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Saturday, April 14, 2007


So that was Kurt Vonnegut. All done.

I'm glad we got him. He was good.

My wife wrote a paper on Kurt Vonnegut when she was at Boston College. The faculty resisted heavily because Kurt Vonnegut was considered a "popular" author - and a writer of science fiction, heavens forbid - and so beneath academic study. But she won out.

I haven't read as much Kurt Vonnegut as I should - another peculiar result of my tendency toward avoiding things that I know will make me happier. But I will. I will read more. I will read "Slaughterhouse Five" (1969), for example. I remember "Slaughterhouse Five" sitting on desks of friends in high school. I think they must have been reading it for a class. Very enlightened high school I went to.

I read "Cat's Cradle" (1963) and "The Sirens Of Titan" (1959) a couple years back. They were fascinating and very, very funny. Reading them, I had the suspicion I was being distracted by a first-rate entertainment, so the writer could, in the meantime, perform some fine-tuning of my mental and spiritual state.

Certainly, Vonnegut's service during WWII, and his first-hand experience of the bombing of Dresden and its aftermath, are key influences in any study of his work and absurist point of view. Perhaps experiencing such horror first-hand produces an understanding that the most vital things must never be approached with an attitude of gravity:

"Who am I to shade this staggering moment with so light and shallow brow!"

Dresden, ca. 1900

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At http://www.crooksandliars.com/
there is a clip of the Fox News "obit" on KV - which is an unabashed insult and slander of the man.

They hated him and can't keep from saying so. Calling him irrelevant, radical and miserable. I am sure he would consider this a great compliment coming from Fox, but it makes my blood boil.

- By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Apr 17, 04:22:00 PM GMT+1  

Hmm, first the "Swiftboaters". Now the...Dresdeners?

"That Vonnegut! He was anti-American. Why, he didn't even spit on the German corpses when we was in Dresden. But me? I like to watch the spit sizzle."

- By Blogger Neal Romanek, at Tue Apr 17, 05:20:00 PM GMT+1  

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