The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Vonnegut at Smith

More Flashbacks

Okay people, I've been rummaging through the vaults again and have unearthed a few out of print gems that I'll be posting in the coming days. Let's start with this reprint from the May 22, 2001 edition of Tommy Devine's Online Journal:

Vonnegut Versus the Thought Police

In an article that originally appeared in the Boston Globe and later reprinted in the Springfield Republican, it is reported that best-selling author Kurt Vonnegut is leaving our Valley to return to live in New York City. For the past year he has been teaching at Smith College in Northampton and offending the politically correct types on campus with his irreverent ways. As reported in the Globe:

Vonnegut has always found a certain poetry in vulgarity, and his language hasn't been muted by the tacit taboos of the ivory tower.

And that has stirred a bit of discomfort at Smith. During his public lecture last fall, which he titled ''How to get a job like mine'' or ''A performance with chalk on blackboard,'' Vonnegut strayed into forbidden territory. After getting laughs mocking the National Rifle Association and drubbing the Internet, the legendary technophobe told a self-effacing story about how he lusts for an Indian woman who works at a Manhattan grocery store and wonders whether, like dentures, she puts the jewel she wears between her eyes in a glass of water at night.

More than a few students gasped. The mix of laughter and shock sparked a staff editorial in the student newspaper headlined ''Deify Celebs Much, Smith?'' ''Why did offended audience members feel compelled to tolerate Kurt Vonnegut saying such things, however the statements were intended, when they would have walked out on anyone else who uttered the same things?'' the paper fumed, adding: ''How many of you read your first Vonnegut book in August?''

Smith's writer-in-residence laughed when asked about the tizzy his comments caused. Then he got serious. ''I'll say whatever I want; that's the price of my freedom,'' Vonnegut says. ''If it hurts someone's feelings, too bad! That's the way it goes.''

It isn't just students who have grown uneasy with the novelist's impolitic anecdotes. When he showed up in an old sweater with holes in the elbows to lecture in Elliot Fratkin's anthropology class, the professor remembers squirming a bit when Vonnegut said beauty is everywhere, including ''a young coed leaning over to grab a book.''

''A lot of us just looked down on the ground and wondered, `Where is he going?''' he says. ''At Smith, it's not especially popular to talk about the beauty of the opposite sex.''

Vonnegut has made more of his time at Smith than stirring up trouble. Over the past year, the author has read poems and told jokes at local cafes, scatted as the lead vocalist of a band he called ''Special K and His Crew'' in the city's annual talent show, exhibited what he calls his ''new-cubist'' artwork at a local gallery, and helped a local bar brew a beer his grandfather made more than a century ago.

So what does Vonnegut have planned for his post-Valley life? For one thing, he intends ot file a lawsuit against the tobacco companies, but not for the usual reasons. A heavy smoker even in his late seventies, Vonnegut wants to sue Big Tobacco for not living up to the health warnings printed on every pack. "They promised to kill me on the package," he complains, "and they haven't done it yet." He's also working on a new book, despite a promise he made when he turned 75 to write no more. Instead he soon realized he would "crack-up" psychologically if he stopped writing.

Many of his friends and family are now dead - and that has deeply affected him. But there is a more honest reason why Vonnegut is writing another book: He can't stop writing. If he did, it might really kill him.

''Writers are very lucky. They can treat their neuroses every day,'' he says. ''When writers crack up, when they really end up in the nut house, is when they can't do it anymore. The treatment stops.''

It was nice of the Boston Globe to send a reporter out here to the hinterlands to record such witticisms from Vonnegut before he departed our Valley. What's strange is that no local print, television or radio media ever reported on his political correctness troubles on campus while he was here. Once again we had to rely on media from outside our Valley to tell us what was happening in our own backyard.


The stunning revelations that the top scientists and most respected "experts" in the global warming debate plotted to exaggerate the data supporting global warming in what some are calling "the worst scientific scandal of our generation," draws into doubt the necessity of even having the climate summit in Copenhagen next week, says Lorrie Goldstein of the Toronto Sun:

If you’re wondering how the robot-like march of the world’s politicians towards Copenhagen can possibly continue in the face of the scientific scandal dubbed “climategate,” it’s because Big Government, Big Business and Big Green don’t give a s*** about “the science.” They never have.

What “climategate” suggests is many of the world’s leading climate scientists didn’t either. Apparently they stifled their own doubts about recent global cooling not explained by their computer models, manipulated data, plotted ways to avoid releasing it under freedom of information laws and attacked fellow scientists and scientific journals for publishing even peer-reviewed literature of which they did not approve.

Now they and their media shills—who sneered that all who questioned their phony “consensus” were despicable “deniers,” the moral equivalent of those who deny the Holocaust—are the ones in denial about the enormity of the scandal enveloping them.

To read the whole article click here.

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Anonymous said...

To make matters wrose, our very own University of Massachusetts was at the center of the Climategate controversy. Professor Michael Mann once found his home in the UMass geo-sci department. Professor Raymond Bradley still does. Together, they are vying for the title of most unscientific scientist of the millenium. Or at least on this side of the pond! The British have some spectacular liars as well.

The emails are really horrible, but not much of a surprise. They only confirm what we already knew--the books have been cooked, the facts have been fit to the theory, the peer-review process has been corrupted, inconvenient facts have been hidden, and all matter of scientific protocol has been thrown to the wind.

The "world's leading climate scientists" have lost their independent objectivity. They've been serving as propogandists for quite some time.


jim said...

idiot obama will be at copenhagen making false promises about reducing the amount of pollution caused by evil Americans, all the while wondering wtf is going on around him