I’m re-reading some Kurt Vonnegut this summer — or, in the case of Breakfast of Champions, reading it for the first time. After a terrific “Preface,” Vonnegut opens his novel with a riff on America’s often crazy mythology. He hits on the national anthem, Christopher Columbus (a “sea pirate”), our resistance to “flag dipping” — you can read the chapter here — but I was most struck by this ‘graph.
A lot of the nonsense was the innocent result of playfulness on the part of the founding fathers of the nation of Dwayne Hoover and Kilgore Trout. The founders were aristocrats, and they wished to show off their useless education, which consisted of the study of hocus-pocus from ancient times. They were bum poets as well.