Thursday, April 12, 2007

When an Icon Dies: Kurt Vonnegut

When a famous person dies, we all feel it; we think we personally know these strangers who live their lives in the public eye. With the passing of Kurt Vonnegut, it seems like the urgency and passion of the Sixties has faded a little more, and only a ghostly image is left of the idealism that once gripped the youth of our country. When an important voice is silenced, a voice that spoke for humanity, we all mourn.

The New York Times featured a retrospective about Vonnegut today. After reading the article, you can't help but reflect on his outlook. This excerpt from the article reminds me why I loved his books. "The title character in his 1965 novel, “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater,” summed up his philosophy:

“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here.
There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’ ”

You can be cynical and grieving, but still love this world.

My favorite Vonnegut books are: Sirens of Titan, Breakfast of Champions, Bluebeard, and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater.