Kurt Vonnegut, permanently unstuck in time at 84
Kurt Vonnegut, November 11, 1922 – April 11, 2007.
I was up at 4:00 a.m. last night working on my book when I heard about Kurt Vonnegut's death. THAT REALLY REALLY REALLY SUCKS. First Molly Ivins, now Kurt Vonnegut!
After picking up my parents' copies of Slaughter-House Five and Cat's Cradle one summer in junior high, I spent two feverish weeks reading two Vonnegut books per day until I had exhausted my local library's collection. Masheka and I just saw the excellent movie version of Slaughter-House Five for the first time last week.
I just hope no mainstream editorial cartoonists draw any misguided tribute cartoons showing Vonnegut arriving in Heaven or meeting St. Peter or whatever--he was a famous secular humanist and socialist and anti-war activist and proud of it, and that would be really disrespectful to his memory, not to mention idiotic.
Here's a great Vonnegut quote, from a column in In These Times:
By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas in December.
UPDATE: I stand corrected. August Pollak tells me that as an atheist, Vonnegut said it would be hilarious if people talked about him going to Heaven!:
Do you know what a Humanist is? I am honorary president of the American Humanist Association, having succeeded the late, great science fiction writer Isaac Asimov in that functionless capacity. We Humanists try to behave well without any expectation of rewards or punishments in an afterlife. We serve as best we can the only abstraction with which we have any real familiarity, which is our community.
We had a memorial services for Isaac a few years back, and at one point I said, ''Isaac is up in Heaven now.'' It was the funniest thing I could have said to a group of Humanists. I rolled them in the aisles. It was several minutes before order could be restored. And if I should ever die, God forbid, I hope you will say, ''Kurt is up in Heaven now.'' That’s my favorite joke.