With seminary demands, I don't spend enough time reading for pleasure, but I've been working through Hocus Pocus very slowly and wanted to share a couple of witty forecasts from Vonnegut in the late '80s, projecting on America into the early 2000s.
"He predicted, I remember, that human slavery would come back, that it had in fact never gone away. He said that so many people wanted to come here because it was easy to rob the poor people, who got absolutely no protection from the Government. He talked about bridges falling down and water mains breaking because of no maintenance. He talked about oil spills and radioactive waste and poisoned aquifers and looted banks and liquidated corporations. 'And nobody ever gets punished for anything,' he said. 'Being an American means never having to say you're sorry.'" (94)And on the next page:
"'I heard you said Jesus Christ was un-American,' she said, her tape recorder running all the time.
So I unscrambled that one for her. The original had been another of Grandfather's sayings. He repeated Karl Marx' prescription for an ideal society, 'From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.' And then he asked me, meaning it to be a wry joke, 'What could be more un-American, Gene, than sounding like the Sermon on the Mount?'" (95-96)I know the narrative is completely incomprehensible from these quick quotations, but I'm always moved and convicted (and a little terrified) by the sober predictions made by this witty, biting, hilarious, prescient novelist. And so it goes.