“Sometimes I wonder about the Creator of the Universe.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, “Breakfast of Champions”
A man named “Pecker” is now embroiled in a massive blackmail scandal involving a selfie of the richest man in the world’s genitalia.
You see, some of the greatest minds and philosophers of all time have created postulations to prove that some form of “intelligent design” was responsible for the creation of the universe. But this whole “Peckergate” thing is enough for me.
Like…this man is born, with the last name “Pecker”—and he grows up to own this major tabloid concern like The National Enquirer, which allegedly used a photo of a pecker as political leverage. It’s the same thing as Anthony Weiner getting taken down for a photo of his weiner. I think when you have these sorts of names with built-in meaning like that, you need to be careful; you need to really “work against the grain” of that name. Or else you are falling into the snare of Fate™.
Like all these Sith names: Darth Sidious, Darth Maul, Darth Bane, Darth Plagueis…it’s too damn obvious, man. It’s too easy. I’m against that. I’m against it being “too easy.”
I want to be intrigued & surprised.
Actor Albert Finney just passed away at the age of 82. Gen Xers like myself might immediately identify him with Daddy Warbucks from the 1982 movie version of Annie, but of course he had a long and distinguished cinematic career from Tom Jones (1963) to Murder On The Orient Express (1974) and Erin Brockovich (2000).
Now, the role I personally remember Finney for is of Kilgore Trout in the 1999 movie adaptation of the Kurt Vonnegut novel Breakfast of Champions. While the character of Trout—a down-and-out author of “cult” science fiction novels—is quite literarily significant, the movie itself totally bombed at the box-office.
However, I was watching this clip of Finney with Bruce Willis from the film just last night:
And so that was kind of weird, a bit of a sync.
I had also just found a copy of Breakfast Of Champions (my old one having gone AWOL some time ago) at ye olde local free book swap a couple of days ago, which was a welcome find indeed. The crux of the novel is that seemingly normal car dealership owner Dwayne Hoover (Willis in the movie version) is secretly having a major nervous breakdown—believing that a certain book of Trout’s, Now It Can Be Told, holds “secret messages” for him.
And the pivotal scene towards the end of the novel involves Hoover tracking down Trout and reading to him a passage from his own book, involving a message from the Creator of the Universe.
And the message is:
“Dear Sir, poor sir, brave sir.” he read, “You are an experiment by the Creator of the Universe. You are the only creature in the entire Universe who has free will. You are the only one who has to figure out what to do next – and why. Everybody else is a robot, a machine. Some persons seem to like you, and others seem to hate you, and you must wonder why. They are simply liking machines and hating machines. You are pooped and demoralized, ” read Dwayne. “Why wouldn’t you be? Of course it is exhausting, having to reason all the time in a universe which wasn’t meant to be reasonable.”
Now, like Philip K. Dick did in VALIS, Vonnegut breaks the fourth wall in Breakfast of Champions, eventually meeting up with Trout and acknowledging himself as the character’s Creator. Vonnegut grants Trout his own free will:
“Arise, Mr. Trout, you are free, you are free.”
As Vonnegut disappears he can hear Trout, in his own father’s voice, beg the author to make him young again. The last image of the novel—and the illustrations, by Vonnegut himself, are an integral part of the narrative, almost like a comic book—is a self-portrait of Vonnegut crying.
Anyway: a book I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, and can start reading from any place at random.
Mr. Finney: you are free.
A few stories of possible interest:
- The weirdly esoteric (at least for someone who projects a somewhat mainstream/conservative “vibe”) pre-game rituals of Tom Brady.
- Is it “inevitable” for humans to fall in love with their sex robots?
- That time The Simpsons predicted the winner of the Super Bowl…twice (read my post “The Simpsons Code” for more background on the seemingly clairvoyant properties of the animated series).
- In addition to Finney, Oreo the Raccoon—the literal model for Guardians Of The Galaxy character Rocket Raccoon—has died. He was 10.
- Harvard’s top astronomer is sticking to his theory that interstellar asteroid Oumuamua is an alien spaceship.
- The Alex Jones/Joe Rogan feud is apparently back on.
- Reddit is set to receive a $150 million investment from a Chinese tech company best known for facilitating censorship in the country. What could possibly go wrong?
- Along those lines, YouTube star Shane Dawson recently had a “conspiracy”-themed video get demonetized…seemingly part of the platform’s new crackdown on “fringe” content. But then the video was quickly re-monetized. Is YouTube showing favoritism to Dawson? (To be fair, Dawson is more dreamy-looking than Alex Jones).
- Quote of the day, from the Crazy Days And Nights peanut gallery: “John Landis killed two kids and Max Landis is still the worst thing he’s responsible for.”
And I guess that’s it. Have a good Friday.
“These were my friends…and they were made out of gin boxes!”