Friday, April 13, 2007

Couldn’t resist, could you Scott?

You know Scott Johnson, don't you boys and girls? A/K/A Big Trunk? The guy who recently described Atlas Rugs proprietor, the bigoted wretch who sounds to be from Longe Guyland as the beautiful heart-on-sleeve blogger Pamela Geller? The guy whose principal contribution to the art of letters is to demonstrate the over-use of the word "execrable?" Yep, that Scott Johnson.

Well Scotty couldn't let the death of Kurt Vonnegut pass without penning his own snarky little obit (no link):

The novelist Kurt Vonnegut died yesterday at age 84. Back in the day when I took my lessons in political thought from John Lennon, Kurt Vonnegut was one of my favorite writers. I read every one of the novels he had published through 1970, beginning with Player Piano, continuing with The Sirens of Titan, Cat's Cradle, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, and Mother Night, and culminating in Slaughterhouse-Five. The man met the moment with Slauhghterhouse-[sic] Five in 1969 and Vonnegut became a countercultural celebrity without any discernible discomfort. Indeed, he encouraged acolytes like me in our fatuity, our grandiosity, our irresponsibility.

From an adult perspective, one can see that the novels are full of cheap irony, insufferable sentimentality, paper thin characters, and forgettable plots. If Vonnegut's novels have made it into the high school curriculum, as Dinitia Smith states in today's New York Times obituary, pity the poor high school student who thinks that this is what literature is all about.

Just before Vonnegut became a celebrity he collected his shorter fiction in Welcome to the Monkey House. Vonnegut included his early dystopian story "Harrison Bergeron" in the collection. In it he envisioned a nightmare future in which "everyone was finally equal." It's a story that runs against the grain of the kind of leftist political orthodoxy that Vonnegut came to embody. RIP. [italics are Spot's]

Scott no doubt prefers the prose of a Power Line favorite, Victor Davis Hanson, who tells us this is the beginning of a new book he is writing, titled No Man a Slave:

Melon woke. He was off the battlefield. Four Theban hoplites had carried the two wounded on biers up to Skopê, among the tamarisks and scrub oak of the lookout mountain, high above the battlefield. Yes, he was now high above the killing. On the crest, in a strong Etesian breeze, they put down Melon near his general, on thick fleece with felt covers. He was growing cold even in this Dog-star heat.

For just a moment he was clear again. The Thespian had enough strength to raise his head. Look, look down at the chaos far below, around the great walled city of the Mantineians. The Thebans were filing out the valley. The defeated Spartans did the same. So all were chanting "Antikrates," chanting as they marched behind their killer out through the other vale.

Then Melon thought he heard music. At least something like a Boiotian single piper, likewise far off in the distance, maybe even from the other side of the hill. He could hear from below still the music, and a goat song of Thisbe at that, its melody straining its way up the hill, just to him.

Boy, no fatuity or grandiosity there! Not a trace of insufferable sentimentality, either!

Vonnegut was the best gallows humorist this side of Mark Twain. You couldn't shine Kurt Vonnegut's shoes, Scotty, but don't feel too bad; Victor Davis Hanson can't either.

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