Nov 12 2021


Kurt Vennegut on book burning from Doktor Zoom at Wonkette:

In 1973, Slaughterhouse-Five wasn’t merely removed from library shelves in Drake, North Dakota. The school board ordered a custodian at the high school to burn all 32 classroom copies of the novel — and later, others — in the school’s furnace, prompting Vonnegut to write to Charles McCarthy, the chair of the Drake School Board, to remind him that Vonnegut was an American, a veteran, a good citizen who had never been arrested, and a human being. The full text of the letter can be found here; to save space, here’s a video of the letter being read by actor Benedict Cumberbatch:

We can’t resist copy-pasting at least this paragraph, which is every bit as true nearly forty years later:

If you were to bother to read my books, to behave as educated persons would, you would learn that they are not sexy, and do not argue in favor of wildness of any kind. They beg that people be kinder and more responsible than they often are. It is true that some of the characters speak coarsely. That is because people speak coarsely in real life. Especially soldiers and hardworking men speak coarsely, and even our most sheltered children know that. And we all know, too, that those words really don’t damage children much. They didn’t damage us when we were young. It was evil deeds and lying that hurt us.

Kurt Vennegut, 1973

TMC for ek hornbeck

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