Huh? Does the Times do any research? The extent to which the cultural pages of the New York Times have been corrupted by its far—left sympathies is again made apparent today as they promote the work of Kurt Vonnegut (and Jimmy Carter). Notable quote by the Times:
Two books that are selling well ahead of expectations this fall fit that mold: "Our Endangered Values," by Jimmy Carter, an assessment of the country's current political and religious debates, published by Simon & Schuster; and "A Man Without a Country," by Kurt Vonnegut, a series of essays leavened with the author's trademark humanist view, published by Seven Stories Press.
"Both of these men have a moral profile" that is helping their books, said Jim Harris, an owner of Prairie Lights Books in Iowa City. He added that the authors' "authoritative voices" have attracted buyers who do not place themselves at one political extreme or the other.
Here is Vonnegut, as he expressed himself the last few weeks:
"Life is no way to treat an animal."
"If God were alive today he would be an atheist."
"The difference between Hitler and George Bush is that Hitler was elected."
"The United States needs another novel like it needs another symphony."
"There's been a wild party going on for about 150years now on fossil fuels and nobody wants to spoil it."
Do you or did you bear any ill will towards your captors?" I ask.
Not at all," Vonnegut says. "And I regard anybody who is a soldier in any army that is at war as a brother of mine. I've been back to Dresden three times now and when I go there, I'm treated as a hometown boy."
Next I ask him about terrorism. It's not for any particular reason. It just seems a relevant thing to ask a writer who has seen war, who has written of war and who lives in New York City, where terrorism's horror is understood so well.
"What about terrorists? Do you understand where they're coming from? Do you regard them as soldiers too?" I ask.
Vonnegut's reply is startling. "I regard them as very brave people, yes," he says without a moment's hesitation.
"You don't think that they're mad, that, you know, anyone who would strap a bomb to himself must be mad?"
"Well, we had a guy [president Harry Truman] who dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, didn't we?" he says.
"What George Bush and his gang did not realise was that people fight back. Peace wasn't restored in Vietnam until we got kicked out. Everything's quiet there now."
There's a long pause before Vonnegut speaks again: "It is sweet and noble — sweet and honourable I guess it is — to die for what you believe in."
This borders on the outrageous. Is the author of one of the great anti—war books of the 20th century seriously saying that terrorists who kill civilians are "sweet and honourable"?
I ask one more question: "But terrorists believe in twisted religious things, don't they? So surely that can't be right?"
"Well, they're dying for their own self—respect," Vonnegut fires back. "It's a terrible thing to deprive someone of their self—respect. It's [like] your culture is nothing, your race is nothing, you're nothing."
There's another long pause and Vonnegut's eyes suggest his mind has wandered off somewhere. Then, suddenly, he turns back to me and says: "It must be an amazing high."
"What?" I ask. "Strapping a bomb to yourself," he says. "You would know death is going to be painless, so the anticipation ... must be an amazing high."
Ed Lasky 12 07 05