Thursday, July 26, 2012
kilgore trout lives
I've been spending the bulk of my waking hours on line for 10 years now, but lately I've been noticing that increasingly, as time goes by, the internet is becoming little more than a vehicle for advertising, just like television which has sucked for decades, and also a means for government and other quasi-governmental institutions to pry into our private lives.
The printed, dead-tree book is poised to make a comeback, and yesterday I read one -- "Breakfast of Champions" by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. It concerns the career of an obscure science-fiction writer, Kilgore Trout, a dirty and disheveled old man whose work is sold in bulk to the publishers of pornographic magazines, to be used as "filler" between the photographs, and the developing insanity due to haywire brain chemistry of a successful midwestern businessman who is influenced by Trout's work, Dwayne Hoover.
I bought the book at 10:00 in the morning, started reading it at 11:00, and finished it at 8:00 in the evening, devouring its 300 pages at an average rate of 33-1/3 pages per hour, while enjoying every word and every one of Vonnegut's childish felt-tip drawings.
I don't know if I'd call "Breakfast" a great novel or not. It's extremely skillfully written, in a style which may not have a name, but which I would call "fantastic realism." Vonnegut's work contains no trace of the things in literature I hate most, sentimentality and romanticism. Instead, he writes jazz, riffing and improvising on the real world as he understood it.
As I read this novel yesterday, I was not advertised at, even one time. No advertisers made notes on my reactions in order to guage my "preferences," and I was not scrutinized by any government agency or department looking for tell-tale signs of "terrorism," or more accurately, unorthodox, hence dangerous beliefs. And that's what I call living.