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Author Topic: So It Goes
Papal Bull
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posted 11 April 2007 07:45 PM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Goddammit, you've got to be kind

RIP Kurt Vonnegut.


From: Vatican's best darned ranch | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
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posted 11 April 2007 07:50 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
WHAT? No! He can't die!
From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Life, the universe, everything
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posted 11 April 2007 07:53 PM      Profile for Life, the universe, everything     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different."
My favourite quote of his. Thank you for farting around with us for awhile.

From: a little to the left - a bit more-there perfect | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged
Coyote
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posted 11 April 2007 08:38 PM      Profile for Coyote   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh, no.
From: O’ for a good life, we just might have to weaken. | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 11 April 2007 09:06 PM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
If this isn't nice, what is?

God damn it. I love this man with all my heart. I have never wept for an author I love until today.


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Papal Bull
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posted 11 April 2007 10:34 PM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I myself have been tearing up a bit about this whole thing. Normally I don't get emotional when this stuff happens. However, this is a particularly sad instance in that Vonnegut is so much more than a simple author. His books were journals of a soul that was forced to see the depravity of humanities deepest seated wrongs. We need people like Kurt Vonnegut so that we can see through their eyes what is wrong. So that they can influence people to make conditions different so that no one has to experience those awful, awful times and write about it.

This death comes as a shock to me because Slaughterhouse V was the first real counterculture piece that introduced me to the world at large. Vonnegut completely and utterly changed my views on so many matters. This is what shocked me, I always assumed that he would exist forever. He has a timeless quality to him, like a Tralfamadorian, reading Billy Pilgrim's Children's Crusade is potent and effective whether Billy is my age or an old man about to die or a middle age man in a zoo. For Vonnegut, despite his old age, he stood there and was someone that I could see as not too different from the average person. He was the same base human as anyone, but saw those things that people should not have to see. And that is what made him so real to me. An author is a distant monument to whatever it is they write about. Vonnegut took his experiences that changed his life and moulded the English language and everything to express those experiences. As the experiences shaped him they also shaped the way he used language - a sort of transition. He eshewed conventions and smashed through traditions and pesimistically blasphemed and swore his way to an optimistic point somewhere over the horizon.


From: Vatican's best darned ranch | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 11 April 2007 11:13 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Shit, there goes my good mood. I'll have a hard time accepting he's gone too PB. But he'll still be there in his work. Can't think of many others from that era that hold up so well or come back so easily still. Damn.
From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 12 April 2007 07:30 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Where's the cat? Where's the cradle?
From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Farmpunk
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posted 12 April 2007 08:31 AM      Profile for Farmpunk     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2006/200602/20060201.

A great piece of radio for Vonnegut fans. I don't think AnnaMaria enjoyed the interview as much as KV. There's a section in that interview where he talks about a book he never wrote, about the absurdity of modern North American life. He was basically just repeating how we live our day to day lives. Somehow he made this funny.

When are the next generation of crusty counter-cultural (maybe counter-counter-culture works better?) writers coming along?


From: SW Ontario | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 12 April 2007 08:48 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I remember that interview. It was amazing. But your link is wrong, fp (you're missing the .html at the end). Try here

ETA: I just listened to it again, and I cracked up again at this line:

quote:
Vonnegut: People, about to be executed. One man being marched off to the gallows and saying "this day is certainly beginning well."

And of course, none of this is funny. And there was a man...It used to be in Chicago that they would execute people in Cook County Jail, because the electric chair was there...and one man was strapped into the electric chair, and when they put the hood over his head, he said, "This will certainly teach me a lesson."

Doesn't it make you proud of being a human being? That we could say that?


[ 12 April 2007: Message edited by: Catchfire ]


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Farmpunk
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posted 12 April 2007 09:03 AM      Profile for Farmpunk     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Good call. I was trying to avoid the dreaded sidescroll by deleting the html. Farmpunks and computers don't always mix.

I love that interview, and think of it often. He was an ornery old cuss.


From: SW Ontario | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 12 April 2007 09:21 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Anna Maria Tremonti: Kurt Vonnegut, thanks for talking to me today.

Kurt Vonnegut: Go jump in a lake. [laughs]


Amazing.


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
jrose
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posted 12 April 2007 09:37 AM      Profile for jrose     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Wow. One of my first big steps into the world of literature outside of my high school classroom was Slaughter House Five. I went on to read many of his books, and now I guess it’s time to dust them off and read them again. What a loss!
From: Ottawa | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
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posted 12 April 2007 01:07 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I guess my first post was a bit of a gut reaction. I knew Vonnegut was getting old, hadn't been in great health, was frequently depressed, and had suffered from serious depression earlier in his life. In one sense, it's impressive that he made it this far without giving into the despair like Spalding Gray or Hunter Thompson did. But on a gut level, I guess I didn't actually think he could die.

As a writer, Vonnegut had his flaws. He spent the last few decades of his writing career retreading the same ground that he did in the first decade, to much lesser effect, sometimes to the point of becoming a parody of himself. Yet many writers do that. When you produce such brilliance in your first several books, how do you follow it up without disappointing people?

And he was criticized for his writing style, but I liked Contrarian's line in an earlier thread here about Vonnegut: "I found his very simplistic prose to be irritating, as in Slaughterhouse Five. But the ideas are not simplistic."

Well, at least we still have Harlan Ellison, knock on wood. As for "the next generation of crusty counter-cultural" writers ... maybe Nick Hornby? There's echoes in his books of Vonnegut's themes and of his tone.


From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
minkepants
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posted 12 April 2007 01:17 PM      Profile for minkepants     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Catchfire:
If this isn't nice, what is?

God damn it. I love this man with all my heart. I have never wept for an author I love until today.


Me too

quote:
1492. The teachers told the children that this was when their continent was discovered by human beings. Actually, millions of human beings were already living full and imaginative lives on the continent in 1492. That was simply the year in which sea pirates began to cheat and rob and kill them.

From: Scarborough | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 12 April 2007 01:35 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In the past week I saw two different young people(early 20's) reading Vonnegut on the subway, I thought perhaps he was having a resergence. If only there were more like him and more who listened to his wisdom.
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Tommy_Paine
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posted 12 April 2007 02:20 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I wonder.

Maybe his body should be plasticized and put on a mountaintop.

Thumbing his nose to the heavens.


Hi ho.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
minkepants
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posted 12 April 2007 03:00 PM      Profile for minkepants     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Yes, and I lifted my old hands from the folded bedding and I clapped three times. Here was what that was all about, as silly as it was: Those three claps completed a rowdy song I never liked, and which I had not thought about for thirty years or more....

Perfect blankness, when I achieved it, lasted only ten seconds or so- and then it would be wrecked by the song, sung loudly and clearly in my head by an alien voice, which required for its completion that I clap three times. The words were highly offensive to me when I first heard them, which was at a drunken stag party at Harvard during my freshman year. It was a song to be kept secret from women. It may be that no woman ever heard it, even at this late date. The intent of the lyricist, obviously, was to so coarsen the feelings of males who sang the song that the singers could never believe again what most of us believed with all our hearts back then: that women were more spiritual, more sacred than men.

I still believe that about women. Is that, too, comical? I have loved only four women in my life- my mother,my late wife, a woman to whom I was once affianced, and one other...Let it be said now, though, that that all four seemed more virtuous, braver about life, and closer to the secrets of the universe than I could ever be.

Be that as it may, I will now set down the words to this frightful song. And even though I have been technically responsible, because of my high position in a corporate structure in recent years, for the publication of some of the mose sscurrilous books about women ever written, I still find myself shrinking from setting on paper, where they have perhaps never been before, the words to the song.

Readers of the words should realize, too, that I heard them sung not by middle-aged roughnecks, but by college boys, by children, really, who, with a Great Depression going on and with a Second World War coming, and with most of them mocked by their own virginity, had reason to be petrified of all the things that women of their time would expect of them. Women would expect them to earn good money after they graduated, and they did not see how they could do that, with all the businesses shutting down. Women would expect them to be brave soldiers, and there seemed every chance that they would go to pieces when the shrapnel and bullets flew. Who could be absolutely reponsible for his actions when the shrapnel and bullets flew? There would be flame throwers and poison gas. There would be terrific bangs. The man standing beside you could have his head blown off- and his throat would become a fountain.

And women, when they became their wives, would expect them to be perfect lovers even on their wedding night- subtle, tender, raffish, respectful,titillatingly debauched, and knowing as much about the reproductive organs of both sexes as Harvard Medical School.

I recall a discussion of a daring magazine article that appeared at that time. It told of the frequency of sexual intercourse by American males in various professions and trades. Firemen were the most ardent, making love ten times a week. College professors were the least ardent, making love once a month. And a classmate of mine, who, as it happened, would actually be killed in the Second World War, shook his head mournfully and said, "Gee- I'd give anything to be a college professor."

The shocking song, then, may really have been a way of honoring the powers of women, of dealing with the fears they inspired. It might properly becompared with making a song making fun of lions, sung by lion hunters on a night before a hunt.

The words were these:

Sally in the garden,
Sifting cinders,
Lifted up her leg
And farted like a man.
The bursting of her bloomers
Broke sixteen winders.
The cheeks of her ass went-

Here the singers, in order to complete the stanza, were required to clap three times.


Jailbird. 1979

[ 12 April 2007: Message edited by: minkepants ]


From: Scarborough | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged
siren
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posted 12 April 2007 09:08 PM      Profile for siren     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In A Man Without a Country, he repeats something his Uncle Alex used to say when they were sitting under an apple tree, chatting and drinking lemonade.

"Uncle Alex would suddenly interrupt the agreeable blather to exclaim, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.' "

It is a saying he now carries around with him, and he urges everyone to "please notice when you are happy."


From: Of course we could have world peace! But where would be the profit in that? | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
jrose
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posted 13 April 2007 02:25 PM      Profile for jrose     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I love the tribute on the front page of Wilco's website: http://www.wilcoworld.net/
From: Ottawa | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
minkepants
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posted 13 April 2007 03:37 PM      Profile for minkepants     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.
Armistice Day has become Veterans' Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans' Day is not.
So I will throw Veterans' Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don't want to throw away any sacred things.
What else is sacred? Oh, Romeo and Juliet, for instance.
And all music is.

From: Scarborough | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
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posted 18 April 2007 11:33 AM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Keith Gottschalk
quote:
It's the morning of April 12, 1945, the day U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died. Winston Churchill remarked that on hearing the news it was “as if I had been struck a physical blow.”

I felt that way the morning I heard that Kurt Vonnegut had died.

I did what I normally do in the morning before going off to a useless job at a soulless American bookseller chain – I switched between two cable “news” channels CNN and MSNBC.

I was treated to non-stop stories about Don Imus. White people bloviating about Imus. Non-white people bloviating about Imus over and over again, ad nauseum. Imus may have been off television but television was not through with him.

I fired up my laptop and the AP headline leapt out at me like a rock to the head: “Author Kurt Vonnegut Dies at 84.”

And the tears came. Not so much for Kurt whose own website now shows only an open birdcage (it looks like one of his own drawings) but for all of us in America. I read several obits while switching between news channels in vain, hoping one of the models-turned-newsreaders would mention the passing of an original American genius. ...



From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Boarsbreath
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posted 19 April 2007 05:53 PM      Profile for Boarsbreath   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
...an open birdcage. That starts a tear.

One obit quoted him saying all he ever believed he learned in Civics, in grade six, at PS 74, in the Great Depression. It included the virtue of being a great country with a tiny army.

Really, he's just what America could be, and almost is in so many of its people, labouring though they somehow do to produce their execrable public life.


From: South Seas, ex Montreal | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged

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