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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Kilgore Trout: reformed conservationist, theistic fatalist

He had a point. The planet was being destroyed by manufacturing processes, and what was being manufactured was lousy, by and large.

Then Trout made a good point, too. “Well,” he said, “I used to be a conservationist. I used to weep and wail about people shooting bald eagles with automatic shotguns from helicopters and all that, but I gave it up. There’s a river in Cleveland which is so polluted that it catches fire about once a year. That used to make me sick, but I laugh about it now. When some tanker accidentally dumps its load in the ocean, and kills millions of birds and billions of fish, I say, ‘More power to Standard Oil,’ or whoever it was that dumped it.” Trout raised his arms in celebration. “‘Up your ass with Mobil gas,’” he said.

The driver was upset by this. “You’re kidding,” he said.

“I realized,” said Trout, “that God wasn’t any conservationist, so for anybody else to be one was sacrilegious and a waste of time. You ever see one of His volcanoes or tornadoes or tidal waves? Anybody ever tell you about the Ice Ages he arranges for every half-million years? How about Dutch Elm disease? There’s a nice conservation measure for you. That’s God, not man. Just about the time we got our rivers cleaned up, he’d probably have the whole galaxy go up like a celluloid collar. That’s what the Star of Bethlehem was, you know.”

“What was the Star of Bethlehem?” said the driver.

“A whole galaxy going up like a celluloid collar,” said Trout.

The driver was impressed. “Come to think about it,” he said, “I don’t think there’s anything about conservation anywhere in the Bible.”

“Unless you want to count the story about the Flood,” said Trout.

Breakfast of Champions (p. 84-85)

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