Like Mark Twain, Mr. Vonnegut used humor to tackle the basic questions of human existence: Why are we in this world? Is there a presiding figure to make sense of all this, a god who in the end, despite making people suffer, wishes them well?
He also shared with Twain a profound pessimism. “Mark Twain,” Mr. Vonnegut wrote in his 1991 book, “Fates Worse Than Death: An Autobiographical Collage,” “finally stopped laughing at his own agony and that of those around him. He denounced life on this planet as a crock. He died.”
Ha! I know, I suspect that Joyce Carol Oates wraps tinfoil around her head. (Don't they have TV's at Princeton?) - L.M. 4-12-2007 9:21 am
Aw, I just heard about his passing...and I also posted a little something.
I'll have to come back in the morning to watch the videos because it is rather late here and I better not make noise!
I loved his novels and I loved the movie Slaughter House five so much!! He was a writer, maybe even the first writer I went out of my way to read everything he wrote.
Remember his famous university graduation speech back in the 90's? It got laid over some pop music tracks?
Hey have an awesome opening! I gave you a holla over at Mr.A's too. I hope you have a huge turnout of visitors and sell lots!!!! - Candy Minx (guest) 4-12-2007 10:36 am
I also read everything of his I could get a hold of -- complete through Jailbird, and spotty after that. I started with Welcome to the Monkey House, which my mom let me borrow back in the mid-seventies.
One of my favorite bits is the sermon (from Palm Sunday?) he delivered about the line "we shall always have the poor among us." His take is that it was a sarcastic joke that has suffered from both poor translation and removal from context.
Jesus was tired. He knew the end was just a few days away. He was given the gift of a precious ointment and a foot massage -- quite treat in a day in which feet were the primary means of transportation. And Judas starts in on what a waste of money it was. They should sell it and give the money to the poor. Jesus.says, "Don't worry Judas, they'll be plenty of poor people left after I'm dead."
"I would tell them, too, what I don't have to tell this particular congregation, that jokes can be noble. Laughs are exactly as honorable as tears. Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion, to the futility of thinking and striving anymore. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning-up to do afterward-and since I can start thinking and striving again that much sooner."
- L.M. 4-12-2007 8:00 pm
"Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?"
I am still searching for the answer to that one.
Thank you, Mr. Vonnegut.
- tino (guest) 4-13-2007 11:37 pm
Not to mention:
"These straw hats are so cheap you can run 'em through your horse and put 'em on your roses." - M.Jean 4-14-2007 12:57 am