8 thoughts on “The man who created Ice Nine”

  1. I looked him up. The bios haven’t caught up with his departure from life but did tell me that he was a POW in Dresden, surviving the bombing in the cellar of a slaughterhouse. Hence Slaughterhouse Five, one would suppose. Wampeters, Foma and Granfaloons to you, Kurt.

  2. My god, Deb, dincha have to take him in high school? Welcome to the Monkey House, etc? He was majorly on the High School English Curriculum when I was in school, lo these many many years ago.

  3. I didn’t meet him until he started being published, in the fifties. And – he played himself in a Rodney Dangerfield movie, Back to School, some years ago. Rodney is a wealthy clothier who goes to university. He is required to write an essay on the work of Vonnegut, and being wealthy, hires Vonnegut to write it. The essay gets a failing grade. I think Vonnegut and Dangerfield were both into irony.

  4. Nautilus3, I am still interested in your “explanation for why people do terrible things in the name of whatever their god may be”. It seems Kurt Vonnegut touches on this subject in regard to George Bush (and the like) in his book “A Man Without a Country”. He calls them psychopathic personalties (PP). Would you be interested in expanding on “understanding of the way we evolved”.

  5. Sure. For the first two million years of our evolution from homo erectus to homo sapiens, and until about ten thousand years ago, we lived in small groups as hunter-gatherers. We spent most of our evolutionary time in learning to function effectively in egalitarian groups, where everybody did everything – there was no specialization because if you didn’t collect food in some way, you didn’t eat. In that environment we learned the we-ness of our group – less than 100 people – and the otherness of everyone else. That set the stage for the neolithic paradigm, which, with agriculture and domestication of animals, allowed for much larger groups to exist together, and because there was food production in excess of immediate needs, specialization could occur. It is thought that there had always been beliefs in gods; with specialization, a priestly caste could develop, which refined beliefs and developed religions to justify their support by the productive castes. Widespread trade developed. Inevitably, it seems, the adherents of different gods objected to the beliefs and practices of others they encountered. Added to this were the objectives of the ruling castes to increase their span of influence and ownership of land. The priests and the rulers connived to use the productive castes to battle the productive castes of other priests and rulers; soon another non-productive caste evolved – full-time warriors. We are now up to historical times (that is, times which recorded their version of events in writing) and the rest, as they say, is history.
    This is Anthropology 101 in a couple of paragraphs, and obviously, grossly oversimplified. For an even simpler version, check out James Thurber’s story which begins and concludes: “…one girl, and one boy, and one flower .”

  6. Book title is The Last Flower, by James Thurber.

    Just read the passages from Kurt’s last book. Bog help us all.

  7. Nautilus3, I appreciate you taking the time to explain the above and provide book reference. Yes, I’ll pick up Kurt’s last book as well. Funny, I didn’t take anthropology, philosophy, etc. I did my HBSc and took as many Arts courses in Economics so that I would have a minor and a good application for my Statistics degree — big mistake. Young & foolish and apparently I missed a lot of interesting stuff. OH well, I guess I have a bit of a start already (Holy Blood & Holy Grail, Freemasonry, etc. — Diana Gabaldon’s historical fiction ironically got me interested in non-fiction). So, I can start from here and overcome the lyrics I awoke to this morning “Life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone”.

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