Goodbye Blue Monday, indeed.
Breakfast of Champions (which I am pleased to note shares its initials with the Blue Oyster Cult) beckons. Let’s meet up next Monday at the end of Chapter 8, where we’ll see the emblem of the Pluto Gang on the back of a jacket.
“I never hear that word anymore: Prosperity. It used to be a synonym for Paradise. And Phoebe Hurty was able to believe that the impoliteness she recommended would give shape to an American paradise.
“Now her sort of impoliteness is fashionable. But nobody believes anymore in a new American paradise.”
I’ve been repeatedly struck by how Vonnie’s work remains timely. Written during the Nixon era, Breakfast’s surrealism still works in the emerging Trump era. For example, I can change names in the following & it still makes perfect sense to me–“Here was the core of the bad ideas which [Bannon] gave to [Donald]: Everybody on Earth was a robot, with one exception–[Donald Trump].
“Of all the creatures in the Universe, only [Donald] was thinking and feeling and worrying and planning and so on…. Everybody else was a fully automatic machine, whose purpose was to stimulate [Donald]. [Donald] was a new type of creature being tested by the Creator of the Universe.”
And here’s ol’ Eliot Rosewater popping up in a 3rd work of Kurt. It’s starting to look like a running gag. Will Eliot pop up in further stories?
Like a number of the more ambitious authors, Vonnegut seems to have been intent on creating an entire universe, and having all of his work illuminate a different corner of that universe. So characters or places that exist in one book or story exist in all of them, and occasionally pop up again seen from a different angle. This has made it especially fun, for me, to read a bunch of his stuff all at once. Though I’ve also noticed that he’s not 100% consistent from book to book — for instance Kilgore Trout is described here as utterly charmless, whereas the Trout of “Mr. Rosewater” was quite charming
I remember getting in trouble in high school for laughing uncontrollably while reading “B of C” in a Silent Reading period. It doesn’t seem quite as funny to me anymore — still funny, just not as funny as it did. I didn’t so much notice the darkness that serves as a backdrop to the comedy back then. Maybe it’s just a function of getting older, I’m not sure.
On the one hand, it’s somewhat depressing that the problems Vonnegut writes about in this book are still our problems now. On the other hand it’s also oddly comforting — the world did not in fact come to an end back then, and maybe it won’t now.
I was intrigued by the presence of the drawings and was happy to find the explanation in the Notes on page 848: V wanted to make his writing more “visual” to ward off the evil effects of television on the craft of story telling with ink on paper.