Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut

I had planned not to blog anymore. But sometimes you have to say something. And Kurt Vonnegut's death at the age of 84 is one of those moments that requires comment.

Growing up in my family, Kurt Vonnegut was very much a part of my life. Kurt Vonnegut was referred to as the 'conscience of America' by my mother, and my dad had an inordinate fondness for Vonnegut's famous Slaughterhouse 5 quote regarding flying and donuts and what you do to the donuts while flying. Kilgore Trout was a household name. In 10th grade, to aid a presentation on Slaughterhouse 5, I filmed a recreation of the aftermath of the firebombing of Dresden in an abandoned burned out factory housing complex in Detroit.

Vonnegut was a master at drawing out the absurdities of American life, and life in general. His wit remained undiminished even late in life, and his books are rich with imagination and sensitivity to the fragility of the human condition. At the same time, there is something Midwestern about his approach to things - an undefinable way of looking at situations and events that evokes middle America in the most satirical, yet somehow loving way possible.

It is impossible for me to step back and evaluate Vonnegut objectively - to me he was part of my family growing up, even if I never came close to meeting him. His books, along with those of Douglas Adams, served as a meeting point for my mother's classical literary bent and my dad's penchant for sci-fi, leaving me in the middle, comfortably nestled in the surreality of Vonnegut's world.

With Vonnegut's death, the US has lost one of its last truly great figures - larger than life, both in terms of personality and intellect, Vonnegut was an American literary man who was unafraid to criticize what most needed to be criticized about the US, and who could criticize intelligently and with wit while never losing touch of the essence of human nature. His voice will be missed.

13 Comments:

Anonymous not anonymous & likes lesbians said...

A PRAYER FOR THE DYING

God made mud.

God got lonesome.

So God said to some of the mud, ‘Sit up!’

‘See all I’ve made,’ said God, ‘the hills, the sea, the sky, the stars.’

And I was some of the mud that got to sit up and look around.

Lucky me, lucky mud.

I, mud, sat up and saw what a nice job God had done.

Nice going, God!

Nobody but You could have done it, God! I certainly couldn’t have.

I feel very unimportant compared to You.

The only way I can feel the least bit important is to think of all the mud that didn’t even get to sit up and look around.

I got so much and most mud got so little.

Thank you for the honor.

Now mud lies down again and goes to sleep.

What memories for mud to have!

What interesting other kinds of sitting-up mud I met!

I loved everything I saw!

Good night.



From Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes I wonder, if most people posting here are nuts?! Then I wonder again, and then I think, "Most of them have blown the fuses!"
I still wonder, can they actually comment on the topic? Or is posting here, another way for them to release their fears, anger, and stereotypes of all kind?
Seriously, go and see a shrink, it might not be too late!

11:00 PM  
Anonymous not anonymous said...

The prayer for the dying posted above was the Bokononist last rites, appearing in Vonnegut's novel Cat's Cradle (among his best), and therefore arguably not just a version of saying goodbye to the world from Vonnegut but arguably his own. It was as indisputably relevant to a post on Vonnegut's impact and reception as any other Vonnegut passage, and in terms of its feeling more so. What reason could you possibly have for claiming that it was incoherent or irrelevant? Have the comments here ever been terribly exclusive or even regular? Are there some regular but invisible "strictly relevant" comments I am unaware of?

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I wrote above was the result of me reading many of the comments here on this blog. Not about the particular comment above!
Kurt Vonnegut was never my favorite, so I cannot comment on him. I'd say Alfred Elton van Vogt is more of my preference on the sci-fi side of things. But he died 7 years ago, so it's too late, I guess.
Peace! :)

12:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more thing, in case you are NGF, I suggest you take a look at Vadim Kirpichenko's first book, published back in the early 1990s. You might find some interesting info about the 1973 war, among other relevant issues!
Just my 2 cents.

12:51 AM  
Anonymous not anonymous said...

NGF?

12:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NGF = Norman G. Finkelstein

7:23 PM  
Anonymous not yet imprisoned said...

Wasn't this the place where I heard a pedantic reaching claim that the British state of the art panopticon was the same thing as squamous and inherent Italian corruption manifesting in numerous security agencies?
Are the Italians literally making a machine that reads everyone's lips?
Do you see a difference between helping your cousin pay for his mistress with yet another bureaucratic office and wanting to monitor all speech?

11:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4 Israelis arrested at Secretary of State
Canton Township Police said they arrested four men from Israel at a Michigan Secretary of State office Tuesday, after they tried to obtain driver's licenses using false addresses in Ann Arbor.
Detective Sgt. Rick Pomorski said federal officials took custody of one of the men for a visa violation, but left the other three with police after questioning them and determining the men were probably telling the truth when they said they wanted a license so it would be easier to tour America.
The act is a five-year felony.

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Polish weekly slams Israeli youth
Article published in Polish newspaper accuses Israeli teens of trashing hotel rooms, traumatizing locals during educational visits to country
Itamar Eichner, YNet, 05.21.07

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3402765,00.html

The relationship between Israel and Poland is in danger, according to Israel’s Ambassador to Poland, David Peleg. Peleg expressed concern for the good relations between the two countries, following the publication of an article in the Polish-language Przekroj weekly, which accused Israeli teens of damaging hotel rooms and traumatizing locals during visits to Poland. About 25,000 Israeli teens visit Poland each year. Accompanied by Shin Bet security guards, the teens visit concentration camps, and learn about the Holocaust. Recently, there has been an increase in the amount of reports in the Polish press concerning the unruly behavior of the these visitors. The article published in Przekroj, titled “Young Israeli’s run amok in Poland”, describes incidents of Israeli teens playing football in the hotel hallway at 2 am, burning carpets, breaking furniture, and leaving a mess in their beds and sinks. Other teens were accused of hiring a stripper, and still others were said to have humiliated flight attendants while flying with the Polish Lot Airlines. The article also criticized Shin Bet guards, and featured quotes by locals claiming that the guards beat them and forced them to undergo humiliating security checks. Polish sources involved in the planning of the trips told the Polish weekly that the itineraries only included visits to concentration camps. “From that perspective, Poland looks like one big Jewish cemetery, nothing more,” said Ilona Dworak-Cousin, chairman of the Israel Poland Friendship Association. "The Israeli youth sees Poles as second-class humans, and treat them as potential enemies”, said Professor Moshe Zimmerman of the Hebrew University’s History Department. Peleg said that such articles portrayed Israel’s youth in a negative light, and endangered the future of such trips. Education Ministry Director-General Shmuel Abuav questioned the credibility of the article, and said that the incidents it described would be investigated if proven true.

Does anyone who actually knows real Jewish teenagers have any doubt anywhere in their heads that the "accusations" are probably true? Does anyone know how to translate this evil pilpul lawyerese garbage "will be investigated if proven true" into English? They will be investigated if you already investigated them and have already proven them true? What Jew is going to trust any Pole investigating whether or not the sun exists, let alone something that could make any Jew look bad? This is what you get for befriending someone who thinks he is inherently better than you.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fuck the cia

11:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We Are Screwed: 70% of American intel budget for unaccountable mercenary spies

2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!

5:40 PM  

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