The Call Up

The best of the internet as curated by me. Put me in coach.

tumblr hit tracking tool

December 2, 2012 1:00 pm November 4, 2012 5:05 pm

Kurt Vonnegut: Letters

November 28, 1967

To Draft Board #1,
Selective Service,
Hyannis, Mass.

Gentlemen:

My son Mark Vonnegut is registered with you. He is now in the process of requesting classification as a conscientious objector. I thoroughly approve of what he is doing. It is in keeping with the way I have raised him. All his life he has learned hatred for killing from me.

I was a volunteer in the Second World War. I was an infantry scout, saw plenty of action, was finally captured and served about six months as a prisoner of war in Germany. I have a Purple Heart. I was honorably discharged. I am entitled, it seems to me, to pass on to my son my opinion of killing. I don’t even hunt or fish any more. I have some guns which I inherited, but they are covered with rust.

This attitude toward killing is a matter between my God and me. I do not participate much in organized religion. I have read the Bible a lot. I preach, after a fashion. I write books which express my disgust for people who find it easy and reasonable to kill.

We say grace at meals, taking turns. Every member of my family has been called upon often to thank God for blessings which have been ours. What Mark is doing now is in the service of God, Whose Son was exceedingly un-warlike.

There isn’t a grain of cowardice in this. Mark is a strong, courageous young man. What he is doing requires more guts than I ever had—and more decency.

My family has been in this country for five generations now. My ancestors came here to escape the militaristic madness and tyranny of Europe, and to gain the freedom to answer the dictates of their own consciences. They and their descendents have been good citizens and proud to be Americans. Mark is proud to be an American, and, in his father’s opinion, he is being an absolutely first-rate citizen now.

He will not hate.
He will not kill.
There’s no hope in that. There’s no hope in war.

Yours truly,

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

(Source: amazon.com)

January 27, 2012 9:49 am
"Didion is the writer who expressed most eloquently the eternal-girl impulse, the one that follows us into adulthood: the desire to retreat to our room, to close the door, to spend some time alone with our thoughts and our feelings. She understood that the old governor’s mansion in Sacramento was superior to the Reagans’ giant tract house because it had big, airy bedrooms, “and one can imagine reading in one of them, or writing a book, or closing the door and crying until dinner.” She loved Alcatraz Island not only for the flowers and the view, but because she is a person who likes a moat."

A great piece about Didion.  I realized she’s the literary equivalent of a Lisa Cholodenko film, where the clothes and surroundings are as much a part of the psyche as the relationships.  Or maybe Lisa Cholodenko is the film equivalent of a Joan Didion book, either way.

(Source: The Atlantic)

December 18, 2011 5:57 pm
"I find, on the other hand, somewhat to my surprise, that I actively like physical therapy…I am impressed by the strength and general tone of the other patients who turn up during the same hour…I wonder how many appointments it will take to reach the apparently effortless control already achieved by my fellow patients. Only during my third week of physical therapy do I learn that these particular fellow patients are in fact the New York Yankees, loosening up between game days."

Joan Didion