Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)

Kurt Vonnegut Dies at 84-- according to The New York Times obituary Vonnegut "invented phenomena like chrono-synclastic infundibula (places in the universe where all truths fit neatly together) as well as religions, like the Church of God the Utterly Indifferent and Bokononism."

Most of the memorials written to him today remark on his influence on "counterculture" types beginning in the mid-1960s. These (perhaps imagined) counterculturalists, who awaited publication of each new book as it was published, were at the time held responsible for all kinds of things that the opposite end of the Generation Gap hated. The elders worried about his bad influence. He didn't take serious things seriously enough, and his thoughts on war were problematic for the war in Vietnam. He invented supernatural phenomena and religions that didn't flatter existing beliefs. At all.

I loved Vonnegut. Was he deep or shallow? A bad influence or a good one? I don't care. His books were fun to read, and they captured something important: the futility and excess of the grownups' behavior. I hope I never get as old-minded as the grownups were.

PS: Last night on "The Daily Show" the Moment of Zen showed an inteview of Jon Stewart with Vonnegut. Supports my point: he was the oldest un-grownup we had.

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