Wednesday 30 May 2012

Breakfast of Champions

Or Goodbye Blue Monday
Kurt Vonnegut, 1973
(April 2012)

              So, in the interests of survival, they trained themselves to be agreeing machines instead of thinking machines. All their minds had to do was discover what other people were thinking, and then they thought that, too.

Honestly, I could fill up the rest of this post with quotes. There are so many brilliant lines in this book. After the first two or three I stopped trying to keep track of them, because you could just open the book on a random page and be virtually guaranteed to find a small pearl of genius.

Fuck it. Let’s do just that:
His high school was named after a slave owner who was also one of the world’s greatest theoreticians on the subject of human liberty.

The illustrations for this book were murky photographs of several white women giving blow jobs to the same black man, who, for some reason, wore a Mexican sombrero.

Dwane’s chin on his shoulder was as shattering as buggery to Trout.

Trout asked him what it had felt like to work for an industry whose business was to destroy the countryside, and the old man said he was usually too tired to care.

“I hope you enjoy it,” said the cashier to Trout. He meant that he hoped Trout would find some pictures he could masturbate to, since that was the only point of all the books and magazines.
              “It’s for an arts festival,” said Trout.

Bunny Hoover went to Prairie Military Academy for eight years of uninterrupted sports, buggery, and Fascism.

And so on.


  1. Please edit, "And so on", to "And so it goes..."

    1. :) Wrong book though. This one is 'And so on'.

      In place he walk a fine line between faux naif and flat out offensive, but he's certainly got the whole 'human experience' thing down.

  2. I am not sure he is any kind of stylist, but I'd rather read someone who makes me think, or gives authority to my experience of the humans, as he does:

    "If I were a younger man, I would write a history of human stupidity; and I would climb to the top of Mount McCabe and lie down on my back with my history for a pillow; and I would take from the ground some of the blue-white poison that makes statues of men; and I would make a statue of myself, lying on my back, grinning horribly, and thumbing my nose at You Know Who."
    - Cat's Cradle

  3. Vonnegut... plenty of Vonnegut moments in life. Here. On The Rock.

  4. "Bunny Hoover went to Prairie Military Academy for eight years of uninterrupted sports, buggery, and Fascism."

    I'm not even past the name and I'm thinking....cooool!!

    1. Kilgore Trout was apparently so named because Vonnegut was friends with a writer called Sturgeon, and just thought someone being named after a fish was funny. Hard to argue with that, really.