Inside One Of America’s Most Brilliant Minds

I have a lot to say about Kurt Vonnegut. And I aim for the following goal with every video, joke, and word I put online:

"Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted."

So, brass tacks. Michael Swaim and I are starting a new podcast for Cracked! It's made by us, wunderengineer Brett Rader, and godfather Jack O'Brien.

Our podcast is called Kurt Vonneguys. This is the first episode:

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Also, we already made the second episode. And there'll be new episodes monthly from here on out. If that's not nice, we don't know what is!

I sat myself down to write you a fun list about the podcast in order to get you as excited about it as we are. I ended up with this list of unwritten lists. Which is fun anyhow! Here ya go:

TITLE: 4 Unwritten List Ideas About Our Kurt Vonnegut Podcast, Boiled Down To 1 List

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4
X Reasons Mother Night Is Very Very Worth A Read

This is Mother Night:

Delta Trade Paperback

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It's the third Kurt Vonnegut novel (published in 1961), so it's the subject of the upcoming third episode of Kurt Vonneguys, because we're working chronologically. That's also why the first two episodes tackle Player Piano (1952) and The Sirens Of Titan (1959).

I did not write out this Mother Night-based list idea. Why? Because I came up short on points. It's only got two of them. The first point: If you read Mother Night, you can join our book club. Kurt Vonneguys is a podcast, a book club, and a comedy show all at once. It's also a mini-history of Kurt Vonnegut, because we're working his life and letters and background into it throughout. And it's a podcast concept Michael and I wished we could listen to, so we went and made it exist ourselves. Anyway, for book club purposes, be aware: Mother Night is on deck.

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Don't worry, that's not an "assignment." You're busy and stuff. Kurt Vonneguys is built for everybody. With each episode:

-- If you've read the book, you'll join in on a deep dive into the book's awesomeness.

-- If you've haven't read the book, the show's a perfect way to experience the book in a fun, fast format.

And since very few Kurt fans have read Player Piano, while almost all Vonnegroupies have read Sirens Of Titan, you'll likely get both experiences right off the bat. Start having those experiences!

Here's this non-list's second point: [a tiring screed about why Mother Night's themes matter right now]. But the book should tell you that on its own. Its first line lays out the moral of the story. Its story says more about guys from Mussolini to Nu-Mussolini than almost anything ever has. And if that story can't hook your interest, how's a listicle-lobbing pipsqueak like me gonna do it?

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3
X Things Kurt Vonnegut Said Better Than Anyone Else Ever Has Or Will

I did not write that list, because The AV Club already did.

The AV Club

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Luckily for Michael and I, The AV Club stopped at 15. There are so many more than 15 concise Kurt gems. Kurt Vonneguys has all kinds of fun segments, and our "Kurt Blurt" segment will celebrate his best quotes, lines, and turns of phrase, book by book.

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Also, that AV Club piece's angle of "these great quotes indicate the author's greatness" is a nice attempt to sell Vonnegut to the uninitiated. We think Kurt Vonneguys can be that too. If you've never read him at all, give him a shot. Reading him along with Michael and I can make it even more fun.

And this show's about so many authors beyond Vonnegut. Our "Related Reading" segment flies through a pile of good writing that each Kurt book reminds us of. So far, they've been packed with Harlan Ellison and Ray Bradbury and Albert Camus and more. Listen for why!

2
X Ways Loneliness Is A Disease (And Kurt Vonnegut Tried To Cure It)

Vonnegut called loneliness a terrible disease. He said finding its cure deserves our collective attention. But I didn't write a list about Kurt's efforts to cure it, because Kurt Vonneguys will be a better document of that. From Slapstick (novel, 1976) to Bokononism (meta-religion, 1963) to the rest of Vonnegut's creations, he attacked loneliness in every way he could. And he made his lifelong attack funny. It was his way. He was the kind of author who even makes an attack on the notion of attacks funny. And so this podcast will be funny, even if Swaim and I sit there like quote robots and read Kurt to you (FYI, we do more than that).

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Also, remember that "book club" concept I said we're going after? Talk to us about Vonnegut on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We'll talk back. We'll make a club of it!

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And unlike most book clubs, you don't even need pants to participate!

And not to act like making Kurt Vonneguys is A GRAND ACT OF CHARITY, but most every podcast I've ever liked has made me feel less lonely. Maybe this one can chip in on that cause. Check it out. Let us know!

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1
X Reasons Kurt Vonnegut Is More Relevant Than Ever

I didn't write this pretty good list idea because, to paraphrase Uncle Kurt, internet articles should not disappear up their own asshole. This idea would combine ideas 1, 2, and 3, which you just got the gist of. It would also work in a thousand other points. I am both too lazy to write all that out and too confident that Kurt Vonneguys will unspool the idea for me.

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Please give the show a try. Thank you for reading this. And if you feel this wasted your time, hey, why not send this article to one of your enemies? It'll waste their time too, and you'll come out ahead.

Episode 1 Recommended Reading:

"The Silver Corridor" and "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said The Ticktockman" -- Harlan Ellison

"Knox" -- Harlan Ellison

"The Veldt" -- Ray Bradbury

The Caves Of Steel -- Isaac Asimov

Episode 2 Recommended Reading:

Watchmen -- Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

V for Vendetta -- Alan Moore & David Lloyd

Speaker For The Dead -- Orson Scott Card

"Dark They Were And Golden Eyed" -- Ray Bradbury

"Mozart In Mirrorshades" -- Bruce Sterling & Lewis Shiner

The Stranger -- Albert Camus

Stranger In A Strange Land -- Robert Heinlein

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