Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Too much for one day . . .

I've always been a Vonnegut fan. When you're young, his writing goes down smoothly, despite the bitter herbs, but when you get older, there's still plenty there. He lived somewhere near the edge of despair, but he seldom crossed it. Well, there's Mother Night. But even the end of the world, in Cat's Cradle, was somehow redeemed by courage and laughter.

I feel particular affection for Vonnegut's alter ego, the pulp science fiction writer Kilgore Trout. Like Vonnegut, I loved that stuff from Astounding Science Fiction and the ilk, with its gothic prose and telegraphic allegories. No doubt the pulp sci-fi elements in Vonnegut's own work helped encourage the serious critics to look down their noses at him, but to me, he was like a great composer building on themes from folk and popular music.

These days, Vonnegut's method of laughing at the darkness instead of cursing it is about all we've got to keep ourselves going. I know one thing for sure, I can't handle any more "progress" in Iraq, or any more restoration of honor and integrity to the White House. Twenty two more months of this evil doofus are going to do us in, I fear.

No comments: