Oliver Burkman of The Guardian wrote a really nice article yesterday which at it’s core points to the inability of the climate movement to persuade much of anyone that we have a mess on our hands. He cites me in the middle of it, doing a nice job of putting my “bo-ho-horing” message into context. Similar to the famous story from Kilgore Trout (as told via Kurt Vonnegut) about the farting and tap dancing space alien, it’s always a tragedy when everything goes up in flames as the messenger fails to be understood.
VONNEGUT: If you lived through the fire bombing of Dresden you’d probably see the world a little differently, too.
Some people worship the bible. I’ve always worshipped Kurt Vonnegut’s best books. Not the lousy ones. In an interview he candidly scored his own books, and my assesments pretty much match his. But in books like “Slaugherhouse Five,” “Mother Night,” “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater,” “Breakfast of Champions,” and of course, “The Sirens of Titan,” he captured the ultimately absurd nature of humanity.
One of his favorite recurring characters was Kilgore Trout, who came up with storylines for science fiction stories that were so lame the only place he could get them published was in the back of pornography magazines (back in a time when the word “porn” wasn’t so popular). In an interview he said, “It seemed to me the science fiction writers were writing about the most important issues of the time.” So it was only natural he would create Trout as his own vehicle for his science fiction ideas that often were cryptic expressions of issues of the day.
If he were still around he would probably have Kilgore Trout come up with some story that would serve as an allegory for our climate problems. But in many ways he already did it with this great one:
One Trout story was about a tragic failure to communicate. Here was the plot — a flying saucer creature named Zog arrived on earth to explain how wars could be prevented and how cancer could be cured. He brought the information from Margo, a planet where the natives conversed by means of farts and tap dancing. Zog landed at night in Connecticut. He had no sooner touched down than he saw a house on fire. He rushed into the house, farting and tap dancing, warning the people about the terrible danger they were in. The head of the house brained Zog with a golf club.