Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Value of Freedom

In an interview attached to the audio book version of Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions, long-time friend and attorney Donald C. Farber wrapped a closing comment in laughter, saying to Vonnegut, "You always manage to find something funny about something that isn't funny at all."

Here's one of my favorite examples:

Then [Kilgore Trout] thought about what Bill [his pet bird] might want. It was easy to guess. "Bill," he said, "I like you so much, and I am such a big shot in the Universe, that I will make your three biggest wishes come true." He opened the door of the cage, something Bill couldn't have done in a thousand years.

Bill flew over to the windowsill. He put his little sholder against the glass. There was just one layer of glass between Bill and the great out-of-doors ....

Your second wish is about to come true," said Trout, and he again did something which Bill could never have done. He opened the window. But the opening of the window was such an alarming business to the parakeet that he flew back to this cage and hopped inside.

Trout closed the door of the cage and latched it. "That's the most intelligent use of three wishes I ever heard of," he told the bird. "You made sure you'd still have something worht wishing for - to get out of the cage."
By my measure, November 4th is a day for getting out of the cage. The loss of freedom was never fair trade in exchange for the promise of a maybe tomorrow. Vote.

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