DISCOURSE as quilting

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Archive for the ‘Kurt Vonnegut’ Category

remnant 73: “It’s not a place of measurement”

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On poetry: “It’s not a place of measurement.”

Naomi Shihab Nye: The Art of Teaching Poetry

Trying to Name What Doesn’t Change, Naomi Shihab Nye

Stars explode.
The rose curls up as if there is fire in the petals.
The cat who knew me is buried under the bush.

“Excrement….We’re not laying pipe; we’re talking about poetry.”

Dead Poets Society

Paul Proteus to his wife Anita, Player Piano, Kurt Vonnegut:

“No, no. You’ve got something the tests and machines will never be able to measure: you’re artistic. That’s one of the tragedies of our times, that no machine has ever been built that can recognize that quality, appreciate it, foster it, sympathize with it.” (p. 178)

Player Piano, Kurt Vonnegut

Written by plthomasedd

April 2, 2015 at 2:24 pm

remnant 53: “’God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’”

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Eliot Rosewater in Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater implores:

Go over to her shack, I guess. Sprinkles some water on the babies, say, “Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—:

“God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.” (p. 129)

the kindness school (beyond the archeology of white people, pt. 2)

it simply happened one day
when the teachers decided
enough was enough

all the boys with OCD
spent the day playing drums
or riding their bicycles

and the introverts sat quietly
smiling periodically in the corners
while the extroverts laughed and laughed

and soon the pleasures became many
as varied as the children themselves
until one day a child stood to proclaim

after reading Hamlet all on her own
“I say, we will have no more tests”
to which there was thunderous cheering

yes it seemed simple and obvious enough
the founding of the kindness school
with open doors and children singing

Written by plthomasedd

February 14, 2014 at 2:21 pm

remnant 41: “poor Americans are urged to hate themselves”

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America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves….It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. (p. 164)

Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut

And thus…

Noam Chomsky: America hates its poor:

We don’t use the term “working class” here because it’s a taboo term. You’re supposed to say “middle class,” because it helps diminish the understanding that there’s a class war going on….

This is just one part of a long and continuing class war against working people and the poor….

The rich societies, like the United States and Canada, are acting in ways to bring about disaster as quickly as possible. That’s what it means, for example, when both political parties and the press talk enthusiastically about “a century of energy independence.” “Energy independence” doesn’t mean a damn thing, but put that aside. A century of “energy independence” means that we make sure that every bit of Earth’s fossil fuels comes out of the ground and we burn it. In societies that have large indigenous populations, like, for example, Ecuador, an oil producer, people are trying to get support for keeping the oil in the ground. They want funding so as to keep the oil where it ought to be. We, however, have to get everything out of the ground, including tar sands, then burn it, which makes things as bad as possible as quickly as possible. So you have this odd situation where the educated, “advanced” civilized people are trying to cut everyone’s throats as quickly as possible and the indigenous, less educated, poorer populations are trying to prevent the disaster. If somebody was watching this from Mars, they’d think this species was insane.

Written by plthomasedd

December 4, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Posted in Kurt Vonnegut, remnant 41

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remnant 30: “It was like discovering the New World”

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from Haruki Murakami, The Art of Fiction No. 182


I don’t calculate. But if I could manage that, it would be good. I liked to read Kurt Vonnegut and Richard Brautigan while I was a college student. They had a sense of humor, and at the same time what they were writing about was serious. I like those kind of books. The first time I read Vonnegut and Brautigan I was shocked to find that there were such books! It was like discovering the New World.

Written by plthomasedd

August 9, 2013 at 5:46 pm

remnant 26: nerd intuition, soulmates, & the Fountain of Youth

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Science, science fiction, fandom—these are often the domains of nerds. So it may be self-fulfilling and self-serving, but the Fountain of Youth appears to be hidden within books, writing, and sex:

Staying Mentally Stimulated Throughout Your Lifetime Could Lower Cognitive Decline Risk:

Researchers from Rush University Medical Center found that people who reported doing brain exercises such as reading and writing throughout their lifetimes — from childhood through adulthood — had slower memory decline later in life.

“Based on this, we shouldn’t underestimate the effects of everyday activities, such as reading and writing, on our children, ourselves and our parents or grandparents,” study researcher Robert S. Wilson, Ph.D., said in a statement.

Sex is the secret to looking younger, claims researcher:

Dr David Weeks, former head of old age psychology at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, said people need to be aware of the benefits of having a healthy sex life, particularly in their later years.

He said sex has a number of health benefits which can make men and women look between five and seven years younger which includes; it causes the release of endorphins, the ‘feel good’ chemical which acts as a natural painkiller and reduces anxiety aiding sleep; exercise boosts circulation which is good for the heart; and it also causes the human growth hormone to be released which makes the skin look more elastic.

Dr Weeks said: “My message is that lovemaking is good.

It appears, then, that we would all be served well to seek out our soulmate, and be sure to consider if our dearest Other shares our love of words. That may well be what Kurt Vonnegut imagined in Cat’s Cradle, the duprass (see pp. 90-91 here):

They were lovebirds. They entertained each other endlessly with little gifts: sights worth seeing out the plane window, amusing or instructive bits from things they read, random recollections of times gone by. They were, I think, a flawless example of what Bokonon calls a duprass, which is a karass composed of only two persons.

…Bokonon tells us, incidentally, that members of a duprass always die within a week of each other. When it came time for the Mintons to die, they did it wintin the same second. (pp. 86, 88)

And, thus, those who find this union are considered “The Luckiest”:


Inspired by Christopher Isherwood’s A Single Man, I muse about this possibility here:

let’s (lover’s request)

lets copy

Written by plthomasedd

July 7, 2013 at 3:14 pm