Kurt is in heaven now

is what noted skeptical humanist, Kurt Vonnegut, wanted us all to say on his death, with a wry smile of unbelief.

I don’t know much more to say than that, which is why I haven’t said anything for days since he died.

I’ve read some of his short story collections, and loved the quirks of his narrativium, but I’ve never read one of his novels. I keep on meaning to read Slaughterhouse Five, it’s on the must-read list (I have an actual list) but I hadn’t caught up with it yet. But I’ve loved reading others’ tributes.

The man was an institution, one of the great communicators of skepticism and pacifism to several generations. We need these occasional larger than life figures to shake us out of our ruts, our apathy, to make us actually think. We will miss him.

A few Kurt Vonnegut posts I’ve read:

Kim at Larvatus Prodeo points out his broader cultural importance, not just his literary importance, and wonders why the MSM isn’t doing the same.

An interview from 2003

Lots of people have their Vonnegut story. I love these vignettes. My favourite so far is from Misha at Hippo Dignity

Anyone got some more Vonnegutnettes they’ve read that they can share?

Categories: Culture, ethics & philosophy, history, Life


4 replies

  1. Vonnegut wrote rather a lot of words, many of them in an interesting order. Not everything he wrote was science fiction. Welcome to the Monkey House is a collection of fiction and non-fiction which includes short stories originally written for Collier’s and Saturday Evening Post. I think it includes some of his best work. With your interest in feminism you should definitely read Miss Temptation which is in that book.
    Simon. (the man you know who normally signs like that)
    PS: Last weekend I was in Elstree, where _The Avengers_ was filmed, about half a mile from where that picture of Diana Rigg with her tongue out was taken.

  2. Thanks for the recommendations, Simon.

    So, does Elstree do a lot of touristy nostalgia stuff about the various classic TV series, or not?

  3. You’re welcome. Sorry about the formatting for the previous post. I didn’t guess the right button. If you can fix the title formatting, please do.
    Elstree was one end of the bus-route I used to get to school. I rarely got near the studio but enough runners and staff took the same bus that we saw and heard weird things occasionally. There’s no studio tour there because Elstree Studios are still in use. Probably the most well-known shows shot there are the British versions of Big Brother and Who Wants to Be A Millionaire. A lot of Star Wars III was shot there.
    Changes in the economics of dramatic programme filming mean that the old style of filming as much as possible in a studio isn’t as important any more, and dramatic reductions in studio area resulted. Also it’s easier to film in remote outdoor locations now, so the large forest, wood, and abandoned quarry areas of Elstree and neighbouring Borehamwood which showed up in so many 1970s TV programmes have also been sold off. So the company doesn’t dominate the area like it used to. It’s slightly pathetic now in comparison with past prestige. I miss the feeling I used to get when I watched really wonderful programmes and knew where the actors and actresses had drunk their coffee in the mornings.
    I guess it will eventually get to the point where someone could make more money by turning the site into a nostalgic tour and merchandising shop than by providing film facilities.

  4. Formatting fixed, Simon.
    I’m surprised they didn’t keep some of the old studios/locations for tourist trap purposes, but I guess when they’re making lashings of money still from newer shows it’s not their first priority.

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