Thursday, April 12, 2007

In Memoriam: Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut
November 11, 1922-April 11, 2007

If you haven't heard yet, Kurt Vonnegut, author of darkly comedic sci-fi-ish novels such as "Cat's Cradle" & "Slaughterhouse 5" died today in New York as a result of injuries sustained in a fall some weeks ago.

Elsewhere in the news today, I stumbled upon this report concerning librarians who defied the FBI & refused to turn over patrons' records despite an order to so that also, conveniently enough, prevented them from telling anyone about it. (Repeat: the Patriot Act must go!)

"A librarian who fended off an FBI demand for computer records on patrons said Wednesday that secret anti-terrorism investigations strip away personal freedoms.

"'Terrorists win when the fear of them induces us to destroy the rights that make us free,' said George Christian, executive director of Library Connection, a consortium of 27 libraries in the Hartford, Conn., area.

"In prepared testimony for a Senate panel, Christian said his experience 'should raise a big patriotic American flag of caution' about the strain that the government's pursuit of would-be terrorists puts on civil liberties.

Several hours spent looking for good quotes to tie the two together later (surely Kurt, with his wickedly sardonic sense of humor & his apprehension of war & warrior machinations, could not have failed to appreciate BushWorld & to be outraged by it), I came across this:

.."I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or their powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles.

"So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries."

Read on, fans, to learn what the legendary independent thinker & sci-fi visionary thought of other Bushco shenanigans.

Any author of such fundamentally humanitarian (though dark) works whose achievements include making the "Top 10" list of most controversial reading lists in schools across America must have something to say worth reading.

So it goes, Kurt, so it goes.



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