Today’s Quote

April 13, 2007

As I mentioned yesterday, while I had little use for Kurt Vonnegut’s limp-balloon fiction, I thought his essays brimmed over with passion and wit. For example:

For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.

“Blessed are the merciful” in a courtroom? “Blessed are the peacemakers” in the Pentagon? Give me a break!

It so happens that idealism enough for anyone is not made of perfumed pink clouds. It is the law! It is the US Constitution.

But I myself feel that our country, for whose Constitution I fought in a just war, might as well have been invaded by Martians and body snatchers. Sometimes I wish it had been. What has happened instead is that it was taken over by means of the sleaziest, low-comedy, Keystone Cops-style coup d’état imaginable.

I was once asked if I had any ideas for a really scary reality TV show. I have one reality show that would really make your hair stand on end: “C-Students from Yale”.

George W Bush has gathered around him upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography, plus not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka Christians, and plus, most frighteningly, psychopathic personalities, or PPs, the medical term for smart, personable people who have no consciences.

To say somebody is a PP is to make a perfectly respectable diagnosis, like saying he or she has appendicitis or athlete’s foot. The classic medical text on PPs is The Mask of Sanity by Dr Hervey Cleckley, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the Medical College of Georgia, published in 1941. Read it!

Some people are born deaf, some are born blind or whatever, and this book is about congenitally defective human beings of a sort that is making this whole country and many other parts of the planet go completely haywire nowadays. These were people born without consciences, and suddenly they are taking charge of everything.

PPs are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care. They cannot care because they are nuts. They have a screw loose!

And what syndrome better describes so many executives at Enron and WorldCom and on and on, who have enriched themselves while ruining their employees and investors and country and who still feel as pure as the driven snow, no matter what anybody may say to or about them? And they are waging a war that is making billionaires out of millionaires, and trillionaires out of billionaires, and they own television, and they bankroll George Bush, and not because he’s against gay marriage.

So many of these heartless PPs now hold big jobs in our federal government, as though they were leaders instead of sick. They have taken charge. They have taken charge of communications and the schools, so we might as well be Poland under occupation.

They might have felt that taking our country into an endless war was simply something decisive to do. What has allowed so many PPs to rise so high in corporations, and now in government, is that they are so decisive. They are going to do something every fuckin’ day and they are not afraid. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reason that they don’t give a fuck what happens next. Simply can’t. Do this! Do that! Mobilise the reserves! Privatise the public schools! Attack Iraq! Cut health care! Tap everybody’s telephone! Cut taxes on the rich! Build a trillion-dollar missile shield! Fuck habeas corpus and the Sierra Club and In These Times, and kiss my ass!

There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don’t know what can be done to fix it. This is it: only nut cases want to be president. This was true even in high school. Only clearly disturbed people ran for class president.

The title of Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 is a parody of the title of Ray Bradbury’s great science-fiction novel Fahrenheit 451. Four hundred and fifty-one degrees Fahrenheit is the combustion point, incidentally, of paper, of which books are composed. The hero of Bradbury’s novel is a municipal worker whose job is burning books.

While on the subject of burning books, I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and destroyed records rather than have to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles.

So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House, the Supreme Court, the Senate, the House of Representatives, or the media. The America I loved still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.

And still on the subject of books: our daily news sources, newspapers and TV, are now so craven, so unvigilant on behalf of the American people, so uninformative, that only in books do we learn what’s really going on.

From Vonnegut’s A Man Without a Country.


5 Responses to “Today’s Quote”

  1. VJB Says:

    Wonder when Pat Robertson will denounce Jesus as ‘not Christian’? I guess when he actually gets around to reading the Beatitudes for the very first time.

  2. I’m disappointed to hear you’re not a fan of his fiction, but I agree with you on the essays. I was reading Man Without a Country just a few weeks ago and consider it by far his best work overall.

  3. eplebneesta Says:

    I’ve taken to calling these faux christians who espouse leviticus and moses and ignore the teachings of christ “xians.” They haven’t earned a capitial “x.”

    His teachings do not support their ruthless, hateful and greedy agenda. In fact, they oppose it directly. And, of course they cherry pick the OT in general and leviticus and the 10 suggestions. Thou shalt no kill in particular.

    I got such a huge kick out of these xian congress critters opposing the swearing in using the koran when the sermon on the mount (tSotM) *expressly* forbids swearing oaths in the name of god. In fact tSotM goes on to say that instead they should never, ever lie (another ignored of the 10 suggestions) and are essentially under oath at all times.
    I *really* wish that true christians, which are rumored to exist, will stand up, make their voices heard and denounce these evil bastards.
    The xians do so many things that are sins against christ’s teaching that they should be called on them constantly. And I love to ask the xian posters, who almost always sin in their posts, to post photos of their sin offerings and burnt offerings to atone for their sins. I must’ve missed the part in the bible where christ said people can get off the sin hook by rubbing some beads and muttering some words. Bogus catholic rules can’t trump canonical biblical law, regardless of dishonestly calling it canon.

    We can survive attacks by AQ.
    We can’t survive attacks on our values and Constitution.
    We may still be called Americans, but we won’t be Americans.

    E Pleb Neesta
    He converteth me to lamb cutlets
    Blessed are the cheese makers.

    If HPV vacciniation, contraception and sex-ed promote promiscuity,
    then surely confession must promote sin.

    Disenfranchise the corporations: support campaign finance reform, and only those candidates who do. Corporations are not human (psychotic SCOTUS justices notwithstanding) and do not enjoy First amendment freedoms.
    One human citizen, one vote.

    Join the ranks of the Agnostic Quantum Deists.

  4. Don’t forget “The Sheep and the Goats”
    Matthew 25:31-46
    31″When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

    34″Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    37″Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    40″The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

    41″Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44″They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45″He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46″Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

  5. […] mathematical certainty, mean the death of many small and independent publications.* * * * * * * * *The Opinion Mill offers a dandy excerpt from the recently departed Kurt Vonnegut:For some reason, the most vocal […]

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