A Man Without a Country

Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on April 26, 2018

A meme turned up on facebook the other day. Here is what it said: “For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes (Matthew 5). But, often with tears in their eyes, the demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course, that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere. “Blessed are the merciful” in a courtroom? “Blessed are the peacemakers” in the Pentagon? Give me a break!”

This bit of commodity wisdom is blamed on Kurt Vonnegut. It does sound like something he would say. The copy-friendly version of the quote gives a source, A Man Without a Country. This is a memoir, which is like a meme with an oir glued on.

PG ordered AMWAC from the library, and read it. It would be fun to say that AMWAC is great, but it isn’t. It is the same stuff you heard KV saying for years. AMWAC was published in 2005, two years before KV took his dirt nap. ANWAC might have been a good idea, but just doesn’t work. Not that the humanist talk isn’t true, or inspiring. The novels had humanism, but they were window dressing for a story, with plots and characters. The novels were fun to read.

One item stands out, which is not to say that it is outstanding. “Jazz historian Albert Murray claimed that the suicide rate among American slave owners was higher than that of their slaves.” This is on page 68 of AMWAC. The source thinks that this is because the slaves could sing the blues, and slave owners could do nothing but count money.

Reddit had 22 comments devoted to this factoid. The truth is, nobody knows. It may be true. It may have been true in the Mississippi Delta, but not true in Virginia. Maybe seeing snow in the winter was the factor. There is a problem with asking why, before you are sure that the statement is true.

Classics Illustrated: The Man Without A Country #63 is a comic book version of another book titled AMWAC. (all pages are there, this is meant for reading, not collecting) In this epic, a man says that he wishes to never hear of the United States again. A judge sentences him to go on a ship, where people are forbidden to speak of America in his presence. Talk about specialty punishment! In the end, the man is so patriotic nobody can stand him. It is highly unlikely that there will be a comic book version of the Kurt Vonnegut AMWAC.

Pictures are from The Library of Congress. Dorothea Lange took the pictures in June 1937, in Texas The spell check suggestion for AMWAC is AMWAY.

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  1. A Man Without a Country | Chamblee54 said, on April 10, 2021 at 9:20 am

    […] him. It is highly unlikely that there will be a comic book version of the Kurt Vonnegut AMWAC. This is a repost. On January 17, 2020, Bill Maher appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience. He lamented the political […]

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