Playbill, April 2008

From the contributor page of Playboy Magazine, April, 2008.

“This is my principal objection to life, I think: It is too easy, when alive, to make perfectly horrible mistakes,” wrote the late Kurt Vonnegut. In Wailing Shall Be in All Streets, he condemns one such mistake, the Allied firebombing of Dresden that killed tens of thousands of civilians in one night. The previously unpublished essay (from his forthcoming Armageddon in Retrospect, from G.P. Putnam’s Sons) was the basis for Slaughterhouse Five. Both works are timely warnings about our war in Iraq, which Vonnegut railed against until his death. “I, myself, feel that our country, for whose Constitution I fought in a just war, might as well have been invaded by Martians and  body snatchers,” he said. Despite his dark humor, Vonnegut never gave up on the future: “Why write books? You catch people before they become generals and presidents and you poison their minds with humanity.”

The intersection of technology and the human body has always fascinated Damon Brown. His latest book, Porn and Pong, is about sex in video games. “Gadgetry is inherently sexy,” he says. “It enables us to do things that aren’t possible with our fragile bodies.” Little surprise, then, that he decideed to investigate prosthetic wonders for our feature The Body Shop. “Maybe in 15 years the Mitchell Report will be about robotics,” he says. “Or having a bionic vagina may become a fashion statement. Where does the technology end and the humanity begin? How soon before we turn ourselves into cyborgs?”

“Chief Jim Billie has lived his life almost entirely to protect his people,” says Pat Jordan, who penned The Man Who Would Be Chief. In the piece he investigates the Seminoles, who ostracized Billie despite his having masterminded Indian-owned casinos, which made the Florida tribe very rich. “I had to figure out why this guy who refers to himself as a noble savage got cut out of the deal, while even the poorest Seminole gets about $10,000 a month,” he says. “Shit, I could live like a king on their allownace.” Jordan’s newest book is The Best Sports Writing of Pat Jordan.

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