Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Kurt Vonnegut and 'educating a woman'

Educating a woman is like pouring honey over a fine Swiss watch. It stops working. 
author Kurt Vonnegut in 1985

This statement is quoted in The Chauvinist's bedside book (1994), authored by David Olive.

However, there are two issues here. Firstly (and least significantly), it's not an accurate quote. The original line, from the 1970 play Happy Birthday Wanda June, is actually "Educating a beautiful woman is like pouring honey into a fine Swiss watch. Everything stops."

Secondly (and more importantly), this isn't a personal statement by the author but the words he wrote for Harold Ryan, a character in the play. Vonnegut's work is mocking hyper-masculinity and misogyny, not celebrating it.

As Penelope, Harold's wife, points out in her opening lines: "This is a simple-minded play about men who enjoy killing - and those who don't."

More information: Reddit; Goodreadsthe Daily Script;

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