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 V.20 No.15 | April 14 - 20, 2011 

Culture Shock

Kurt Vonnegut Is Still Dead

Monday, April 11, marked four years since the passing of the greatest American ever to pick up a pen and write down his thoughts— Mr. Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

I pointed at the sky the other day and said, "Kurt's up in heaven. Still." It’s something he asked the audience at a 2002 Popejoy Hall appearance to do after he died. Except for the “still” part. If you’re feeling bummed out, you should give it a try. It's oddly comforting.

Maybe he’s with the Tralfamadorians.

Five days after K-Von died, a talentless hack creative writing student killed 32 people at Virginia Tech, stealing Vonnegut's press. At least that's how I felt about it.

Vonnegut deserved a state funeral. The days of writers being treated like rock stars or heads of state have passed.

At least that’s the way I feel about it.

Vonnegut is miraculously still putting out books, just like Tupac is still putting out albums. I have not read them, as I am unable to know for certain that he would have wanted those unpublished works in print. It reminds me of Kurt Cobain's personal journals printed after he died, the first page emblazoned with the words "Don't read my diary when I'm gone."

I didn't.

Who knows? Maybe Vonnegut’s posthumous collections are great.

Either way, I'm going home to torch a trunk of notebooks I've been lugging from state to state for 11 years, lest there be The Drunken Love Poems of John Bear or, even worse, The Sober Love Poems of John Bear after I go to the great Tralfamadorian Zoo in the sky.

I know. My posthumous collections would be shit.

And why shell out $27 bucks for new Vonnegut when I can read a classic for 25 cents a pop from any thrift store in town? I just picked up Welcome to the Monkey House for a cool quarter.

Anyway, Kurt Vonnegut is still dead and I'm oddly saddened by it this week. On the fifth anniversary, I think I'll get some of those K-Von “asshole” stars tattooed on my knees, Russian prison-style. That would be cool.

At least that's the way I feel about it.


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