Kurt Vonnegut defends his son's refusal to fight in Vietnam
I’ve been a solid fan of Kurt Vonnegut for five decades. In an early book of his he develops the story around a space ship pilot sent to Earth with the knowledge to save ourselves from ourselves. A failure in the warp drive forced an emergency landing in a field near a farmhouse. His communication with humans was limited to farting and tap dancing. (Think Joe’s stuttering) When he reached the door of the farmhouse, delighted to sense the approaching occupant, the farmer appears with his shotgun and dispatches the space person. Words like aggression, snap judgements, and “otherism” spring to mind.
Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five” I consider his best antiwar book. Most powerful his description of the needless firebombing of Dresden, Germany, and the deaths of thousands, rivaling Hiroshima, possibly more. Vonnegut employs a great portrayal of bombers passing over ravaged areas, reversing the actual sequence of events: the fire and destruction is gathered into bomb casings which are sucked up and stored on board. The bombers return the bombs to points of origin where the bombs are disassembled and their contents re-buried for disposal purposes. Without celebratory fanfare, flags, or parades. I call that a slam dunk on wars.
Oh. That could pose a setback to the Military-Industrial Complex that Ike Eisenhower warned about...
In college we said, “What if education had all the money they need for first rate education, and the Air Force had to hold bake sales to build a new bomber.”
Thank you for printing this letter. It is so appropriate and appreciated especially in these times...or one could probably say in any time. War, somewhere in the world, always seems to be ongoing. And, as a very sad note, the Substack writer, Gabe Hudson, who had a podcast, Kurt Vonnegut Radio, named because he thought so much of him, died last week 11/24 from suicide.
Just found this from wikipedia. "During the Vietnam War, he (Mark)filed an application with the draft board to be considered a conscientious objector, which was denied. After taking the psychological examination, he was given a psychiatric 4-F classification and avoided conscription into the U.S. military.[
Thank you for this today. 🙏