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Thursday, April 12

Kurt Vonnegut died yesterday....." So it goes"

"I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.”

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”

So many are my favorites.... a perceptive man indeed.

RIP Kurt Vonnegut. Your humanist ways and OH SO WISE words will always be remembered.


Here is the NYT's obit

and here is the WaPo write-up

They both forgot to mention one of his books -- "Hocus Pocus". I also forgot about that book until I read an article that Pierre (Candide's Notebooks) just put up:

Notes from My Bed of Gloom
Why the Joking Had to Stop
Kurt Vonnegut / New York Times, April 22, 1990


"My generalization is happily or unhappily confirmed by scholarship: in a book called ''Punchlines'' by William Keough. The subtitle is ''The Violence of American Humor.'.... Mr Keough persuades me that the most memorable jokes by Americans are responses to the economic and physical violence of this society. ''How often does it seem that the American humorist, having set out daringly and lightly as an amused observer of the American spectacle of violence and corruption, ends up mouthing sardonic fables in a bed of gloom,'' he writes.

So guess what: my next novel, ''Hocus Pocus,'' to be published next September, is a sardonic fable in a bed of gloom. Inevitable. ''Violence, the inspiration of much American humor, outlives it,'' says Mr. Keough. ''When the jokes grow cold, the guns - unfortunately -are still hot.''

(I-man, this sounds like a MUST READ for you)


Hmmm.....maybe some of our other fine MSM folk will mention "Hocus Pocus" over the next few days of mourning? I'll have to dig that one out. Hubby's got them all. I've never read it --

From the The New York Times Book Review Desk: "It's a retrospective first-person narrative told by one Eugene Debs Hartke and purportedly written in prison on scraps of paper, each scrap a thought, story or digression unto itself - a form ideally suited to Mr. Vonnegut's thumbnail essayistic bent and his high-speed forward- and reverse-narrative time travel."

"Hartke is a graduate of West Point and a veteran of the Vietnam War, a thoughtful but not tormented man who killed many human beings on the orders of his Government and dispensed many official lies as an information officer. After leaving Vietnam and the Army he becomes a teacher at Tarkington College in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, a gentle institution that specializes in nurturing the dyslexic and moronic sons and daughters of the ruling class."

"Like Eugene Debs Hartke, Mr. Vonnegut has always been a pessimist - ''a pillar of salt,'' as he describes himself in his novel ''Slaughterhouse-Five.'' Like Lot's wife, he looks back at the carnage. In this case, he also looks forward, somewhat in the manner of another biblical personage, Jeremiah."

"The bitter ironies in his books have always been tempered by a whimsical stoicism, despair averted by glimpses of individual compassion and the mild palliative of ''harmless untruths'' like the pleasantly ditsy religion of Bokononism in ''Cat's Cradle.''

He is a satirist with a heart, a moralist with a whoopee cushion, a cynic who wants to believe."

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