Sunday, April 15, 2007

Kurt is up in heaven now.

I was sad to hear that Kurt Vonnegut passed away last week. He was 84 and led a long and full life. Here is a link to a good article. I still remember the first time I read Cat's Cradle and Slaughter House Five and Breakfast of Champions. I very much enjoyed his works that I read, even if he did love the "anti-hero" a bit too much.

In his honor, here are some of my favorite quotes of Kurt Vonnegut's that I have saved. Starting with the most appropriate one from his work A Man Without a Country: " I am, incidentally, Honorary President of the American Humanist Association, having succeeded the late, great science fiction writer Isaac Asimov in that totally functionless capacity. We had a memorial service for Isaac a few years back, and I spoke and said at one point, "Isaac is up in heaven now." It was the funniest thing I could have said to an audience of humanists. I rolled them in the aisles. It was several minutes before order could be restored. And if I should ever die, God forbid, I hope you will say, "Kurt is up in heaven now." That's my favorite joke." -- Kirt Vonnegut

Other personal favorite Kurt Vonnegut quotes:

Be careful what you pretend to be because you are what you pretend to be. (or a different version) We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.

Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.

True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.

I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.

We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.

Beer, of course, is actually a depressant. But poor people will never stop hoping otherwise.

I have this disease late at night sometimes, involving alcohol and the telephone.

History is merely a list of surprises. It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again.

The two real political parties in America are the Winners and the Losers. The people don't acknowledge this. They claim membership in two imaginary parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, instead.

The public health authorities never mention the main reason many Americans have for smoking heavily, which is that smoking is a fairly sure, fairly honorable form of suicide.

One of the few good things about modern times: If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us.

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.

If you can do a half-assed job of anything, you're a one-eyed man in a kingdom of the blind.

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?

Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae.

Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before.

We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap.

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

If people think nature is their friend, then they sure don't need an enemy.

Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter could be said to remedy anything.

Still and all, why bother? Here's my answer. Many people need desperately to receive this message: I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.


Rachel Jaye Brenner said...

When my friend's father told her about Vonnegut's death, she said "so it goes" and he got very offended before she explained it was from Slaughterhouse-Five.
Ah, Kurt.

If you remember my first blog post, I mentioned how I was writing a paper about Slaughterhouse-Five. That was the book that got me really genuinely interested in English lit this year (which lead to an interest in writing, which lead to my current obsession with writing! So, in a way, Kurt Vonnegut = my obsession with writing!)

Lori said...

"I have this disease late at night sometimes, involving alcohol and the telephone."

I have the same disease!! Only it variously includes the cell phone, email, and blogging!!!