Kurt Vonnegut, 84

Rest in peace. I can’t think of a better tribute to Vonnegut than this writeup at AICN. Though the news comes too late for tomorrow’s Writer’s Almanac, I expect Garrison Keillor to rise to the occasion on Friday’s broadcast as well.

Vonnegut is of course rightly lauded for Slaughterhouse-5 (1969), which took him 25 years to write, as a means of excising the demons he bore by witnessing the aftermath of the firebombing of Dresden. That book, along with Catch-22, probably did more to influence my politics and view of war than any other piece of literature or political treatise. But the piece I remember most was actually his 1961 short story, Harrison Bergeron, which remains the most razor-sharp indictment of the false cult of equality that anyone has ever wielded. I praise it as a political liberal, mind you. As a witness to the madness of war and culture, he had no equal in speaking truth to self-deception.

So long, Pilgrim. Knock ’em dead on Trafalmadore. So it goes… so it goes.