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‘An ABZ of Love’: Kurt Vonnegut’s vintage go-to guide on sex and sexuality


The great Kurt Vonnegut.
 

“An erect penis has no resemblance to the kind that they have seen on statues in parks or on small boys paddling the seashore.”

—Authors of An ABZ of Love, Sten and Inge Hegeler on what it is like seeing a penis for the first time.

 
Inge and Sten Hegeler were a bit like the Danish version of Masters and Johnson, the transformative American research team that revolutionized human sexuality. Hegeler was a psychologist and author who specialized in sexology. In 1948 Hegeler published the book Hvordan, Mor? ( How, Mother?) which was considered one of the first books of its kind to detail such direct, honest advice on how to provide sexual education to kindergarten-aged children. After getting his own psychology practice up and running he and Inge would go on to publish a few other notable books including one that Kurt Vonnegut kept on his own library shelf, An ABZ of Love.

Vonnegut was so taken with the publication that he wrote a letter to his wife letting her know where she could “find” the book in his library. The book itself, which was self-published by the pair in 1962, was exhaustive when it came to its range of information. And I mean they covered everything including topics that were (and are still by some) considered taboo which made ABZ a rather boundary-smashing publication that voiced a clear, positive opinion about equality and its relation to gender, color or one’s sexual identity. They were also fond of using proper words such as “cock,” “pussy” and “fuck” to describe specific actions or attributes within the book’s nearly 300 pages. No wonder Vonnegut adored it enough to write his wife a love-letter of sorts about it. In fact, here’s a short epigrammatic passage from ABZ that sounds a whole lot like Vonnegut wrote the advice himself.

So there are two paths we can take: one is try to deny and suppress our emotions and force ourselves to think sensibly. In this way we run the risk of fooling ourselves.

Hi ho. At this point, it seems pretty clear to me that everyone should own a copy of An ABZ of Love. It is also quite possible that there are many among us that could use a little refresher course on the ins and outs of what we all think about every single day, sex, as it just doesn’t come in one flavor. You know like vanilla? I’ve included many illustrations by Krag from the vintage book, which has been published in fifteen different countries, along with their often amusing captions below. Many are NSFW.
 

Text reads: “It is possible to be lonely in a group, too.”
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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04.10.2017
07:14 am
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Classic Penguin sci-fi covers from the 1970s by David Pelham


Night of Light by Philip José Farmer
 
David Pelham was art director for Penguin Books during the 1970s and was responsible for a great many arresting and distinctive covers for many of the sci-fi novels Penguin put out during that time, which is one of the great periods for sci-fi writing in general. Many of the images on this page come from a series that came out in 1972-73 that used (as Penguin often did and still does) visual cues to signal that books belong together. In this case the series had in common white text and a black background, bold use of primary colors and a strong horizon line that in some cases (Sirius, A Cure for Cancer) is cleverly adapted for a slightly different purpose.

Pelham did many Penguin covers for works by J.G. Ballard and was in close contact with the author in the process of creating them. Ballard actually named a character in “The Reptile Enclosure” after Pelham. After one meeting during which they had looked over Pelham’s mockups for a series of Ballard covers, Pelham scribbled some notes that were obviously based on Ballard’s comments, and they make for a resonant and Ballardian piece of poetry: “monumental / tombstones / airless thermonuclear landscape / horizons / a zone devoid of time.”

Pelham’s most famous cover was for Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, and fascinatingly enough, Pelham himself doesn’t think much of it:
 

When I was Art Director of Penguin Books I had to create this image in one night. We planned to bring out a film tie-in of Burgess’s wonderful book to coincide with the release of the movie, and we obviously urgently needed a strong cover image that related to the film. When Stanley Kubrick unaccountably refused to supply us with promotional press shots I immediately commissioned a well-known illustrator to help out. The result was not only unacceptable but it was also inexcusably late, so we were horribly out of time. Having already attended a press screening of Kubrick’s film I had a very clear image in my mind’s eye as to how the cover should look and so, collecting up a few supplies from the art department, I sped home to my Highgate flat to create the cover myself. I remember a motorcycle messenger arriving at 4.30am to deliver the ‘repro’—that is the typography—for the paste up. This of course was a long time before the age of computers, and everything was done with ink, glue and ‘repro’, which had to be painstakingly stuck in place on a base board. Another messenger arrived at 7am to whisk the artwork off to the printer. Consequently I had not had time to properly scrutinize the image, to make the small adjustments and refinements that I still believe it needed. So now, every time I see that image, all I see are the mistakes. But then, maybe it’s those unfinished rough edges that contribute to its appeal. Who knows?

 
In 1996 Eye Magazine wrote that Pelham’s covers “dignify the books with symbolic images that help to convey the conceptual sophistication of the writing inside.” For more of Pelham’s covers as well as many striking Penguin covers by other artists, check out the well-curated website Penguin Science Fiction.
 

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
 

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
 
Many more of Pelham’s spectacular sci-fi creations after the jump…..

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
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08.19.2016
02:34 am
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Join The Coffee Achievers: David Bowie, Heart & Kurt Vonnegut pimp the caffeine lifestyle, 1984
07.13.2015
09:57 am
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Instant? Ziggy, you surprise me.
 
Whenever some foodie gets snooty about Starbucks, it’s helpful to keep some historical perspective. Before the mass coffee chain invaded every strip mall in suburbia (plus half the truckstops in bumfuck), you were likely purchasing disgusting grocery store mud on your way to work. So yes, Starbucks is a homogenizing blight of cut-throat capitalist banality, but it has raised coffee standards for your average American, who otherwise would still be choking down Folgers.

Apparently during the early 80s young people stopped drinking coffee entirely. Soda was tastier and it didn’t make you feel like an old man punching in for his day at the mill. Okay, I just made that up, but still coffee had yet to hook the MTV generation!

In 1984, The National Coffee Association launched a campaign called “The Coffee Achievers”—trying sell coffee as young and hip. It’s not exactly clear who was a spokesperson for the ad, and who was just pasted in without their consent. I find it somewhat unlikely that NFL quarterback Ken Anderson, Jane Curtain or David fucking Bowie knew that footage of them was being used to promote coffee, but it looks like Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart were enthusiastically on board, literally; note the coffee mug being set down right on the expensive mixing board. Cicely Tyson was obviously a willing participant—and you will note that coffee makes her want to hit someone—but Kurt Vonnegut? Looks like it. The ELO soundtrack isn’t half bad, but I’m willing to bet Starbucks and the exporting of Seattle’s grunge culture did more for youth coffee consumption than the oh-so-hip Jeff Lynne.
 

Posted by Amber Frost
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07.13.2015
09:57 am
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Kurt Vonnegut’s letter to high school students: ‘Pretend you’re Count Dracula!’
10.06.2014
08:33 am
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Years ago when I was a producer in television,  I recall that there were many discussions on how broadcasters could encourage younger viewers to have brand loyalty with a particular channel. The proposed idea was that if a broadcaster could successfully capture (strange choice of word, I know) a young audience then they were building the consumers of their future output. A rather obvious idea but one that appeared to work—well, at least for me, as I still look with particularly fondness on those shows that illuminated my childhood, and by association the broadcaster. The holy grail here was considered to be quality returnable series and quirky presenters with whom the young ‘uns could identify and grow up with.

I have been told publishers have similar discussions on inculcating brand loyalty through their authors. So you would think, therefore, that when a group of teenagers were set a project by their school teacher encouraging them to write a letter to their favorite author, that these chosen writers would leap at the chance to win over their future readers. Well apparently not, as one class of pupils at Xavier High School in New York found out in 2006, when their teacher (Ms. Lockwood) set this task, and letters were sent out to a variety of authors, with only one writer taking the time to reply.

Perhaps it will come as no surprise that it was the great pessimistic humanist Kurt Vonnegut who was the only author to write back. Who the others were, I don’t know, but I wonder if they’re still popular with readers at Xavier High? Anyway, Vonnegut took the time to read the letter, which asked requested that he make a personal appearance at Xavier. Vonnegut was then 84, “an old geezer” as he called himself, and demurred visiting the school. However, he did offer the five students and their teacher some fine advice on how best to experience life and to grow their souls. It’s a beautiful letter, giving some of the most inspiring advice any high school student could ask for.

November 5, 2006

Dear Xavier High School, and Ms. Lockwood, and Messrs Perin, McFeely, Batten, Maurer and Congiusta:

I thank you for your friendly letters. You sure know how to cheer up a really old geezer (84) in his sunset years. I don’t make public appearances any more because I now resemble nothing so much as an iguana.

What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.

Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.

Here’s an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don’t do it: Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?

Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash receptacles. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.

God bless you all!

Kurt Vonnegut

 
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In 2014, Dogtooth Films made a short film based on Kurt Vonnegut’s letter, using pupils from Hove Park School.
 

 
Via Letters of Note

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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10.06.2014
08:33 am
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The Kurt Vonnegut/Alice Cooper Mutual Admiration Society
06.02.2014
11:42 am
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On December 7, 1973 Alice Cooper had the opportunity to meet one of his personal idols and favorite author, Kurt Vonnegut, at a party on the eve of the Billion Dollar Babies/Muscle of Love  holiday tour. During this hectic but successful period in his career, Alice partied like, well, a rock star, and hung out with unexpected celebrities like Liza Minnelli and Ronnie Spector, who both sang back-up on his group’s Muscle of Love album, not to mention Chubby Checker, Elvis Presley and porn star Linda Lovelace. That’s not even counting his hard-drinking “Hollywood Vampires” crew from the Rainbow Bar, which included Keith Moon (“Keith was like a battery that never ran out. It got to the stage with Keith where I’d hear he was in town and hide somewhere because I couldn’t face another bender.”), John Lennon, Micky Dolenz from The Monkees, Harry Nilsson, and Ringo Starr.

That night Vonnegut promised Alice a signed copy of his new book, Breakfast of Champions and Alice was thrilled when the promise was actually fulfilled. He said:

When you meet famous people, they always say they’ll send you stuff and they never do. But Vonnegut sent the stuff down and I was so thrilled. I sent him all our albums and T-shirts and posters. I’m a Vonnegut fan forever.

Alice always named Vonnegut as his favorite author, listing him as such in the tour program for his 1977 Lace and Whiskey tour. It’s not surprising that he enjoyed Vonnegut’s similarly dark humor. In particular he loved Vonnegut’s masterpiece Slaughterhouse-Five, still citing it as his “desert island book” on BBC 4’s Desert Island Discs in 2010. It was reported in the mid-‘70s that he was up for the role of Bunny Hoover, a gay lounge piano player at an Indianapolis Holiday Inn he described as “the kind of guy you hate the minute you see him,” in Robert Altman’s movie adaptation of the book, presumably with Vonnegut’s approval. While that would have been truly awesome, the project fell through. The movie wasn’t made for another twenty-six years, and then it was without Alice and Altman (and some would argue, Vonnegut!)

When asked by The Quietus about his recurring character “Steven,” Alice mentioned Vonnegut’s influence:

I used to read a lot of Kurt Vonnegut and when I’d read all the Vonnegut books I realized there was a character [Kilgore Trout] that always ran through the books. He was sort of this character that just kept showing up. For no apparent reason and no apparent connection to the story. And I kind of liked that. So Steven, he’s a mystery to me too but I like throwing him in. I like throwing Steven in whenever I can so that when people go “Where is Steven?” I can say “He’s right there.” He’s kind of like a spirit, an Alice Cooper spirit.

The new film Super Duper Alice Cooper is released tomorrow on DVD and Blu-ray by Eagle Rock Entertainment. Expect a review here in the coming days.

Pre-sobriety Alice on Finnish TV, 1973, below:
 

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright
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06.02.2014
11:42 am
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Kurt Vonnegut interviewed by Jon Stewart in one of his last major TV appearances
05.06.2014
06:15 pm
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Over the weekend, I re-read Loree Rackstraw’s tender memoir Love as Always, Kurt: Vonnegut as I Knew Him. I’ve mentioned the book on this blog a few times, it’s an absolutely charming read and certainly a book that will be seen, in time, to be one of the most important works that has been, or will ever be written about the great novelist. The reason for this is simple: None of the rest of Vonnegut’s biographers have slept with him and none of them knew the man for 40 years

For now though, the book is unfairly unknown except by the most hardcore Vonnegut fans (you can buy it for a penny on Amazon). Rackstraw met Vonnegut in 1965. She was a divorced single mother and second year student and he was a married writer teaching at the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop MFA program. Slaughterhouse-Five was still a few years away from publication, although his star had been rising for some time. They had an affair that turned into a lifelong friendship and Rackstraw’s book contains significant excerpts from Vonnegut’s deeply tender (and funny) letters covering the four decades of their relationship. “I realized I possessed quite a remarkable chronological story of his life,” Rackstraw said. “We were very close. It was a friendship unlike any I’ve had with anyone.”

Seriously, if you’re at all interested in what Kurt Vonnegut was like as a person, Love as Always, Kurt: Vonnegut as I Knew Him is a book you’ll want to pick up. I’m happy to plug it on DM again.

But as I got to the book’s final pages, I noticed something interesting and that was a mention of one of Vonnegut’s last major television appearances, on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in 2005. Vonnegut was then 82 and promoting his then recent book, A Man Without a Country. Although the effects of advancing age are apparent on his body as he walks slowly to his chair, his mind was still quite sharp as he sits down to offer his wisdom on the topic of evolution. The great writer then proceeds to give George Bush a rather spectacular back-handed compliment…

Wunderbar stuff, but with these two meeting face to face, what else could it have been? After Vonnegut absolutely excoriates Donald Rumsfeld, Stewart quips “I’m very sorry to see you’ve lost your edge.”
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.06.2014
06:15 pm
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The seldom-seen squiggles of Kurt Vonnegut
04.22.2014
10:22 am
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Kurt Vonnegut
“Untitled,” 1985
 
Anyone with any familiarity with Kurt Vonnegut’s literary output probably knows that the man liked to doodle. His whimsical self-portrait, the one that emphasized his mustache, is very familiar, making an appearance in his 1973 masterpiece Breakfast of Champions and many other places. Breakfast of Champions, of course, featured all manner of little drawings as a non-textual means of furthering the story.

Next month a handsome coffee table book, Kurt Vonnegut Drawings, from the Monacelli Press, featuring hitherto unavailable artworks, will go on sale (the list price is $40, but you can pre-order it for $25.40). The book will feature 145 selections of his work.
 
Kurt Vonnegut
 
Vonnegut was a fervent believer in the importance of art as a means of enhancing everyday life, and these interesting drawings are the proof. He used pen and (quite clearly) magic marker for these artworks. They remind me most of all of Joan Miró (esp. the Janus-like piece from 1987) and Saul Steinberg (esp. the one with the wavy hair from the same year).
 
Kurt Vonnegut
“Untitled,” no date
 
Kurt Vonnegut
“Untitled,” no date
 
Kurt Vonnegut
“Untitled,” 1980
 
Kurt Vonnegut
“Self-Portrait,” 1985
 
More of Vonnegut’s amusing art after the jump…..

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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04.22.2014
10:22 am
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Bad news: Kurt Vonnegut’s bleak advice to humankind in 2088
03.26.2014
05:57 pm
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When Kurt Vonnegut died in 2007, I recall reading about his passing and being quite depressed at the thought of a world without him in it. I read all of his books when I was a kid—some of them several times over—and like many of my generation (and the one above it) I very much internalized Kurt Vonnegut’s notoriously pessimistic, but ultimately kind-hearted view of mankind. I can also say, without hesitation, that his way of looking at the absurdities of life made a lot more sense to me than the religion that my parents tried to stuff down my throat at that age.

His was one of the most important moral—and comic—voices of 20th century American literature. Who else besides Kurt Vonnegut could be considered in the same league as say, Mark Twain?

When he died a great voice was silenced, but from time to time, something unanthologized or a previously unseen letter will surface (Love as Always, Kurt: Vonnegut as I Knew Him by Loree Rackstraw, a woman he’d once had an affair with and stayed friends with, is a terrific, if little-known, intimate portrait of the man, including many of his letters). Recently Letters of Note uncovered Vonnegut’s contribution to a Volkswagen ad campaign that ran in TIME magazine in 1988. The campaign asked notable people to write letters to those living 100 years in the future:

Ladies & Gentlemen of A.D. 2088:

It has been suggested that you might welcome words of wisdom from the past, and that several of us in the twentieth century should send you some. Do you know this advice from Polonius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet: ‘This above all: to thine own self be true’? Or what about these instructions from St. John the Divine: ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment has come’? The best advice from my own era for you or for just about anybody anytime, I guess, is a prayer first used by alcoholics who hoped to never take a drink again: ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.’

Our century hasn’t been as free with words of wisdom as some others, I think, because we were the first to get reliable information about the human situation: how many of us there were, how much food we could raise or gather, how fast we were reproducing, what made us sick, what made us die, how much damage we were doing to the air and water and topsoil on which most life forms depended, how violent and heartless nature can be, and on and on. Who could wax wise with so much bad news pouring in?

For me, the most paralyzing news was that Nature was no conservationist. It needed no help from us in taking the planet apart and putting it back together some different way, not necessarily improving it from the viewpoint of living things. It set fire to forests with lightning bolts. It paved vast tracts of arable land with lava, which could no more support life than big-city parking lots. It had in the past sent glaciers down from the North Pole to grind up major portions of Asia, Europe, and North America. Nor was there any reason to think that it wouldn’t do that again someday. At this very moment it is turning African farms to deserts, and can be expected to heave up tidal waves or shower down white-hot boulders from outer space at any time. It has not only exterminated exquisitely evolved species in a twinkling, but drained oceans and drowned continents as well. If people think Nature is their friend, then they sure don’t need an enemy.

Yes, and as you people a hundred years from now must know full well, and as your grandchildren will know even better: Nature is ruthless when it comes to matching the quantity of life in any given place at any given time to the quantity of nourishment available. So what have you and Nature done about overpopulation? Back here in 1988, we were seeing ourselves as a new sort of glacier, warm-blooded and clever, unstoppable, about to gobble up everything and then make love—and then double in size again.

On second thought, I am not sure I could bear to hear what you and Nature may have done about too many people for too small a food supply.

And here is a crazy idea I would like to try on you: Is it possible that we aimed rockets with hydrogen bomb warheads at each other, all set to go, in order to take our minds off the deeper problem—how cruelly Nature can be expected to treat us, Nature being Nature, in the by-and-by?

Now that we can discuss the mess we are in with some precision, I hope you have stopped choosing abysmally ignorant optimists for positions of leadership. They were useful only so long as nobody had a clue as to what was really going on—during the past seven million years or so. In my time they have been catastrophic as heads of sophisticated institutions with real work to do.

The sort of leaders we need now are not those who promise ultimate victory over Nature through perseverance in living as we do right now, but those with the courage and intelligence to present to the world what appears to be Nature’s stern but reasonable surrender terms:

Reduce and stabilize your population.

Stop poisoning the air, the water, and the topsoil.

Stop preparing for war and start dealing with your real problems.

Teach your kids, and yourselves, too, while you’re at it, how to inhabit a small planet without helping to kill it.

Stop thinking science can fix anything if you give it a trillion dollars.

Stop thinking your grandchildren will be OK no matter how wasteful or destructive you may be, since they can go to a nice new planet on a spaceship. That is really mean, and stupid.

And so on. Or else.

Am I too pessimistic about life a hundred years from now? Maybe I have spent too much time with scientists and not enough time with speechwriters for politicians. For all I know, even bag ladies and bag gentlemen will have their own personal helicopters or rocket belts in A.D. 2088. Nobody will have to leave home to go to work or school, or even stop watching television. Everybody will sit around all day punching the keys of computer terminals connected to everything there is, and sip orange drink through straws like the astronauts.

Cheers,

Kurt Vonnegut

A perfect prose diamond, right?

I can think of no better coda to this bleak epistle than this clip of Alan Weissman, author of Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?, a new book about the disturbing mathematical trajectory of the overpopulation problem on Real Time with Bill Maher earlier this month… Have a nice day!
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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03.26.2014
05:57 pm
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Slaughterhouse-Five: 22-year-old POW Kurt Vonnegut writes home about the War

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Kurt Vonnegut was a 22-year-old Private serving in the U.S. Army, when he was captured at the Battle of the Bulge, in December 1944. Together with his fellow POWs, Vonnegut was marched to a work camp in Dresden, named “Slaughterhouse Five.” In this letter details these events and the infamous bombing in February 1945, that was to inspire his best-selling novel.

FROM:

Pfc. K. Vonnegut, Jr.,
12102964 U. S. Army.

TO:

Kurt Vonnegut,
Williams Creek,
Indianapolis, Indiana.

Dear people:

I’m told that you were probably never informed that I was anything other than “missing in action.” Chances are that you also failed to receive any of the letters I wrote from Germany. That leaves me a lot of explaining to do—in precis:

I’ve been a prisoner of war since December 19th, 1944, when our division was cut to ribbons by Hitler’s last desperate thrust through Luxemburg and Belgium. Seven Fanatical Panzer Divisions hit us and cut us off from the rest of Hodges’ First Army. The other American Divisions on our flanks managed to pull out: We were obliged to stay and fight. Bayonets aren’t much good against tanks: Our ammunition, food and medical supplies gave out and our casualties out-numbered those who could still fight - so we gave up. The 106th got a Presidential Citation and some British Decoration from Montgomery for it, I’m told, but I’ll be damned if it was worth it. I was one of the few who weren’t wounded. For that much thank God.

Well, the supermen marched us, without food, water or sleep to Limberg, a distance of about sixty miles, I think, where we were loaded and locked up, sixty men to each small, unventilated, unheated box car. There were no sanitary accommodations—the floors were covered with fresh cow dung. There wasn’t room for all of us to lie down. Half slept while the other half stood. We spent several days, including Christmas, on that Limberg siding. On Christmas eve the Royal Air Force bombed and strafed our unmarked train. They killed about one-hundred-and-fifty of us. We got a little water Christmas Day and moved slowly across Germany to a large P.O.W. Camp in Muhlburg, South of Berlin. We were released from the box cars on New Year’s Day. The Germans herded us through scalding delousing showers. Many men died from shock in the showers after ten days of starvation, thirst and exposure. But I didn’t….

 
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Via Letters of Note
 
The rest of Vonnegut’s letter home, after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.15.2013
07:40 pm
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Chuck Colson tribute: From the White House to the big house, Jesus and anti-gay bigotry

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Former Special Counsel to Richard Nixon and the first from his administration to become a Watergate jailbird, influential Christian leader and anti-gay activist Chuck Colson remains hospitalized in critical condition after suffering a brain hemorrhage last week. In Colson’s honor, Joe.My.God. reminds us of the ridiculous Born Again Christian comic based on Colson’s evangelical memoir of the same title.

Quoting from Gamma Cloud:

Published by Spire Christian Comics in 1978, Born Again is the sugar-coated, “feel good” story of Chuck Colson’s suffering and redemption.  It’s a relatively typical tale in some respects, as Colson professes that he was converted to Evangelical Christianity through the help of his friend Thomas Phillips who had himself been “saved” some time earlier.  Phillips provides Colson with a copy of the C.S. Lewis book Mere Christianity and Colson subsequently immerses himself in the text, learning all kinds of Jesusy insight. (Incidentally, despite the fact that he apparently needed “saving,” Colson effectively maintains that he was basically law-abiding – and apparently naïve and blissfully oblivious of the wrongdoing and unethical behavior swirling around him – throughout all of his work with the Nixon administration and CREEP.) While serving time in a Federal prison for convictions related to the Watergate scandal, Colson shares his enlightenment with other inmates and he ultimately decides to start a ministry and devote his life to spreading the word far and wide.

Well…I guess some of that story is true.

The fact of the matter is that Chuck Colson: Born Again is nothing short of a grand and glorious collection of obfuscation and half-truths.  Colson’s yarn portrays the man himself as an pious martyr acting in service of a naively innocent Richard Nixon.  In one of the more laughable parts of the story, it’s inferred that John Ehrlichman learned of the Watergate break-in while watching the evening news.  Indeed, the entire question of wrongdoing and guilt is effectively marginalized through the omnipresent argument that Richard Nixon’s coterie of henchmen acted under the Nietzschean principal that “what is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil.”  With respect to this particular version of the Watgergate story, it’s basically unclear as to whether the “love” that spurred Nixon and co. to action was an unfettered and dogmatic love of country or a just good old-fashioned lust for power, influence and control.

As soon as I saw the cover, I recalled leafing through this silliness at my parents’ church in the late 70s. At the time, I was reading Kurt Vonnegut’s then new Jailbird and if you know what that’s about, you’ll laugh at the thought of picking up Chuck Colson: Born Again at the same time.

In 2008, George Bush gave this asshole the Presidential Citizens Medal.
 
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Posted by Richard Metzger
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04.11.2012
04:31 pm
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Kurt Vonnegut: The bombing of Dresden and the creation of ‘Slaughterhouse 5’

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It took Kurt Vonnegut more than twenty years to turn his experience of surviving the allied bombing of Dresden during World War II, into his novel Slaughterhouse Five. In this short interview with James Naughtie, Vonnegut recalls the horror of Dresden and how it shaped his vision of the world and led to the creation of his most famous work.

“A writer is lucky to be able to treat his or her neuroses everyday. We’re here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is. And teh Arts are one way to help people get through this thing. the function of any work of Art, successful work of Art is to say to a certain segment of the population, ‘You are not alone. Others feel as you do.’ We must have kids now, you know, saying the world is crazy - and indeed, it is.”

Recorded for the BBC’s This Week series in 2005, to mark the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Dresden.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Creative Writing 101 with Kurt Vonnegut


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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03.11.2012
08:56 pm
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Classic Covers: Fabulous dust jacket facsimiles to novels by Vonnegut, Woolf, Kerouac and more

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Over at Facsimile Dust Jackets you can find (and purchase) an incredible selection of scans of dust jackets from classic novels by Kurt Vonnegut, Philip K Dick, Doris Lessing, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Christopher Isherwood, Norman Mailer, Jack Kerouac, Henry Miller, Agatha Christie, Aleister Crowley, Dennis Wheatley, Robert Bloch, Len Deighton and many, many more. Have a look for yourself here.
 
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More fab facsimile dust jackets, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.02.2011
05:32 pm
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Creative Writing 101 with Kurt Vonnegut
05.03.2011
08:31 pm
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Short, wry lecture by Kurt Vonnegut on the “simple shapes of stories.”
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.03.2011
08:31 pm
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Kurt Vonnegut: Christianity vs. Socialism
04.04.2011
01:39 pm
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The great Kurt Vonnegut compares and contrasts Christianity with Socialism in this pointed excerpt from the audio book of his A Man Without A Country collection of non-fiction essays.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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04.04.2011
01:39 pm
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Virtually Kurt Vonnegut
02.09.2011
05:07 pm
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I’ve been re-reading Kurt Vonnegut recently, which has been a blast, and led me back to this peach of an interview Mr. Vonnegut gave shortly before his death. Listening to it now only makes the great man all the more missed.

In August 2006, the national, weekly public radio program, The Infinite Mind, made broadcast history as it aired a four-part special taped inside the 3-D virtual on-line community Second Life. Among those interviewed in front of a live, virtual audience was author Kurt Vonnegut. The 40-minute conversation with Vonnegut was the author’s last face-to-face, sit-down interview. The host was The Infinite Mind‘s John Hockenberry, who was with Vonnegut in the studio where the program was created. This is a machinima video of Vonnegut’s interview, taped at the 16-acre virtual broadcast center in Second Life built by Lichtenstein Creative Media, which produces The Infinite Mind.

 
Previously on DM

Portrait of the Artist as Young Man: Unpublished Kurt Vonnegut Short Stories


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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02.09.2011
05:07 pm
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