Thursday, May 18, 2006

A Must-Read

Just finished reading Kurt Vonnegut's "A Man Without a Country" last night. I know, Bush, I know. I started days ago and it's a very short book, a very easy read. I guess I'm a slow reader. Actually, I'm a fitful rather than a slow reader. But the book has been on my mind all this time. I've read extracts to friends. I've recommended it. It has to be one of the sharpest indictments of our culture you can read anywhere. An elegy for the human species and the planet earth in what he sees to be their final throes.

But it's also kind. Avuncular. Full of quiet wisdom. Honest. Plain-spoken. Clear-sighted. It's the kind of talk you'd want to hear from your grandfather, out of the depth of his experience of the world. Funny. Witty. Angry. Full of grief and sadness that things have reached this pitch. Unadorned, unsparing of himself as well as others. And full of love for the world and, particularly, its people. He just loves people. All kinds, particularly those as plain and honest as himself. He reserves his wrath for those who are dishonest, stupid, short-sighted, self-serving, self-righteous, exploitative...

I regret to have to report, Bush, that you belong in the latter category in Vonnegut's book. It comes from an unapologetically socialist world-view, and delights in heaping scorn on right-wing politics and its dire effects. But I wish you'd read the book, Bush, just the same. If you listened to Vonnegut--really listened--I don't think you'd need to be impeached at all. I think you'd go right ahead and impeach yourself.

4 comments:

denn said...

And if he added Eric Hoffer to his reading list, he'd go right ahead and commit suicide.

denn said...

Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life. Thus people haunted by the purposelessness of their lives try to find a new content not only by dedicating themselves to a holy cause but also by nursing a fanatical grievance. A mass movement offers them unlimited opportunities for both.
eric hoffer

PK said...

Ahhh, well said Peter, great post!

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks, both. Good to hear from you, as always. Cheers, PaL