Tuesday, 12 April 2016


I should explain

I recently commented on a Comment on Facebook –
So it goes

I wrote this without much thought since this little expression is one that I often use. It can sum up what I am thinking rather well.

The saying comes from the late Kurt Vonnegut, particularly from his novel Slaughterhouse 5 in which he writes it a lot. I think that at one time 'So it goes' would have been quite widely recognised. The book concerns the fire-bombing of Dresden, an event that Kurt Vonnegut had experienced personally, on the ground, as a prisoner of war.

Reflecting on what I had written on Facebook I realise that nowadays 'So it goes' might not be widely understood when used in such a stand-alone, decontextualised way – so I should explain myself.

In an obituary article, Alex Clark described Kurt Vonnegut's writing as
...a way of registering his anger and bewilderment at the harm visited upon innocents by nations, governments and corporations seeking to shore up their power through obfuscation and cant.

In the hum-drum world in which I have lived and worked, 'So it goes' sums up my own anger and bewilderment at such things.

I have noticed that Norman Perrin writes it quite a bit too.


Clark, A. (2007) Kurt Vonnegut: so it goes, Guardian, 15 April



Blogger NormanP said...

So it goes. C'est la vie. Anger? Not so much nowadays - too old for the waste of energy. Bewilderment? Increasingly - at the power of "obfuscation and cant" and the willingness to underachieve. So it goes. But definitely not with a 'shrug of the shoulders', definitely not in resignation. Vonnegut, I suggest, did not mean "So it goes" in any sense of resignation, certainly not one leading to 'throwing in the towel'.

Thursday, 14 April 2016 at 14:54:00 BST  

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