Talk:Kurt Vonnegut

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This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Kurt Vonnegut page.

This was posted by someone earlier:

  • There are only two important things to remember in life. The first is that you should be good to other people. The second is that God doesn't care whether you are or not.
    • This is pretty close but not an exact quote.

I know of no exact matches and until there is something with a definite source, it probably should not be on the main article page. ~ Kalki 06:45, 21 Jun 2004 (UTC)

In attributed "If you want to study a granfalloon just take the skin off a toy balloon" comes from Cat's Cradle

Dwarf Kirlston -Jan 29

The quote from A Man Without a Country say this:

In case you haven't noticed, we are now as feared and hated all over the world as the Nazis once were.

The In These Times column where the line originally appeared has it this way:

In case you haven’t noticed, we are now almost as feared and hated all over the world as the Nazis were.

The word almost in the second version seems to change the quote substantially. Does the line appear in the book without it? WillMatthews 16:16, 11 November 2005 (UTC)Reply

Thanks for the info. I have now corrected the quote to read as it does in the original article. I think it unlikely that it was deliberately changed in the book, but do not have a copy to check. ~ Kalki 16:44, 11 November 2005 (UTC)Reply

Removed some of the quotes from Attributed that were in other sections as well.

Moved quotes from wikipedia article


I moved the quotes from the Wikipedia article on Vonnegut to here. Commonbrick 22:46, 19 Mar 2005 (UTC)

About three quotes appear both in the Attrbitude section and under their respective book.

I'd like to teach Iraq about Democracy because we're so experienced with it. First they should know that after 100 years they should free their slaves. Then after 150 years they should give their women the right to vote. Oh, and of course when they start it all they should begin with some genocide and ethnic cleansing. (Sarcasticly) Appearance on "The Daily Show," September 2005

Is this correct? I don't think that is exactly what he said. I'm not sure. -- 23:48, 15 September 2005 (UTC)Reply

In attributed the quote is from Cats Cradle it is allready written there, I am removing the duplicated unsourced quote.

  • Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.

23:51, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

Citing sources


Some of the miscellaneous sourced statements do not actually have sources. For example, "Vonnegut on Humanism" is not a source, and "Interview Playboy (1973)" should be much more specific. -- 16:19, 5 September 2006 (UTC)Reply

Pay no attention when I laugh...


Someone help me out here. I'm no literary critic, I just love the quote, "Pay no attention when I laugh... I'm a notorious pervert in that respect." I had the last, longer quote under Cat's Cradle. Is it too much? Does it have the same effect out of context?

I think it would be better without the context, just "Pay no attention when I laugh... I'm a notorious pervert in that respect." Ed Fitzgerald 07:42, 14 April 2007 (UTC)Reply

Is the note necessary?


I'm new to the Wiki updating so want to refrain from stepping on toes immediately. After the quote, "The only difference between Bush and Hitler is that Hitler was elected" there is a note about the validity of this statement. This is largely a useless designation, I believe. Since this is the Wikiquote and simply supposed to be a repository of quotes, correct?

Comments after the quotes are allowed here, especially if there are specific details about the context or validity of the statement to note. This comment seems to have been added by someone repudiating Vonnegut's observation about Hitler's rise to Chancellorship; I don't think the observation is absolutely necessary, but the statement is truthful, and now that it is there, I wouldn't remove it entirely, but it could be editied slightly. ~ Kalki 03:08, 18 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

Misattributed ?


In the Unsourced section, there's a quote that says "We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down."

Two very similar quotes are on Ray Bradbury's Wikiquote page:

In Sourced:

  • Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down. Brown Daily Herald (24 March 1995)

In Unsourced:

  • If we listened to our intellect we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go in business because we'd be cynical: "It's gonna go wrong." Or "She's going to hurt me." Or,"I've had a couple of bad love affairs, so therefore . . ." Well, that's nonsense. You're going to miss life. You've got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.

added "See the nigger fly the airplane!" to 'Hocus Pocus' (1990)

Ray Bradbury said the wings quote 1st :

Request for Quote about Atheists


I have in my memory a quote which I've thought about often, but can't find anywhere. I believe I read it in a Kurt Vonnegut essay, and the idea is something like this: Every atheist has a secret dream - To meet God when they die; to learn that they had led a just life; and to be smug in the knowledge that they, unlike believers, had done so independently, without the bribe of Heaven or the threat of Hell to influence them.

Does that sound familiar to anyone?


Vonnegut is one of those major iconic figures to whom, over time, many statements become attributed; unsourced attributions to him should usually be treated with some skepticism, and often a great deal of it.
  • I have long felt that any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae or a banana split.
    • quoted in “The War Between Writers and Reviewers,” New York Times Book Review (6 January 1985).
  • When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.
  • It is a very mixed blessing to be brought back from the dead.
  • If people think nature is their friend, then they sure don't need an enemy.
  • The two prime movers in the Universe are Time and Luck. [1]
  • True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.
  • We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.
  • We're not too young for love, just too young for about everything there is that goes with love.
  • Life happens too fast for you ever to think about it. If you could just persuade people of this, but they insist on amassing information.
  • The practice of art isn't to make a living. It's to make your soul grow.
    • A Man Without a Country

  • You understand, of course, that everything I say is horseshit.
    • quoted in Playboy interview, David Standish, 1973, and reprinted in Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut, page 77.
  • Future generations will look back on TV as the lead in the water pipes that slowly drove the Romans mad.
  • As a humanist I love science, I hate superstition, which could never have given us A-bombs.
  • Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.

Nazi Imagery


Can we keep the ridiculous swastikas on Union Jacks etc. off this page? They have nothing to do with the story or quotes. And linking communism with the Nazi party is just ridiculous, especially on this page considering Vonnegut's stance on socialism. —This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .

You speak as if these Swastikas were actually promoting Nazism, rather than used in conjunction with quotes from a story about Nazism and other forms of tyranny and social corruption, which promotes skepticism towards any form of intolerant and presumptuous fanaticism, nationalism or ideologies. If one has ever actually examined the excellent yet depressingly dark novel, Mother Night, one would have some idea that it is ABOUT an ostensibly fanatic Nazi propagandist, who is actually an American agent in Nazi Germany, and who regularly dressed in garish Americanized Nazi regalia, and later was himself deceived in encountering agents of various groups operating within and beyond Communist East Germany. It is perhaps not one of Vonnegut's greatest works, but certainly has some tragic and ironic plot twists that are among his most memorable to anyone who has read it, as I have. ~ Kalki·· 01:23, 5 June 2013 (UTC)Reply
I think this is debatable. Although the images express meaningful comments about themes addressed in the work from which the quotes are drawn, quotations by their very nature are taken out of context. It is not at all surprising that someone who is unfamiliar with that work might be taken aback by such symbolism in this context, where they do not have the sort of directly apparent relevance to the captioning quotations, or to the subject of the page, as is stipulated in the WQ:IMAGE policy. ~ Ningauble (talk) 18:58, 8 June 2013 (UTC)Reply

the "THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED... OF GOD WAS MUSIC" in the caption needs context


I provided it, but didn't want to edit/remove the above quote that is in a caption. I wanted to build a consensus that it is deceptive w/out context, as he was self-described as a humanist non-religious. If we achieve consensus on that, perhaps we can vote on what to do about it. As an analogy, I can quote Einstein saying "I am not a Jew" similarly. It makes more sense with the surrounding context: "The Jews believe in free will. They believe that man shapes his own life. I reject that doctrine philosophically. In that respect, I am not a Jew. . "

Noah Edelson (talk) 18:13, 10 March 2023 (UTC)Reply