Sunday, September 23, 2012

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Playboy interview July 1973

If you're a fan of Vonnegut you're going to like this Playboy interview with him from July of 1973.

I scanned the pages and assembled them here.

This way you can enlarge the jpegs.  Once I post a pic here it becomes fixed.

I also scanned some ads I thought were funny and/or interesting.
Some notes I took from the reading:

“Writers are specialized cells in the social organism.  They are evolutionary cells.  Mankind is trying to become something else; it’s experimenting with new ideas all the time.  And writers are a means of introducing new ideas into the society, and also a means of responding symbolically to life…Writers are specialized cells doing whatever we do, and we’re expressions of the entire society---just as the sensory cells on the surface of your body are in the service of your body as a whole.  And when a society is in great danger, we’re likely to sound the alarms. I have the canary-bird-in-the-coal-mine theory of the arts.   The artists certainly did that in the case of Vietnam.  They chirped and keeled over. But it made no difference whatsoever.  Nobody important cared.  But I continue to think that artists—all artists—should be treasured as alarm systems.”

---Religion-atheist, long line.

---What’s wrong with society is the destruction of the community.  People have to move to where the jobs are so they can survive.  They get cut off from the family.  He laments the breakdown of culture as a byproduct of socio-economic politics.  He also believes cultural relativity should be taught in the first grade.

“Everything is a lie, because our brains are two-bit computers, and we can’t get very high grade truths out of them.  But as far as improving the human condition goes, our minds are certainly up to that.  That’s what they were designed to do.”

”The human brain is too high-powered to have many practical uses in this particular universe, in my opinion.”

Wet or dry none of these guys are getting laid.

--Known bouts with depression, which on medication and therapy he’s been able to manage.  Cyclical blow ups.

--what he learned from his parents: “…that organized religion is anti-Christian and that racial prejudices were stupid and cruel.”

--Black humor and gallows humor is what he gravitates toward.

--On his experience in the army “Every officer I knew was a shit.”

--On witnessing an Apollo launch “It’s a tremendous space fuck.”

--Alludes to the “brown note.”

Between the two pages I counted 17 albums I'd be interested in. What an extraordinary deal!

From a shoe fashion review.  The shoes, the pants, hilarious.

If I were a nudist, and comfort was important to me, clogs would not be my first choice of footwear.

Patent-leather-wing-tipped-heels. on HIM.  Is this what going through a MAXIM in 20yrs is gonna be like?
The only thing that could get me in those shoes is six pack of malt liquor.  And yes, I do seek unique, why thanks.

1973 was the first year Things were available on the U.S. market.

That looks like fun.  On they're anywhere from $3-18,000 dollars.


  1. I just want to say thanks for posting the Playboy interview with Kurt Vonnegut. I'm writing a research paper for my English Composition class about Vonnegut and I happened to come across mention of this interview in another article. I couldn't exactly get a copy of Playboy from any scholarly sources, and right here I found the full article without trying to hunt down and buy a 40 year old magazine. It's actually very relavent to what I'm writing, and plus I just found it absolutely hilarious to be citing Playboy magazine in a college research paper.

  2. I am also very appreciative of your posting this article for the same reason. I'm applying to grad school and I'm working on a paper about Slaughterhouse-5 for my writing sample. I'm wondering though, did you forget to scan some pages? There is a gap between pages 66 and 70 and there seems to be information missing. It would be awesome if you could upload the remaining pages!

    1. The missing pages have been scanned and placed into the file you can download at the same link above.