Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was a lousy franchisee with a fairly dark sense of humour.
He could string a few words together, though.
What is the purpose of life? —— To be the eyes, and ears, and conscience of the creator of the universe; you fool.
The chief weapon of sea pirates, however, was their capacity to astonish. Nobody else could believe, until it was too late, how heartless and greedy they were.
If you can do a half-assed job of anything, you’re a one-eyed man in a kingdom of the blind.
So it goes.
The visitor from outer space made a serious study of Christianity, to learn, if he could, why Christians found it so easy to be cruel. He concluded that at least part of the trouble was slipshod storytelling in the New Testament. He supposed that the intent of the Gospels was to teach people, among other things, to be merciful, even to the lowest of the low. But the Gospels actually taught this: Before you kill somebody, make absolutely sure he isn’t well connected.
Charm was a scheme for making strangers like and trust a person immediately, no matter what the charmer had in mind.
Doesn’t anything socialistic make you want to throw up? Like great public schools, or health insurance for all?
Well, the telling of jokes is an art of its own, and it always rises from some emotional threat. The best jokes are dangerous, and dangerous because they are in some way truthful.
Still and all, why bother? Here’s my answer. Many people need desperately to receive this message: I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.
I used to be funny, and perhaps I’m not anymore. It may be that I have become rather grumpy because I’ve seen so many things that have offended me that I cannot deal with in terms of laughter.
Vietnam was an exercise in mistaken idealism; Iraq in cynical money-making. And there’s no optimism or idealism now — Americans are tired of knowledge. Our leaders, the C-students from Yale, know this. We’re proud of being ignorant; that leaves virtue at our core. We aren’t frazzled by knowledge like foreigners, so we can be trusted.
I have been a soreheaded occupant of a file drawer labeled “Science Fiction” . . . and I would like out, particularly since so many serious critics regularly mistake the drawer for a urinal.
The practice of art isn’t to make a living. It’s to make your soul grow.
Human beings are about 1,000 times dumber and meaner than they think they are.
Find a subject you care about and which you feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.
Kilgore Trout once wrote a short story which was a dialogue between two pieces of yeast. They were discussing the possible purposes of life as they ate sugar and suffocated in their own excrement. Because of their limited intelligence, they never came close to guessing that they were making champagne.
I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.
Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae.