Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Aimless Reading: The V's, Part 10.1 (Kurt Vonnegut)

Breakfast of Champions
Vonnegut, Kurt
Breakfast of Champions

I may have bought this at the same place and/or time as I bought yesterday's book. Both the price–$2.75–and the penciled-in handwriting in the upper righthand corner of the first page are identical.  Once again, I don't know where I got it.

I saw Kurt Vonnegut speak when I was in college. He spoke in an auditorium above the cafeteria at Fordham. I hadn't read him at the time, but many of my friends were obsessed fans, so I  tagged along. I remember he gave a very funny talk centered on Hamlet. He used a blackboard and drew all kinds of diagrams intended to illumine his argument. Unfortunately, I have forgotten the argument.

A friend told me to read God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, which I did. I was unconvinced. Which didn't stop me from reading more, but as I have said, my feelings for his work are at best lukewarm.

I remember going to see the film version of this in Buffalo. It came out the first year or so I was there and it played at the North Park Theater. The North Park is a 1920's era theater with a gigantic screen, a proscenium, and a domed ceiling emblazoned with a faded mural. The chairs are uncomfortable as hell and there is a gigantic stain in the middle of the screen, but it's definitely the best place to see a movie in Buffalo.

Nobody has screens that big anymore, sadly.

I don't remember much about the movie, except that Bruce Willis was in it and that I thought it was funnier than my girlfriend at the time did.

from Breakfast of Champions

In all innocence, Kago told the Earthlings about the automobiles. Kago did not know that human beings could be as easily felled by a single idea as by cholera or the bubonic plague. There was no immunity to cuckoo ideas on Earth.

And here, according to Trout, was the reason human beings could not reject ideas because they were bad: 'Ideas on Earth were badges of friendship or enmity. Their content did not matter. Friends agreed with friends, in order to express friendliness. Enemies disagreed with enemies, in order to express enmity. 

'The ideas Earthlings held didn't matter for hundreds of thousands of years, since they couldn't do much about them anyway. Ideas might as well be badges as anything.

'They even had a saying about the futility of ideas: 'If wishes were horses, beggars would ride."

1 comment:

dago red said...

i couldn't wait to read this one when it came out - after "slaughterhouse" got him the gravitas, there was a huge publicity campaign for this novel. i was sorely disappointed - it read like a rush job he'd thrown together for his publishers