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Barry Crimmins

words to live near


political satirist Barry Crimmins

And so he's gone... Sunday, April 15, 2007

From the Boston Globe....

Remembering Vonnegut, that smuggler of truth

April 14, 2007

I'VE READ for several generations that Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s appeal was to "a generation." That never seemed right to me.

Vonnegut invented characters, worlds, clans, outrageous science, and ridiculous religions because he lived in a world that invented much lousier versions of the same things. It seems insane to now live in a world with no more of his madness.

I had the honor of appearing with him, Art Buchwald, Sarah Jones, Paul Krassner, and Lewis Lapham in Manhattan in 2005. Kurt laughed heartily at a joke I made. It was this: "In the United States they teach us that socialism is bad . . . in public school." That was the best laugh I ever got.

Before the event, we met and he was kind and attentive. In the brevity of our meeting lurked an underlying message from him. It was: Had we met just a few years earlier perhaps we'd have become friends, but I've reached a time when I can't bear to acquire one more thing, even something as valuable as friendship. So I'll just look you in the eye and remind you of your responsibility to smuggle truth to people under any cover you can create.

Kurt Vonnegut smuggled his truth between the covers of books. That night everyone from teenagers to nonagenarians came out to see him. Some generation!