‘Slaughterhouse-Five,’ 50 years later: What Kurt Vonnegut taught one soldier about war – The Washington Post
“So it goes.”
I have reread Slaughterhouse Five multiple times. I also liked the movie. A young Valerie Perrine will be forever imbedded in my mind as Montana Wildhack looking at me from a tub. She made Billy Pilgrim forget his PTSD and created a respite throughout his time travels escaping a senseless hell. She brought peace.
I used to think there were some “just wars” like WW II. I am starting to believe there are NO just wars. I suspect Hitler’s rise could have been prevented by a much better foreign policy following WW I. His expansion could have been curtailed by a smarter, more unified diplomacy and the prevention of interference by multinationals, who worked on both sides to profit. The holocaust was preventable both by a different policy, the lack of constraints within Germany, and a more open policy towards accepting refugees in the US.
Slaughterhouse Five was published right around the time I was drafted for the Vietnam War. My lottery number was 39. There was no hope. I was called for my medical – “report to a bus pickup location with two days change of clothing at 6:00am.” A day before the life-changing event I had a sudden medical issue and had to be rescheduled. The ensuing bureaucratic delays were enough to still be at home a couple of months later when Nixon cancelled the draft. A major lucky break! I was totally unsuited for military duty and likely would have gotten myself killed. If not, I would have been a classic PTSD basket case before that term became wide spread.
Life is strange. So it goes.
Om Shanti Om.
Opinion | A ‘Disgusting’ Yale Professor Moves On – The New York Times
How a target of students’ ire came to write a book about humanity’s transcendent goodness.
Christakis’s wife, Erika, who also taught at Yale back then, had circulated a memo in which she questioned a university edict against culturally insensitive Halloween costumes, suggesting that students could police themselves and should have both the freedom to err and the strength to cope with offense. She wrote that her husband concurred.
Despite listening and reasoning Nicholas Christaki was ostracized by some students. I think this intolerance fueled by youthful righteousness and the unwillingness to tolerate other reasoning is unhealthy. It suppresses healthy debate, which is so important in any academic environment.
It moves debates and deep thinking of what is moral to a fanatic emotional pitch, very similar to the “hatred of the other” in our current political and social siloes.
EURYDICE – City Lights: Innovative, intimate theater in San Jose
“The myth has been told and retold for centuries. Grief-stricken Orpheus travels to the underworld, where he learns he can rescue his wife, Eurydice—if he doesn’t look back on the way up. Now, we see the story through Eurydice’s eyes. City Lights’ innovative new production combines Sarah Ruhl’s strikingly fresh script with the beauty of American Sign Language, reflecting the characters’ efforts to communicate across worlds. A lush and moving tale about life, love and the enduring strength of memory.”
A unique production pairs actors as both mirrors of their voice (spoken and ASL) and their feelings and inner life reflecting the perspectives of the living and dead. The spoken actors interact with their ASL counters exposing their inner dialog, they also cross the boundary between characters. Layered on this is the unspoken language of Hades ruled by “An Interesting Man.” The Chorus of silent stones reflect he subtle sound scene of the environment. It highlights the metaphysical nature of both myth and existence. The doubled cast truly feel as one.
It truly is both a subtle and breathtaking interpretation of Sarah Ruhl‘s play as directed by Lisa Mallette. We know Sarah Ruhl from other plays like the The Melancholy Play, Orlando, and The Room with a View or Vibrator Play.
Euridice! What struck me at the heart? It is the feeling, the memory of the ecstasy of love imbued with the confusion that are all part of youth. And obviously there is the fear of loss, mortality striking at any time, and returning in a moment of weakness. The yearning and redemption of true faithfulness and trust – a path of salvation both between lovers, and father and daughter. And yet it all has to find its end in forgetting, losing your voice, oblivion, and peace – death.
Our journey is but short and predetermined, but glorious if lived with passion and mindfulness.
The play left me rejoicing in (a few) tears.
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