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Goodbye Kurt

April 13, 2007

I was lucky enough, in High School, to have “Cat’s Cradle” as assigned reading. I remember not knowing what to expect, and I soon found out that there was no way that I could have ever expected the unique beauty that is a Kurt Vonnnegut book. The ideas, the commentary in the book was so lofty, but he managed to keep it all grounded and relate able. As a moody teenager, I could appreciate his trademark dark humor. It was a true blessing to be introduced to that book, because it opened me up to Breakfast of Champions, Slaughterhouse 5, Sirens of Titan and so many other dark, satirical and weird masterpieces. I’m an avid fan of both sci-fi and comedy, so his work was a regular Reese’s Cup to me.

And now he’s gone. I checked AintItCoolNews.com before I went to sleep last night, and the first article announced that Kurt Vonnegut died at the age of 84. They wrote a really nice and really long passage about him here. It’s not really a surprise, he’s 84 and he smoked for nearly his whole life, but it’s a real loss. Not only to the world of literature, but to the world at large. I’m not the kind to mourn the loss of a celebrity of any kind, but his death actually depresses me. This is a guy that contibuted a lot to my intellectual growth when I was growing up, for better or worse, and I’ve never read anything by him that I didn’t like. And I think the world needs him – he’s an insane voice of reason amidst a throng of the unreasonably sane. Plus, he has a cool mustache. My mom nailed his philosophy on the head in an email to me today:

He thought the world was intrinsically crazy and the best we could do was to help each other muddle through it.”

Right on Mom. You nailed it. Here’s another great way of describing him, from the brilliant Jessica Hagy:

There’s so much I could say about him, so much more he deserves as a proper Eulogy, but I’ll stop here. If you haven’t read him, I strongly urge you to pick up just one of the books mentioned above. They’re all worth the 10 bucks, promise. In honor of him, I’ll end this thusly – not with a tear, but with this: Ting-a-ling!

ADDENDUM: Kurt’s Wikipedia page

ADDENDUM 2: Here’s some Great Vonnegut Quotes. Click!

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