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(Letters of Note)   In 1973 Drake High School burned 32 copies of Slaughterhouse-Five in its furnace. Here is the letter Kurt Vonnegut wrote to their school board   (lettersofnote.com ) divider line
    More: Hero, Drake High School, Kurt Vonnegut, Lists of American writers, Purple Heart  
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38200 clicks; posted to Main » on 30 Mar 2012 at 1:09 PM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-03-30 06:32:30 PM  
crispyone


Most overrated writer in history and now sounds like a whiny-asz bich. Could he be any more but-hurt?

Jeez, I've sold millions of books and you burnt 32 of them!!!


I think you missed the point.


/why can't there be a "dumbass" button along with "smart" and "funny" ?
// just started re-reading "breakfast of champions" (first time was 3 or 4 years ago). Just a great as it was the first time. So was "Cat's Cradle".
but when I started re-reading "galapagos" I just couldn't. I ended up putting it down a couple of pages in. Which is weird, because that's one of the books that got me into Vonnegut in the first place.
 
2012-03-30 06:42:32 PM  

Private_Citizen: When Mr. Vonnegut passed, I realized I didn't own any of his books (I had always borrowed them from the Library). So I went out, bought a copy of Cat's Cradle and re-read it. Great book, by a great American.

/here's hoping future generations can find his work in the library - as I did.



Here's hoping future generations even HAVE libraries!
. . .or even BOOKS.

/digital's not remotely the same
 
2012-03-30 06:55:04 PM  

macadamnut: If you are an American, you must allow all ideas to circulate freely in your community, not merely your own.

Offer void where prohibited.


Stranger things have happened Mac:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Athens_(1946)

-Sofa
 
2012-03-30 07:05:19 PM  

tlchwi02: louiedog: handed her my copy of Jurassic Park and her first reaction after thumbing through it was glaring at me and telling me that I shouldn't be reading a book with so many naughty words

i had the same experience with the same book. teacher took it away from me in elementary school because it was inapropriate for me. my parents were livid when i got home and told them.


Was it the stuff about chaos theory? Or the wild animals running loose? Oh wait, it was because you were exhibiting too much independence and self-determination, which could lead to disobedience! The horror!

/nah just kidding, I'm sure they're just looking out for their.... i mean, your well-being
 
2012-03-30 07:20:09 PM  
One of my favorite websites.
 
2012-03-30 08:01:04 PM  
THAT is how you stomp somebody. Go sit down godwin. GO SIT DOWN
 
2012-03-30 08:24:33 PM  

Evil High Priest: rufus-t-firefly: Great_Milenko: crispyone: Most overrated writer in history

I'm sorry, did I stumble into a JK Rowling thread? Stephen King, perhaps?

Or are we talking about the committee of advertising copy writers who threw together The Hunger Games?

How the fark has no one mentioned Dan Brown?

/shallow and pedantic

Because everyone has completely forgotten about him?


Have you actually read The Hunger Games books? If you read the books and really think they were written by advertizing copy writers, then you missed the point. If you haven't read the books, you are guilty of the same assumptions as the book burner in TFA. I am not saying Suzanne Collins is as good as Vonnegut, but the Hunger Games trilogy makes a legitimate point and I am not sad that kids are reading them. Frankly, Collins is a better writer than Stephanie Meyers. For YA books, the HG is a good series.

/Not defending Dan Brown though
//Still, people are entitled to read just for fun (even trash).
 
2012-03-30 08:28:55 PM  

Endy_n_Omni: crispyone: Most overrated writer in history and now sounds like a whiny-asz bich. Could he be any more but-hurt?

Jeez, I've sold millions of books and you burnt 32 of them!!!

This coming from someone so eloquent and learned, I see.


My take is that it wasn't 32 different books, just 32 copies of the same book. That's probably was what really ticked him off. They made it personal.
 
2012-03-30 09:01:39 PM  
God, I miss Him.
 
2012-03-30 09:05:11 PM  

crispyone: Most overrated writer in history and now sounds like a whiny-asz bich. Could he be any more but-hurt?

Jeez, I've sold millions of books and you burnt 32 of them!!!


2 of 10

Thanks for playing!
 
2012-03-30 09:25:22 PM  
What Charles McCarthy probably looked like:

beautygirlsmom.com
 
2012-03-30 09:48:17 PM  

r0cj07p: What Charles McCarthy probably looked like:

[beautygirlsmom.com image 239x350]


Sure it wasn't one of these guys?
i651.photobucket.com

or a relative of

i651.photobucket.com
 
2012-03-30 10:30:20 PM  
And still today "course words" offend.

/fark
 
2012-03-30 10:32:08 PM  

lostcat
2012-03-30 01:27:23 PM
It always bothered me, as I was growing up, that other kids seemed to have quick answer to the question, "Who is your hero."

Most of the time it was a professional athlete, their father, or God.

It wasn't until I was well into my 20s that I discovered Vonnegut, and another 10 years passed before I learned enough about him as a person to truly appreciate him.

After over 30 years, I finally can come up with a quick answer to that question that always plagued me as a kid.

Kurt Vonnegut is a hero of mine.


My experience exactly.
I still have a Vonnegut section on my bookshelf, and occasionally re-read Deadeye Dick.
"What, incidentally is a pregnant mother of two doing operating a vacuum cleaner on Mother's Day? She was practically asking for a bullet between the eyes, wasn't she?"
 
2012-03-30 10:46:10 PM  

JackieRabbit: That Vonnegut would waste his time and energy on some podunk school board shows that he wasn't always thinking clearly.


I know! God, if only he could be as smart and busy as you and/or your favorite writers! Why waste your time with everyday people when you are so superior to them?!
 
2012-03-30 10:49:54 PM  

Eddie Adams from Torrance: Here's the letter I would have sent:

[i236.photobucket.com image 94x96]


lol, very nice
 
2012-03-30 11:04:43 PM  
Reading that gave me much joy.

/SO much better than James Joyce's letters
i237.photobucket.com
 
2012-03-30 11:55:37 PM  

batcookie: Reading that gave me much joy.

/SO much better than James Joyce's letters
[i237.photobucket.com image 600x417]


thanks for the google exercise

i got all the way through the first sentence before i started laughing
 
2012-03-31 01:50:35 AM  

medius: batcookie: Reading that gave me much joy.

/SO much better than James Joyce's letters
[i237.photobucket.com image 600x417]

thanks for the google exercise

i got all the way through the first sentence before i started laughing


If you keep reading, it gets to the point where it's not even funny anymore and you'll react exactly like Kate Beaton did in the comic.
 
2012-03-31 03:32:27 AM  

profplump: Vodka Zombie: I suppose it's easier to light a match than it is to explain to your children what various swear words mean.

No one needs to explain to children what curse words mean or how to use them. Children as young as 3-4 use curse words in exactly the contexts that adults do -- for emphasis, to express frustration, etc. They learn those words along with all the others that are a common part of spoken language.

The only thing children actually need explained to them is that they aren't allowed to use curse words, ostensibly because they are not well suited to determine when such language is acceptable.


LOL I heard a story on my local public radio station this morning wherein several kids, 3 to 6 years of age or so were being introduced to worms and other crawly things. One of the kids - a 6 year old who declared herself to the interviewer as "the leader" of the group exclaimed "holy crap" and commented in the size of one of the worms. I had to laugh, knowing what little tape recorders children can be.
 
2012-03-31 05:25:45 AM  
I'm still confused as to why they didn't take away my copy of 120 Days of Sodom in 10th grade. I mean I know they didn't keep a copy in the school library, it was my own copy, but you could tell by the picture on the cover that it could've caused controversy. Maybe they thought because it had 800 pages it couldn't be bad. I still remember reading it in study hall and being absolutely horrified at the situations and ideals presented within. I guess it got me ready for the internet.
 
2012-03-31 06:31:45 AM  

batcookie: you'll react exactly like Kate Beaton did in the comic


Is she masturbating with her other hand then?
 
2012-03-31 06:39:11 AM  

medius: batcookie: you'll react exactly like Kate Beaton did in the comic

Is she masturbating with her other hand then?


Probably. Seriously though, have you ever heard of anyone so turned on by flatulence as James Joyce? What the hell, man? That's a seriously weird fetish.
 
2012-03-31 06:47:20 AM  

batcookie: have you ever heard of anyone so turned on by flatulence as James Joyce?


I read that just as a fart was building up and I imagined JJ with that grin hovering over my bed.

There's a horror shudder.

Fun fact: The James Joyce was my favorite bar in Durham, NC.
 
2012-03-31 11:23:17 AM  

Tigger: Difficulty: Burning a book is itself legitimate political discourse. He isn't saying that the book burning should be banned - he's saying that he's an intellectually bankrupt sack of shiat who should consider why he feels the need to facefark everyone else with his idiocy.


Hmm... let's draw a careful distinction here.

Burning your own personal copy publicly: Making a statement. (Perhaps not the statement you intend, but it still makes a statement.)
Burning every copy the school owns to "protect the children" as part of an outright ban: Censorship and idiocy.
 
2012-03-31 11:39:47 AM  

louiedog: I still remember walking into the library in Jr. High and seeing the librarian sporting a huge grin as she eagerly read through a novel with a big black marker in her hand, gleefully crossing out the parts that she felt the children shouldn't read. I also remember being in fourth grade during a spelling contest when my teacher asked if anyone had a book with more difficult words for a bonus round to stump those of us who remained. I handed her my copy of Jurassic Park and her first reaction after thumbing through it was glaring at me and telling me that I shouldn't be reading a book with so many naughty words. Even as an adult in college I was on a bus and reading a book with a sex scene. The old man next to me who couldn't mind his own business decided to read over my shoulder and tell me that the book was wicked.

I was never in any real trouble in school. I never talked back to teachers or used any of that language. I don't even remember any specifics from my youth about that language that was so forbidden. I do, however, remember the times when an adult treated it as something dangerous and I couldn't understand why.


As someone who is a current Catholic school librarian, let me assure you that things have changed. (well, in my non-american school).
I have Vonnegut on the shelves. I have books on Banksey in the art section, I have The God Delusion, I have whatever I think will help students fill in the gaps in their education. I have whatever I think will get kids to pick up a book and read. I have Manga, I have Graphic Novels, I have Twilight (even though I would like to burn that), I have all sorts of books some great some complete shiate. I have books on contraception and even abortion because, while the church may teach it is wrong, it still exists and the kids need to have information in order to make up their own minds. I have books of photography which may include nudes (although the nudes often get removed from the books, this is not censorship, but is rather some form of collecting by a certain subset of our students (those owning a penis, at a guess)).

If the librarian in your local school does not give your kids a library like this, ask why. Don't bow down to faux morality and accept the burning of books nor even the removal of books. Make sure the kids you will share the world with (yours or not) have access to all the information they need. And, don't stop at books. If your local public library has a web filter, ask why. Do you really want a computer programme deciding that your librarian can't give you information on breast cancer because the filter sees the word breast or detects too much pink in the images on the site? If your school library doesn't have at least one unfiltered computer so the librarian can print off copies of things caught in error by the filter, ask why not.

And if the librarian is building a furnace or taking joy in blacking out words like fark or shiat (thanks FARK for being one of those who kowtow to censorship) then go to the people in power and demand freedom of information, society will be better for it.
 
2012-03-31 11:44:46 AM  

Urbn: The lesson we really need to learn here is to keep people named McCarthy away from positions of power


I'm sure all the McCarthys out there have nothing but respect for the people...

spatula-city.org

/rip kevin mccarthy
 
2012-03-31 12:04:16 PM  
Ok, confession time. Until this morning, I'd never ready any of Vonnegut's work. Yes, it's true. I admit it.

After reading the letter in TFA (which was damn cool - a literary 'Oh Snap!' if ever there was one) and the comments here, I wanted to see for myself what the big deal - or not so big deal - was.

I just got done reading two of his short stores - "Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow" and "2BR 0 2B".

Gotta say, I'm hooked and can't wait to move on to his meatier works.
 
2012-03-31 12:10:40 PM  

digitalrain: Ok, confession time. Until this morning, I'd never ready any of Vonnegut's work. Yes, it's true. I admit it.

After reading the letter in TFA (which was damn cool - a literary 'Oh Snap!' if ever there was one) and the comments here, I wanted to see for myself what the big deal - or not so big deal - was.

I just got done reading two of his short stores - "Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow" and "2BR 0 2B".

Gotta say, I'm hooked and can't wait to move on to his meatier works.


this one got me writing
 
2012-03-31 02:07:26 PM  

Vern: I'm still confused as to why they didn't take away my copy of 120 Days of Sodom in 10th grade. I mean I know they didn't keep a copy in the school library, it was my own copy, but you could tell by the picture on the cover that it could've caused controversy. Maybe they thought because it had 800 pages it couldn't be bad. I still remember reading it in study hall and being absolutely horrified at the situations and ideals presented within. I guess it got me ready for the internet.


The Marquis would have loved the Internet. It's a tragedy he didn't live to see it.
 
2012-03-31 04:25:50 PM  

ADHD Librarian: louiedog: I still remember walking into the library in Jr. High and seeing the librarian sporting a huge grin as she eagerly read through a novel with a big black marker in her hand, gleefully crossing out the parts that she felt the children shouldn't read. I also remember being in fourth grade during a spelling contest when my teacher asked if anyone had a book with more difficult words for a bonus round to stump those of us who remained. I handed her my copy of Jurassic Park and her first reaction after thumbing through it was glaring at me and telling me that I shouldn't be reading a book with so many naughty words. Even as an adult in college I was on a bus and reading a book with a sex scene. The old man next to me who couldn't mind his own business decided to read over my shoulder and tell me that the book was wicked.

I was never in any real trouble in school. I never talked back to teachers or used any of that language. I don't even remember any specifics from my youth about that language that was so forbidden. I do, however, remember the times when an adult treated it as something dangerous and I couldn't understand why.

As someone who is a current Catholic school librarian, let me assure you that things have changed. (well, in my non-american school).
I have Vonnegut on the shelves. I have books on Banksey in the art section, I have The God Delusion, I have whatever I think will help students fill in the gaps in their education. I have whatever I think will get kids to pick up a book and read. I have Manga, I have Graphic Novels, I have Twilight (even though I would like to burn that), I have all sorts of books some great some complete shiate. I have books on contraception and even abortion because, while the church may teach it is wrong, it still exists and the kids need to have information in order to make up their own minds. I have books of photography which may include nudes (although the nudes often get removed from the books, this is not censorship ...


Out of curiosity, do you work fo a Jesuit school? Though not Catholic myself, I grew up in a heavily Catholic area and found that the Jesuits, though strict by many standards, seemed actually be about giving kids a liberal education. This by definition included actually reading and making available books that didn't necessarly jive with the Churches teachings.
 
2012-04-01 12:45:22 AM  

RyansPrivates: Out of curiosity, do you work fo a Jesuit school? Though not Catholic myself, I grew up in a heavily Catholic area and found that the Jesuits, though strict by many standards, seemed actually be about giving kids a liberal education. This by definition included actually reading and making available books that didn't necessarly jive with the Churches teachings.


True, the Jesuits place a good deal of importance on depth and breadth of knowledge, but in my case the school was founded by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. Perhaps a 19th century version of red letter Christians (for wont of a better description). Although, these days there are very few ordained staff (in fact not all are even Christian, let alone Catholic). However the overarching ethos is still the MSC charism "...love and kindness, humility and simplicity; but above all, it is a spirit of love for justice and concern for the welfare of all, specially the poorest ones."

Which (it seems to me) is a damned fine ethos for a school regardless of where you stand on religion in society.
 
2012-04-01 11:24:28 PM  

ADHD Librarian: RyansPrivates: Out of curiosity, do you work fo a Jesuit school? Though not Catholic myself, I grew up in a heavily Catholic area and found that the Jesuits, though strict by many standards, seemed actually be about giving kids a liberal education. This by definition included actually reading and making available books that didn't necessarly jive with the Churches teachings.

True, the Jesuits place a good deal of importance on depth and breadth of knowledge, but in my case the school was founded by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. Perhaps a 19th century version of red letter Christians (for wont of a better description). Although, these days there are very few ordained staff (in fact not all are even Christian, let alone Catholic). However the overarching ethos is still the MSC charism "...love and kindness, humility and simplicity; but above all, it is a spirit of love for justice and concern for the welfare of all, specially the poorest ones."

Which (it seems to me) is a damned fine ethos for a school regardless of where you stand on religion in society.


Thank you for indulging me....sounds like a good institution.
 
2012-04-02 07:29:56 AM  

ISO15693: mitchcumstein1: I would almost consider it an honor to be eviscerated like that by a writer who was as good as Vonnegut.

I got yelled at by Harlan Ellison for biking my nails - does that count?


Being yelled at by Harlan Ellison just makes you not Harlan Ellison.
 
2012-04-02 12:28:26 PM  

Xenomech: Being yelled at by Harlan Ellison just makes you not Harlan Ellison.


I'll bet that on occasion, when no one else is around, Harlan yells at Harlan just to stay sharp.
 
2012-04-02 05:49:48 PM  

docmattic: Xenomech: Being yelled at by Harlan Ellison just makes you not Harlan Ellison.

I'll bet that on occasion, when no one else is around, Harlan yells at Harlan just to stay sharp.


Actually, I spent an hour on the phone with Harlan about a year ago and he didn't yell once.
 
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