Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. ~ 1922-2007

In memory of Kurt Vonnegut, the novelist, socialist and humanist whose friendship and late-in-life peace activism should inspire us all.


At the turn of the millennium he became the beloved old crank of American letters, and of the New York literary scene. Although he is always compared to Mark Twain, he was a bit more like the great writers who established New York as a literary center, Poe, Melville and Whitman. Like them, Kurt was an outsider, at odds with the stylish uptown of the salons, emerging as he did from the World Wrestling Association of the book world — a science fiction writer from the Midwest. He was accepted here when he could no longer be resisted, and finally had the home on the sound and the townhouse, too. But the boldness never left him, because he practiced it in small ways every few minutes, as he painted, as he went to his stoop to watch the world. He always practiced his sneaky casual epigrams. Short sentences that had a quality of everyday modesty, but would then address all of our lives at once. “Reverend, we don’t need your jazz riffs. Just say it plain. And no semi-colons!”

Reflections on Kurt Vonnegut, a Man of Funny Fearlessness
by Reverend Billy ~ AlterNet ~ April 13, 2007.

Reverend Billy is pastor of the Church of Stop Shopping
and author of
What Would Jesus Buy? Fabulous Prayers in the Face of the Shopocalypse.

The Reverend Billy is a creation of the actor and activist Bill Talen.
He lives in New York City.

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