Playboy: What do you think Manson’s appeal was to them?
Vonnegut: His willingness to be father. It’s one of the weaknesses of our society that so few people are willing to be father, to be responsible, to be the organizer, to say what’s to be done next. Very few people are up to this. So if somebody is willing to take charge, he is very likely to get followers—more than he knows what to do with. The standard behavior pattern in our society now is for the father to deny he’s father as soon as he possibly can, when the kid is 16 or so. I assume that Charles Manson projected not only a willingness to become father but to remain father and become grandfather and then great-grandfather. There was a permanence there that people haven’t been able to get from their own parents.