Vonnegut and the Mistake Machines

This is one of my most popular posts, so I recorded it for The Thought & Other Absurdities Podcast. I just started doing this and I’m giving you bonus material in every episode. In the Vonnegut and the Mistake Machines Episode, I added a bit of a rant about our society’s poor treatment of Simone Biles and a little background on why Vonnegut is my favorite. If you’re a fan of this blog, leave a comment or email me at JosephDNewcomer@gmail.com and let me know what other posts you’d like to hear on the podcast.

When someone mentions “The Good Book,” I always assume they are speaking of Slaughterhouse-Five. I think the world would be a kinder, gentler place if we based more of our morality on Vonnegut’s works rather than the books many of us revere. He passed in April of 2007, but I think of him whenever I read or write. Sometimes, I consider what he would have said about things I’m trying to put words to.

Vonnegut probably would have said that people are Mistake Machines. We all make mistakes, and we are as prolific and proficient at making them as we are at making anything else we have ever made. He also may have said that the best Mistake Machines of all are also fantastic Apology Machines because, while we cannot avoid making mistakes, seeing as how we are Mistake Machines, we possess the ability to admit when we are wrong. The best Mistake Machines can avoid continuing to make a particular mistake once they are aware of the mistake they’ve made, and they can right their course through history. Some of their mistakes have also been their greatest achievements, but Mistake Machines find the greatest source of their humanity and their humility in their own apologies.

Apology Machines make the best kind of Mistake Machines… the best kind of people.

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Thought & Other Absurdities is a collection of modern witticisms, thought provocations, & other absurdities from the mind of Joseph D. Newcomer, author of Diminishing Return, El Camino Blue, and the soon-to-be-released through Dead Star Press, SciFi mind-fuck novel, Darkest Day.

Originally posted on the Thought & Other Absurdities blog at JosephDNewcomer.com, these brief essays are rife with the social commentary and compassion-invoking prose you have come to expect from Newcomer, but with a more direct and pointed purpose than his novels. This collection is designed to offer the reader daily vignettes of societal considerations to engage the mind well beyond the few moments it takes to read each entry. It is simultaneously thought-altering and painfully relatable.

Also, if you’re a writer, please check out the Dead Star Press Submissions Page. We want all of your weirdness.

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