Thursday, April 12, 2007

"We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane."

The loss of a celebrity figure who I admire usually strikes me with more reflection than sadness; however, I can't help but feel sad about the loss of Kurt Vonnegut.

I read Slaughterhouse-Five one summer in college and I was hooked. Never really being the type to be taken by novels, I was amazed at how much Vonnegut I could read and still not get sick of it.

The fall semester after that summer break I poured through Breakfast of Champions, Cat's Cradle, Bagombo Snuff Box, Galapagos, Hocus Pocus, and Slaughterhouse-Five for a second time, not to mention any non-fiction article by Vonnegut that I could get my hands on.

Even though I studied history in college, I would say no writer had more impact on my thoughts than Vonnegut.

Vonnegut's unending interest in the potential for humanity to create, destroy, and do everything in between demonstrated for me that believing in humankind is a matter of faith as much as believing in anything.

And he was damn funny.

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Listen: For those who never had the pleasure of reading Breakfast of Champions, the title of the post is the tombstone epitaph for one of the book's central characters, Kilgore Trout, who served as Vonnegut's alter ego in a number of novels.

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