Comments: Still Sad

Fortunately, Kurt Vonnegut will be with us forever. Unlike most of us.

Posted by SPIIDERWEBâ„¢ at April 12, 2007 08:24 PM

As a tribute, here's a famous passage from "Slaughterhouse Five":


...[Billy] came slightly unstuck in time, saw the late movie backwards, then forwards again. It was a movie about American bombers in the Second World War and the gallant men who flew. Seen backwards by Billy, the story went like this:

American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France, a few German fighter plans flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground, and those planes flew up backwards to join the formation.

The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The containers were stored neatly in racks...

When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody ever again.

The American fliers turned in their uniforms, became high school kids. And Hitler turned into a baby, Billy Pilgrim supposed. That wasn't in the movie. Billy was extrapolating. Everybody turned into a baby, and all humanity, without exception, conspired biologically to produce two perfect people named Adam and Eve, he supposed....


It's not my favorite piece of Vonnegut's work, but it's the most upbeat, and it's the one I'd quote if I was giving the eulogy. I'll miss you Kurt.

Posted by Cal at April 13, 2007 07:00 AM

You might also enjoy this video tribute to Kurt:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atABhlMLYvU

Posted by Storey at April 13, 2007 01:52 PM

I've always viewed KV as basically a Buddhist in attitude. His novels taught me not to take anything too serious, most of all myself.

I don't think I could have made it through high school without him.

Who needed Holden Caulfield? I had Kurt Vonnegut.

Posted by Paul Avery at April 14, 2007 07:13 PM