. She has somewhere between a few months and a couple years to live, and she told me that she was living her life simultaneously now, living all the moments of it.

Playboy: It seems paradoxical.

Vonnegut: That’s because what I’ve just said to you is horseshit. But it’s a useful, comforting sort of horseshit, you see?


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