Dispatches from Suburbia

If I played an instrument, I would have a band called "The Simon Thomsen Sex Tape"; and other musings, rants, and disconnected ramblings.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Eulogy for Kurt Vonnegut

(Normally, on Thursdays, I post my Current Obsessions. But, out of a somber respect for Mr. Vonnegut, I shall postpone until tomorrow.)

Quote of the Day: "You talk about the gluttonous Roaring Twenties. That was nothing. We're crazy, going crazy, about petroleum. It's a drug like crack cocaine. Of course, the lunatic fringe of Christianity is welcoming the end of the world as the rapture. So I'm Jeremiah. It's going to have to stop. I'm sorry."
-Kurt Vonnegut, RollingStone, August 2006

As usual, in the above quote Kurt Vonnegut hints at an imminent apocalypse, and he's been doing it since before I was born, and yet I still agree with him. I'm convinced, and somehow I'm able to deal with it due to the healthy dose of cynicism instilled in me by Vonnegut himself.

In addition to his darkly humorous way of helping me cope with my dire environment, Vonnegut provides a new, fresh perspective, which is why Cat's Cradle or Slaughterhouse-5 sits on so many dormitory bookshelves. In high school, I think most of us have that experience where we get high with friends and discuss how time is a man-made concept, and it seems like a huge epiphany. Then we graduate and realized that pretty much everybody has had that same discussion.

So it's a simple philosophy. But in Slaughterhouse-5 Vonnegut makes it a complex one. Billy Pilgrim becomes "unstuck in time," and we're presented a world in which time actually is an uncontrollable confinement. It's undeniably brilliant.

And so it goes. Vonnegut's work, "deceptively simple" as my father so eloquently describes it, forces the reader, in compulsively readable terms, to acknowledge the barriers humans create for themselves. It's absurdly profound.

Through his dark subject matter, his frightening apocalyptic visions, and his portrayal of self-consuming human nature--that strange tendency to lock ourselves in--one is suddenly liberated, and we can breathe again. God bless you, Mr. Vonnegut, and thanks for the real epiphanies.


At 1:16 PM, Blogger JR's Thumbprints said...

I had met Kurt Vonnegut back in 1984 as he gave a speech at our university. A friend of mine picked him up from the airport. I'm not certain, but it seem Mr. V had had a few too many drinks, however, he gave one hell of a speech. I had thought about doing a post on him today, but I didn't think my story was relevant as a eulogy.

At 1:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was great. Kurt Vonnegut was an amazing person. I wish I, too had the priviledge of meeting him. He will be remembered as an icon.

At 10:08 PM, Blogger mist1 said...

I regret that I never met him. I am sure that we would have been lovers.

At 5:39 AM, Blogger Sheila said...

awww how sad!!!!!!

At 1:37 PM, Blogger Michelle's Spell said...

Great elegy -- I love his writing, especially Mother Night.

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Erik Donald France said...

Awesome. Viva KV, RIP! 84 is a pretty good age to go out with a bang.


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