Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

‘There Is No Reason Good Can’t Triumph over Evil, If Only Angels Will Get Organized along the Lines of the Mafia’

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Evolution can go to hell as far as I’m concerned. What a mistake we are. We have mortally wounded this sweet life-supporting planet — the only one in the whole Milky Way galaxy — with a century of transportation whoopee. Our government is conducting a war on drugs, isn’t it? Let them go after petroleum. Talk about a destructive high!
–Kurt Vonnegut, A Man without a Country

Today I clicked off another marker of adulthood: the voluntary purchase of two brand-new hardcover books, simply because I wanted to read them and didn’t want to wait for the paperback. The two books were Kelly Link’s Magic for Beginners and well-loved Backwards City #1 contributor Kurt Vonnegut’s A Man without a Country. I read the second book first.

What can be said to our young people, now that psychopathic personalities, which is to say persons without consciences, without any sense of pity or shame, have taken all the money in the treasuries of our government and corporations, and made it all their own?
–Kurt Vonnegut, A Man without a Country

Like many of Vonnegut’s books, this one is short enough and pithy enough to be read in one sitting. A collection of unconnected essays and vignettes, untethered by plot or any sort of unifying principle beyond the strength of Vonnegut’s voice, the book floats lightly from topic to topic, from the mathematical distillation of all story (a two-dimensional graph) to music to death to war to Bush to his perpetually unfinished last novel, If God Were Alive Today.

There seem to be two types of people in the world: those who love everything Vonnegut writes, and those who don’t. I’m one of the former.

Here’s the news: I’m going to sue the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company, manufacturers of Pall Mall cigarettes, for a billion bucks! Starting when I was only twelve years old, I have never smoked anything but unfiltered Pall Malls. And for many years now, right on the package, Brown and Williamson have promised to kill me.

But now I am eighty-two. Thanks a lot, you dirty rats.
–Kurt Vonnegut, A Man without a Country

Written by gerrycanavan

September 5, 2005 at 12:51 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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