Monday, October 31, 2005

Nyro and other heros

So as I'm reading Kurt Vonnegut's Man Without a Country and I come upon this passage,

But I myself feel that our country, for whose Constitution I fought in a just war, might as well have been invaded by Martians and body snatchers. Sometimes I wish it had been. What had happened instead is that it was taken over by means of the sleaziest, low-comedy, Keystone Cops-style coup d'etat imaginable.

I was once asked if I had any ideas for a really scary reality TV show. I have one reality show that would make your hair stand on end: "C-Students from Yale."

I start to think, you know, Vonnegut is Bill Moyers with a sense of humor.

Then I get to the end of the book, which is a "Requiem" that begins,

The crucified planet Earth,
should it find a voice
and a sense of irony,
might now well say
of our abuse of it,
"Forgive them, Father,
They know not what they do."

The irony would be
that we know what
we are doing.

And that, in fact, is something Bill Moyers had already said:

I see the future looking back at me from these photographs [of his grandchildren] and I say, "Father, forgive us, for we know now what we do." And then I am stopped short by the thought: "That's not right. We do know what we are doing. We are stealing their future. Betraying their trust. Despoiling their world."

Anyway the upshot is that Vonnegut/Moyers left me with a longing for Laura Nyro, who died too young and too soon. "Save the Country!" (If you're lucky or patient, you can hear a snippet of it here.) I'm not the only one to try to channel her lately.

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