Kurt Vonnegut died several days ago.
I was planning to write something in commemoration, and have been staring at a New York Times Books section obituary-commemoration piece for several days now to this effect, but the shameful truth is I have never actually read one of his books, and thus am poorly qualified.
There is a list, a long list of things I must do before I too pass on, and reading Kurt Vonnegut has been added to it, but until that time there are many people far more qualified to comment and commemorate—people who have not only read this great modern American author but have actually met him, including writer Dennis Perrin of Red State Son (“Beneath These Hideous Screams Lies A Love Supreme”)—his subtitle alone makes him deserving of further investigation.
Along with the trackback, sense of being informed by association and a new appreciation for a writer I haven’t read, I will also steal a YouTube video link from Dennis’s site, and the assertion that Kurt Vonnegut was an atheist who believed that instead of the Ten Commandments, public buildings and courtrooms should display the Sermon on the Mount, surely reason enough to display same here:
The Beatitudes from The Sermon on the Mount
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
You can also read an account of Kurt Vonnegut’s last public speech here.