Cat's CradleCat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

sometimes when things are grim and you’ve just finished Crime and Punishment you just have to bust out some Vonnegut. it’s like taking your vitamins, if your vitamins were contained in a six-pack of beer and a bag of potato chips.

i haven’t read this one for a couple years… i try to space out my Vonnegut books so as to keep ’em fresh. how i miss that crazy old man…

the fun thing is, i always find something new to love about his books when i re-read them. when i was young, i got my mind boggled by the idea of ice-nine–that someone would invent something so perfectly pointless and destructive, and that they would then be bound to use it, either purposefully or accidentally. of course when i was young the world was not long past duck-and-cover drills, so ice-nine was not at all farfetched.

I’ve also, at various times, been deeply amused by Vonnegut’s making fun of power (president of the island!), of the clubbiness of people (Hoosiers! Americans!), our seeming inability to just do the right thing even though it’s not rocket science (feed people and be nice), his jabs at warmongering. but this time what really amused me was Bokononism.

partly i am amused because it reminds me of the God’s Gardeners in Atwood’s After the Flood. all their silly hymns and made-up holy days… although those silly hymns contained some truth, and so do the Calypsos of Bokonon.

i’ve never been a religious person, but i find Bokononism rather appealing. at least a religion whose highest calling is to rub the soles of your feet with someone else’s strikes me as utterly harmless. you can’t very well have a holy war over feet-rubbing–not if you’re a real Bokononist, anyway. wasn’t there something about thou shalt not kill? oh… nevermind. these religions all sound the same to me.

but i do find one bit of Bokononist advice something one could indeed get behind:

“Live by the foma that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.”

ahahahahaha! oh Kurt, how i miss you.