Thursday, September 15, 2005

Kurt Vonnegut on Imagination

Kurt Vonnegut appeared on the Daily Show Tuesday night to promote his new book 'A Man without a Country'. Although he's in his early eighties he seems to have lost none of his acumen and humour. Vonnegut never enjoyed appearing in public and his interview was much too short.
There are not enough humourists around anymore, at least those able to be humourous without the shock value of foul language which is used so much anymore it no longer has any value.

The essay in his new collection on imagination, however, I will disagree with. He likens the slick productions of movies and television and the information highway as having displaced the need for imagination circuit teachers who, by using reading and story telling in the classroom, built these imagination circuit in youngsters of his day (which was my day too). He writes: "Those of us who had imagination circuits built can look in someone's face and see stories there; to everyone else, a face will be just a face." I would argue that these new forms of media will only enhance imagination and the rampant illiteracy on the information highway will eventually disappear because, much like a badly written novel, the badly written discourse on the information highway will simply be ignored.

In her essay, 'The Future is Now', in this Octobers issure of Writer's Digest, Kevin Smokler deals with this issue and I think she's right on track.

My point is, without imagination, no matter how the circuit is created, none of the media would or will be possible...and, for writers, there will always be the old question hanging in the air: 'What if...'. Nothing gets a writer going more than a good old "What if?"

Our job, especially as bloggers (and sometimes actually published writers) is to encourage the new and sometimes not-so-literate blogger to keep writing, but to keep writing better. And, of course, you're always going to have those whom take no one's advice, but they'll soon be offline and never in print.

10 Comments:

Blogger mojoala said...

When the imagination is lost, the zeal for life usually gets lost as well...

1:31 PM  
Blogger Neil said...

In terms of actual writing going on, blogging is probably great for society. Now you have teenagers who keep journals and write for an audience. Not since the days of letter writing have so many people gone back to writing -- even if it is terse email messages.

7:33 PM  
Blogger porchwise said...

You're right, Neil. I'd rather see a teenager banging away at his keyboard than flopped out in front of the boob tube with an X-box where he's learning asolutely nothing.

6:48 AM  
Blogger Kenny said...

see, I never understood why the powers that be, started condeming imagination. I'm 44 and I grew up watching "Captain Kangaroo" who could take a milk carton and make a paddle boat. or a Quaker Oats box and make a drum. He taught us how to use our imagnination. We didn't have to have the latest gizmos and gadgets as kids to have fun. We said "bang bang" to make our toy guns fire.
Then came the Dungeons and Dragons era, where some teens (who were already having mental trouble) couldn't seperate fantasy from reality, and they killed a few people. So then everyone condems using your imagination, it leads to murder.
I'm glad that Harry Potter has taken a hold like he has. I enjoy those books even at my age.
And I'm sorry I took over your blog as my sounding board.
Kenny

9:30 AM  
Blogger Shelly said...

i posted Kurt Vonnegut's list on my blog...
He is true. Real. Unaltered and Weathered.
Here is something. Lets compile a list of those "visionairies, celebrities, infamous" who support Bush and those who don't support or agree with his policies....
Here are (just) two against:
Al Franken-i can't think of al without thinking of the snl skit he did with the satelite on his head...pure genius!!!
Gore Vidal- one of the world's greatest minds in my opinion.
Here are two for:
Britney Spears-um..."I think we should just support our president and his decisions.." all while smackin' bubblicious..
Ann Coulter-some one should tell this blonde bimbo that she should stop the q-tip when she feels resistance..

8:08 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

I cannot wait to get a copy of Vonneguts new book. I worship that man's work!

12:32 AM  
Blogger B said...

neal- remember when diaries had locks?

porchwise- you can learn the story of X-Men or Star Wars playing X-box hahaha so it's a kind of learning... ;)

3:07 PM  
Blogger porchwise said...

But where does the imagination fit in here, b? It is facial entertainment...like watching the boob tube only instead of using your hands to stuff junk food in your mouth, you use them to manipulate buttons and levers.

8:37 AM  
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