Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mr. Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut's U.S. Army portrait

Happy birthday, Mr. Vonnegut! Kurt Vonnegut is one of my favorite writers, but he's also one of my favorite humans. Too often I'll have the utmost respect for an artist's work but feel the bile belches coming up my throat when I think about the artist's personal life. See: Woody Allen.

Vonnegut died a few years ago. So it goes. I will forever be inspired by his soul. Especially today and every November 11th, on both Vonnegut's birthday and Armistice Day, the day the participants in The War to End All Wars chose peace. So fitting for a humanist pacifist such as Vonnegut. Here's one of my favorite Vonnegut quotes, from his 1973 novel Breakfast of Champions:

"I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

"It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind."