Thursday, April 12, 2007

One of my favorite authors, Kurt Vonnegut, died today. It makes me very sad to lose someone like him. He was very funny and a master of satire. Kurt Vonnegut was the modern day Mark Twain. He loved Mark Twain almost as much as I do. Both used humor to keep the awfulness of life at bay. We sure need someone to replace both of these giants in this day and time, but unfortunately there isn’t anyone of their caliber on the horizon.
Vonnegut wrote such great books as Slaughterhouse–Five, Breakfast of Champions, Cat’s Cradle and Galapagos. I especially loved Galapagos. It’s about a boat-load of people who were touring the Galapagos Islands which is famous for Darwin’s book and his theory of evolution. The people on this tour boat were the sole survivors when everyone else in the world suddenly died. The time jumps ahead a million years and the descendants of this handful of people had evolved backward, so they could fish with big jaws which they had developed and they would dive for their food. They no longer needed big brains to survive and constantly referred to their “big brained ancestors.” The book was classic Vonnegut, making fun of us today.
He viewed the environmental problems of today with greenhouses gases and global warming as the immune system of the planet being activated to purge and cleans itself from the disease know as mankind. Vonnegut was considered to be a Humanist. As a matter of fact he was Honorary President of the American Humanist Society. He said,” a humanist is someone who tries to behave as decently, as fairly, and as honorably as they can without any expectations of rewards or punishments in an afterlife. Like Mark Twain, he poked fun at our views of religion but he also said, “ if Christ hadn’t delivered the Sermon on the Mount, with it’s message of mercy, and pity, I wouldn’t want to be a human being. I’d just as soon be a rattlesnake.
I don’t know were Kurt Vonnegut is now. He said, “if anyone said he was in heaven it would be the world funniest joke.” I wouldn’t be surprised if he is not doubled up with laughter now as we are all enjoying the world’s funniest joke.
I know I will miss his writing. I plan to read a lot of it again when I retire. My reading list is really getting long but his books are going to be on top. At least I feel a little better now after writing about him. It was kind of like going to a memorial service to say thank you.


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