我这篇文章写在大选之前，因此乔治・W・布什和约翰・F・凯利中的到底谁将成为我们的总统――天意如何――执掌未来４年，尚不可知。源自北欧、血统高贵、身价亿万的这俩人，要我说基本就是一对儿有些与众不同的、眼神儿怪异的白种双胞胎。我觉得现在发现这个事实很合时宜――两位候选人都是耶鲁大学那个极端排外的秘密结社“骷髅会”（Skull and Bones）的成员。那就是说，不管谁最后获胜，我们都将迎来一位“骷髅会”总统――因为我们在陆地、海洋和大气中散发毒气，所有的脊椎动物――都加在一起，这个时代都正在变为骨骸（Skull and Bones）。
原文：The End is Near
By Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
I am writing this before the election, so I cannot know whether George W. Bush or John F. Kerry will be our President, God willing, for the next four years. These two Nordic, aristocratic multi-millionaires are virtually twins, and as unlike most of the rest of us as a couple of cross-eyed albinos. But this much I find timely: Both candidates were and still are members of the exclusive secret society at Yale, called “Skull and Bones.” That means that, no matter which one wins, we will have a Skull and Bones President at a time when entire vertebrate species, because of how we have poisoned the topsoil, the waters and the atmosphere, are becoming, hey presto, nothing but skulls and bones.
What was the beginning of this end? Some might say Adam and Eve and the apple of knowledge. I say it was Prometheus, a Titan, a son of gods, who in Greek myth stole fire from his parents and gave it to human beings. The gods were so mad they chained him naked to a rock with his back exposed, and had eagles eat his liver.
And it is now plain that the gods were right to do that. Our close cousins the gorillas and orangutans and chimps and gibbons have gotten along just fine all this time while eating raw vegetable matter, whereas we not only prepare hot meals, but have now all but destroyed this once salubrious planet as a life-support system in fewer than 200 years, mainly by making thermodynamic whoopee with fossil fuels.
The Englishman Michael Faraday built the first dynamo, capable of turning mechanical energy into electricity, only 173 years ago. The first oil well in the United States, now a dry hole, was drilled in Titusville, Pennsylvania, by Edwin L. Drake only 145 years ago. The German Karl Benz built the first automobile powered by an internal combustion engine only 119 years ago.
The American Wright brothers, of course, built and flew the first airplane only 101 years ago. It was powered by gasoline. You want to talk about irresistible whoopee?
A booby trap.
Fossil fuels, so easily set alight! Yes, and as Bush and Kerry are out campaigning, we are presently touching off nearly the very last whiffs and drops and chunks of them. All lights are about to go out. No more electricity. All forms of transportation are about to stop, and the planet Earth will soon have a crust of skulls and bones and dead machinery.
And nobody can do a thing about it. It’s too late in the game. Don’t spoil the party, but here’s the truth: We have squandered our planet’s resources, including air and water, as though there were no tomorrow, so now there isn’t going to be one.
So there goes the Junior Prom, but that’s not the half of it.
October 29, 2004
Kurt Vonnegut is a legendary author, WWII veteran, humanist, artist, smoker and In These Times senior editor. His classic works include Slaughterhouse-Five, Breakfast of Champions, Cat's Cradle, among many others. His most recent book, A Man Without a Country, collects many of the articles written for this magazine.
原载In these Times