In memoriam Kurt Vonnegut

In zijn woonplaats New York is woensdag, 11 april 2007,  de befaamde Amerikaanse schrijver Kurt Vonnegut overleden. De auteur van de bestseller Slaughterhouse-Five over de absurditeiten van oorlog, werd 84 jaar. Dat heeft The New York Times gemeld. Vonnegut overleed aan de gevolgen van ernstig hersenletsel. Hij liep dat op tijdens een val, enkele weken geleden. Zijn vrouw Jill Krementz maakte het overlijden bekend. De auteur schreef toneelstukken, essays en korte fictie maar werd vooral bekend om zijn romans die gerekend worden tot de klassieken van de tegencultuur van de jaren zestig en begin jaren zeventig. Naast Slaughterhouse-Five verwierf Vonnegut faam met boekens als Cat’s Cradle, Breakfast of Champions en God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater.

Uit: Man Without a Country: A Memoir of Life in George W Bush’s America

“For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.

“Blessed are the merciful” in a courtroom? “Blessed are the peacemakers” in the Pentagon? Give me a break!

It so happens that idealism enough for anyone is not made of perfumed pink clouds. It is the law! It is the US Constitution.

But I myself feel that our country, for whose Constitution I fought in a just war, might as well have been invaded by Martians and body snatchers. Sometimes I wish it had been. What has happened instead is that it was taken over by means of the sleaziest, low-comedy, Keystone Cops-style coup d’état imaginable.

I was once asked if I had any ideas for a really scary reality TV show. I have one reality show that would really make your hair stand on end: “C-Students from Yale”.

George W Bush has gathered around him upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography, plus not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka Christians, and plus, most frighteningly, psychopathic personalities, or PPs, the medical term for smart, personable people who have no consciences.

To say somebody is a PP is to make a perfectly respectable diagnosis, like saying he or she has appendicitis or athlete’s foot. The classic medical text on PPs is The Mask of Sanity by Dr Hervey Cleckley, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the Medical College of Georgia, published in 1941. Read it!

Some people are born deaf, some are born blind or whatever, and this book is about congenitally defective human beings of a sort that is making this whole country and many other parts of the planet go completely haywire nowadays. These were people born without consciences, and suddenly they are taking charge of everything.

PPs are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care. They cannot care because they are nuts. They have a screw loose!

And what syndrome better describes so ma

ny executives at Enron and WorldCom and on and on, who have enriched themselves while ruining their employees and investors and country and who still feel as pure as the driven snow, no matter what anybody may say to or about them? And they are waging a war that is making billionaires out of millionaires, and trillionaires out of billionaires, and they own television, and they bankroll George Bush, and not because he’s against gay marriage.

So many of these heartless PPs now hold big jobs in our federal government, as though they were leaders instead of sick. They have taken charge. They have taken charge of communications and the schools, so we might as well be Poland under occupation.”



Zie ook mijn blog van 11 november 2006



Kurt Vonnegut (11 november 1922 – 11 april 2007)