Kurt Vonnegut Jr’s half smoked cigarette still finds it’s place in the Library he once worked at; enclosed within a transparent plastic protective bag.
And if he were alive today, I’m sure he’d find a way to ask Pall Mall why they hadn’t killed him yet.
In an interview he gave to the Rolling Stone Magazine, he joked about his 83 years of age and how Brown and Williamson had failed to fulfil their promise to kill him with their product.
He was a humble man, from what I know of him. A man who taught me the most important lesson about writing.
There’s no point in using fancy words; keep it simple, tell your story.
He spent the better part of his life arguing about the insanity of war. The fear of falling off cliffs. And most of all, enlightening the world to the power of art.
He had a funny way of convincing people he wasn’t joking; when he was joking.
And joking when he wasn’t.
Like Andy Kaufman, he kept people guessing.
It’s what drove me to his writing and the power it had on me growing up.
“If this isn’t nice, what is?”
He would proclaim to the younger readers. It was a reminder, one crucially imperative, that what’s good — must be acknowledged.
Slaughterhouse-Five, my favourite book of his; made me realise how as humans we fail to understand violence and war.
He used Tralfamadore; an alien planet, to draw attention to just how alien the concept of war was and just how unconceivable it was to be understood.
We as humans have a tendency to attempt to rationalise our actions.
Kurt Vonnegut, reminded us there was nothing rational about war.
He came to this realisation finding shelter in a meat slaughter-house from the bombings above.
Yet, there’s been constant campaigns to ban Slaughterhouse-Five from Schools.
But the ban on guns remains to be unchallenged.
An anti-war novel deemed to be more violent than guns is the manifestation of Kurt Vonnegut’s cultural commentary on the failure of logic in humanity and the media.
We need reasons to feel safe, we’re always searching for them to justify and maintain a false sense of a safe-haven.
“If people found out Aliens were real, do you have any idea the effect it would have on people — they would go berserk.”
Constantly, we find ourselves in a state where knowledge is seen as more violent than the weapons of mass-destruction and the means with which it is accomplished.
What’s more compelling than the man who wrote “The Anarchist Cookbook”, to admit he was wrong; that he felt responsible for the violence that pursued.
Kurt Vonnegut hopes to educate people on the important of a human life. The important of humanity. And the importance of having a thicker skin to realise that books and music don’t make psychopaths.
Eminem and Marilyn Manson, artists often associated with promoting violence find themselves under scrutiny when an act of violence is committed. Both have had their fare-share of becoming Media-Punching Bags.
So what ever happened to Parents making sure to appropriating the content their kids are exposed to?
It’s guilt and fear; when a tragedy happens our first instinct is to find someone or something, other than ourselves, to blame; because the guilt would be too horrendous to bear.