Thursday, October 21, 2010

Purveyors of Synthetic Sunshine

This week, thanks to many hours spent in local coffee shops and on my sofa, I have almost caught up on my New Yorkers (a nearly impossible feat!) and read God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, by the late, great Kurt Vonnegut. It was one of his I'd never read but had ridiculously high expectations of, going in. And God bless you, Mr. Vonnegut! You did not let me down.

I started reading it last Saturday, and had it sitting in front of me while I was talking to my new boss. He picked it up, looked at me, and said, "So, you're in school?"

"Nope," I said. "Just reading. You know, for fun."

"Ahh, you're one of those."

Yes, yes I am. 

I will now take Mr. Vonnegut's genius completely out of context for your enjoyment, and I promise, it will still be be completely genius and wonderful. For instance (and yes, the emphasis on his glorious words is mine):

"In Milford, Eliot told the writers that he wished they would learn more about sex and economics and style ... And it occurred to him that a really good science-fiction book had never been written about money. 'Just think of the wild ways money is passed around on Earth!' he said. 'You don't have to go to the Planet Tralfamadore in Anti-Matter Galaxy 508 G to find weird creatures with unbelievable powers. Look at the powers of an Earthling millionaire! Look at me! I was born naked, just like you, but my God, friends and neighbors, I have thousands of dollars a day to spend!' He paused to make a very impressive demonstration of his magical powers, writing a smeary check for two hundred dollars for every person there. 'There's fantasy for you,' he said."

And then of course, we can't forget Eliot's father, Senator Rosewater, who says in his "fairly famous speech on the Golden Age of Rome":

"And what did the terrible, black-spirited, non-fun-loving conservatives of those happy days have to say? Well, there weren't many of them left. They were dying off in ridiculed age. And their children had been turned against them by the liberals, by the purveyors of synthetic sunshine and moonshine, by the something for nothing political strip-teasers, by the people who loved everybody, including the barbarians, by people who loved the barbarians so much they wanted to open all the gates, have all the soldiers lay down their weapons down, and let the barbarians come in!"
So, if you don't have the guts or desire to be a purveyor of synthetic sunshine and moonshine, if you don't want to put your weapons down and let the barbarians come in, at least remember Eliot Rosewater's one rule: "God damn it, you've got to be kind."

And god damn it, go read some Kurt Vonnegut. Raise your tennis rackets like magic wands, like Eliot, and tell the babies, "Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter."

1 comment:

  1. I've just downloaded iStripper, and now I enjoy having the sexiest virtual strippers getting naked on my taskbar.