12 April 2007

Unstuck In Time

Ladies and gentlemen, The Big (Sad) News, though CNN will surely report it with a thirty-second bit that ends with "He was 84." Remember, in the American media, if you write a dozen and more novels articulating with a disturbingly Zen humour the contemporary human condition, you'll get thirty seconds; utter a three-second quip about "nappy-headed hos," and you'll be covered, albeit with tar and feathers, around the clock. Which offers a jarring reminder: Vonnegut was a cynic; the American media, for the most part, are just plain cynical. Vonnegut, bless him, would have understood the distinction.

Alas, we have probably lost the last of the red-hot humanists. At least the cigarettes ("a classy way to commit suicide," he once said) didn't kill him. You can just imagine the cynicism that would follow if they had.

UPDATE: Yes, I wrote "contemporary human condition." A horrendous and meaningless cliche, but it was 2am.... Forgive me. On the other hand, damn I nailed the CNN coverage: exactly 30 seconds, with "He was 84" as the closing sentence. Maybe I should go buy a lottery ticket.

1 comment:

RK said...

Well, sh*t, man. You are the contemporary human condition. If not, who is? (Don't answer that.)

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