our greatest blessings come to us by way of madness Phaedr. 244a


"In a Manner That Must Shame God Himself"

Last week I bought a used copy of a book by Kurt Vonnegut. It was a Wampeters, Fomas & Grandfalloons (OPINIONS.) It is a series of short pieces, all but one non-fiction. Today I picked it up and serendipitously started to read the eight page article, "In a Manner That Must Shame God Himself."

It begins "If I were a visitor from another planet, I would say things like this about the people of the United States in 1972:"

In August of that year, in the state of Florida, the Republican Party was holding its convention and Harpers magazine employed him to cover it for them. If you are familiar with Vonnegut's writing style, you can imagine this was not your run-of-the-mill political campaign coverage.

Vonnegut begins by stating that "The two real parties in America are the Winners and the Losers." What he meant in todays parlance was the 1% and the 99%.

He goes on to write, "The people do not acknowledge this. They claim membership in two imagainary parties, the Republicans and Democrats, instead.  Both imaginary parties are bossed by the Winners."

"The most pitiless [social] Darwinists are attracted to the Republican Party, which regularly purges itself of suspected bleeding hearts."

Vonnegut decodes the secret message of the Republican convention, "... every Winner knows, that one must behave heartlessly towards Losers, if one hopes to survive."

Interestingly enough, it turns out that almost eight years ago, just before Bush the "W" was inaugurated for the second time, there was a blog posted about this in the Daily Kos. The theme of the blog was how little things have changed after 32 years.

So here we are forty years later.

"So it goes."
 from Slaugherhouse-Five
"There's only one rule I know of, babies - 
 God damn it, you've got to be kind."
from God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
"Many people need desparately 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. ' "
from Timequake
Kurt Vonnegut, our dear brother, rest in peace


So here we are forty years later and still not too much has changed.