A little how-to humor for you from How to be a Retronaut.
Back in 1994, I saw Vonnegut do a version of this exercise in person, on a blackboard at Duke. In the lecture I saw, Vonnegut explained that Hamlet was the epitome of real drama, since unlike Cinderella, the story graph is pretty much a straight line. Essentially, Hamlet never learns whether anything that happens is good or bad and nothing is resolved, just like in life. Here’s the published version of the lecture, from A Man Without a Country (scroll down to the *):
Incidentally, Vonnegut made the best exit of any public speaker I’ve ever seen. At the end of his speech, he begrudgingly offered to take questions from the audience, as requested by the Duke speaker organizers. He answered a few fairly lame ones, including a teacher asking what one book should he get his students to read, assuming they would only read one (Vonnegut: “I suppose Genesis is a good place to start.”) Finally, he muttered, “I don’t think much of your questions. Goodnight,” and strolled off stage.
I love these.
Not a lot of actual explanation here, but extra points for style.
YesButNoButYes has put together a handy sheet explaining the important bits of human knowledge, suitable for tacking up in your time machine.
It has something to do with the little city inside.
Also, an important safety tip: you shouldn’t let poets lie to you.
xkcd is here to clear things up: