Victoria Jelinek


Mother Night

indexWe are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. Kurt Vonnegut

I’ve been re reading Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle” and “Mother Night” to contend with the global absurdity of the world and the need for humour…just ordered his book “A Man Without Country,” which I’ve never read before…

As is expected with Vonnegut, “Mother Night” is an acute observation of the spectacle and hypocrisy of human behavior and society…it’s darkly humorous and irreverent.

A few quotes from “Mother Night” that I’ve found especially interesting/resonant:

“All people are insane,” he said. They will do anything at any time, and God help anybody who looks for reasons.”

“The people she saw as succeeding in a brave new world were, after all, being rewarded as specialists in slavery, destruction, and death. I don’t consider people who work in those fields successful.”

(Regarding how Armistice Day changed to Veteran’s Day in the USA) “oh, it’s just so damn cheap, so damn typical,” I said. “This used to be a day in honor of the dead of World War One, but the living couldn’t keep their grubby hands off of it, wanted the glory of the dead for themselves. So typical, so typical. Any time anything of real dignity appears in this country, it’s torn to shreds and thrown to the mob.”

“I had hoped, as a broadcaster, to be merely ludicrous, but this is a hard world to be ludicrous in, with so many human beings so reluctant to laugh, so incapable of thought, so eager to believe and snarl and hate.”

If there is another life after this one, I would like very much, in the next one, to be the sort of person of whom it could truly be said, “Forgive him – he knows not what he does.”
This cannot be said of me now.
The only advantage to me of knowing the difference between right and wrong, as nearly as I can tell, is that I can sometimes laugh when the Eichmanns can see nothing funny.


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