As a member of a zippier generation, with sparkle in its eyes and a snap in its stride, let me tell you what kept us as high as kites a lot of the time: hatred. All my life I’ve had people to hate — from Hitler to Nixon, not that those two are at all comparable in their villainy. It is a tragedy, perhaps, that human beings can get so much energy and enthusiasm from hate. If you want to feel ten feet tall and as though you could run a hundred miles without stopping, hate beats pure cocaine any day. Hitler resurrected a beaten, bankrupt, half-starved nation with hatred and nothing more. Imagine that.


The members of your graduating class are not sleepy, are not listless, are not apathetic. They are simply performing the experiment of doing without hate. Hate is the missing vitamin or mineral or whatever in their diet, they have sensed correctly that hate, in the long run, is about as nourishing as cyanide.

Kurt Vonnegut, god damn, wow, damn. In the past I’ve wondered if I should be angrier in my comedy, if it’s a more honest representation of me, because I do feel passionate about certain topics and I get upset at how obvious the “solutions” are even though nobody sees them but me. Each time I cut myself short because it actually doesn’t feel real— it’s too much effort to stay angry for long, and the more I think about a problem, the closer my thoughts circle around the typical conclusion of “nothing matters, just do you.”

I’m not saying I’m good or bad for it; just that Vonnegut acknowledging the invigorating power of hatred is remarkable and counter-intuitive.

No matter what age any of us is now, we are going to be bored and lonely during what remains of our lives.

We are so lonely because we don’t have enough friends and relatives. Human beings are supposed to live in stable, like-minded, extended families of fifty people or more.

Your class spokesperson mourned the collapse of the institution of marriage in this country. Marriage is collapsing because our families are too small. A man cannot be a whole society to a woman, and a woman cannot be a whole society to a man. We try, but it is scarcely surprising that so many of us go to pieces.

So I recommend that everybody here join all sorts of organizations, no matter how ridiculous, simply to get more people in his or her life. It does not matter much if all the other members are morons. Quantities of relatives of any sort are what we need.

Kurt Vonnegut’s commencement address to Fredonia College, May 20th 1978

I don’t ever feel acutely lonely cause I can mostly entertain myself flying solo and reach out to anyone whenever, not to mention that my friends are magical legends of support and care and interest in my life. But I often think about how unfair it is that we don’t all live in a village together.

Okay so maybe I’ll move onto those British sitcoms after reading Vonnegut’s bibliography. BUSY DAY

Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.

from God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut