Wednesday, April 11, 2007

RIP Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut was the first author that after I read a book (Cat's Cradle, I think) I bought all his other books and read them, too. He hated assholes. Of course, that means he hated Bush.

NYTimes: Kurt Vonnegut, Writer of Classics of the American Counterculture, Dies at 84

In These Times: Kurt Vonnegut vs. the !&#*!@ (2003 interview)

Q: Based on what you’ve read and seen in the media, what is not being said in the mainstream press about President Bush’s policies and the impending war in Iraq?

A: That they are nonsense.

Q: My feeling from talking to readers and friends is that many people are beginning to despair. Do you think that we’ve lost reason to hope?

A: I myself feel that our country, for whose Constitution I fought in a just war, might as well have been invaded by Martians and body snatchers. Sometimes I wish it had been. What has happened, though, is that it has been taken over by means of the sleaziest, low-comedy, Keystone Cops-style coup d’etat imaginable. And those now in charge of the federal government are upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography, plus not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka “Christians,” and plus, most frighteningly, psychopathic personalities, or “PPs.”

To say somebody is a PP is to make a perfectly respectable medical diagnosis, like saying he or she has appendicitis or athlete’s foot. The classic medical text on PPs is The Mask of Sanity by Dr. Hervey Cleckley. Read it! PPs are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care. They cannot care because they are nuts. They have a screw loose!

And what syndrome better describes so many executives at Enron and WorldCom and on and on, who have enriched themselves while ruining their employees and investors and country, and who still feel as pure as the driven snow, no matter what anybody may say to or about them? And so many of these heartless PPs now hold big jobs in our federal government, as though they were leaders instead of sick.

What has allowed so many PPs to rise so high in corporations, and now in government, is that they are so decisive. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reason that they cannot care what happens next. Simply can’t. Do this! Do that! Mobilize the reserves! Privatize the public schools! Attack Iraq! Cut health care! Tap everybody’s telephone! Cut taxes on the rich! Build a trillion-dollar missile shield! Fuck habeas corpus and the Sierra Club and In These Times, and kiss my ass!

The Salon Interview: Kurt Vonnegut (1999)

1 comment:

True Blue Liberal said...

I leafed through a few old Vonnegut books last night when I heard the news and I found and posted this, from a very short piece in "Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons" from the mid-seventies:

"When I think about my own death, I don't console myself with the idea that my descendants and my books and all that will live on. Anybody with any sense knows that the whole solar system will go up like a celluloid collar by-and-by. I honestly believe, though, that we are wrong to think that moments go away, never to be seen again. This moment and every moment lasts forever."
-- Kurt Vonnegut, "Reflections on My Own Death"

I haven't read a book of his in more than twenty years, but I felt like an old friend of my childhood had passed away.