Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut

I like a world with Kurt Vonnegut in it a lot better than I like a world without him, so obviously I have some adjusting to do. I don’t think anyone will ever fill Mark Twain’s shoes, but Vonnegut came closer than anybody else in the 20th century. Like Twain, his view of humanity was pretty bleak, but his sense of humor was ever-present.
My favorite book of his is probably “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater.”
Here’s a quote from that book, as Mr. Rosewater tells earth’s newcomers what they need to know:

“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’ ”

Would that people like Don Imus had internalized this message when he came to earth. I am so tired of seeing hate passed off as humor. I am so tired of people like Imus being called “shock jocks”. Unfortunately nowadays, being cruel and hateful and narrow-minded is no longer shocking. What shocks me is when someone is kind.
Rest in peace -- and God bless you, Mr. Vonnegut.


DONALD said...

Thanks for that -- so true!

DONALD said...

Have put a link for your blog on The New York Times Crossword in Gothic if that is OK.


Norrin2 said...

That's absolutely okay, Donald. I appreciate it.

Ellen said...

We did a "Wordplay" Q&A in June for the Board of Review, and I found out later that Kurt Vonnegut was there (his wife is on the Board). I didn't know what he looked like so I had no clue. Now I'm sorry I didn't get to meet him.

Norrin2 said...

I'm sorry you missed out on that chance to meet him. By all accounts he was warm and friendly in person -- if not always in his writing. Here he is on The Daily Show:
(scroll down almost to the bottom.)

Rex Parker said...

Christ almighty did he die while I was out of the country. I swear that this is the FIRST I've heard of it, just now, here, on your blog.

Well that sucks.

One of the prized parts of my massive old paperback collection is a first edition (paperback first edition!) of _Sirens of Titan_. _Cat's Cradle_ was one of the first grown-up books to blow my mind, shortly after _Catcher in the Rye_ had its turn.

I have to go process this.

That's all.