Saturday, March 29, 2014

Kurt Vonnegut and the Anti-War Movement

Kurt Vonnegut harshly criticizes war in Slaughterhouse-Five in a similar way to Jasper Johns' American flags and map.  The book has no heroes; the protagonist is an indecisive coward and the only strong, courageous people are totally selfish and engrossed in their own heroics.  By writing a story in which the reader constantly hopes for somebody to step up and save the day and where the absence of any such hero is hilariously obvious, Vonnegut makes fun of the idea that wars are heroic just as Jasper Johns makes fun (maybe) of the related idea that America is perfect and homogenous by making maps in many colors or thickly textured flags in subtle hues.

1 comment:

Kincy GIbson said...

This weekend at the MOMA I was one of Jasper John's flag's and it was a lot different in real life compared to the underwhelming photo in the book. You could see newspaper and layers and layers of paint behind each color. It could definitely see how at the time people could have asked "Is this the flag, or art?" I thought it was interesting though that his flag has 48 stars instead of 50.