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May 2007 : The Rumored Death of Kurt Vonnegut

It has been said on April 11th 2007, the sirens stood quiet as Kurt Vonnegut took his last breath. This news, which hit the wires on April 12th, is suspect. This is not the first time Vonnegut has been rumored dead. We watched, as likely many of you did, while media outlets offered up gag reels of Vonnegut. We sensed as you likely did, that the sweat of many copyright lawyers stained the grey cubicles where such lawyers are kept. We sensed as you did, that fair-use meetings were conducted. That we were not invited. As publishers, we know that confidentiality agreements were signed, we recall that no one left work that day for fear of missing the opportunity to adjudicate Vonnegut’s life and writings, the body of Vonnegut himself, portrayed as a man with a thick mustache in a photograph taken in 1970’s.

It is said that Vonnegut died as result of brain injuries he received from a fall at his home earlier this year. This “report” can only be seen as a clever piece of political pornography, as it is well known that Vonnegut had lost his personal archives in 2000 when the top floor of his house caught fire. We are led to believe that Vonnegut lost his archives, then his mind, followed by his life? What of the reality TV show Vonnegut was conscripted to produce about his life? Many industry experts said it would recast the popular format as Vonnegut would use it to reconstruct his personal archives in real time, year by year. Some analyst even postulated that a “Kurt Vonnegut Channel” was in the works. This word coming from analyst who cited unnamed sources who knew that a well coordinated YouTube campaign was in the works; that a harvest of survey respondents were being culled to back a venture capitalist shopping trip through Silicon Valley.

The recent spate of rumors utilized to project Vonnegut’s death into the memory of the masses, is unseated by the recent, and, peculiar appearance of a Vonnegut short story entitled “2 B R O 2 B” which surfaced into the public domain on May 3rd 2007. Originally published in “Worlds of If” in January 1962, this story tells a future time, un-newsworthy in every way. Those interested in the facts should note the following details. First, it recounts a future time when the population is limited to 40 million, this goal accomplished through the labor of proud parents who must be willing to find someone willing to die so that their children may live. Second, people live much longer, hundreds of years, signs of aging, fixed at a certain year of physical development. Third, those who do not want to live, may volunteer to shorten their lives, call “2 B R O 2 B” to schedule an appointment with “Federal Bureau of Termination”. Fourth, in the piece, the unnamed character, “the painter”, is working on a mural that has appalling life like qualities, so much that he is often interrupted to comment. Finally, no stories about this un-copyrighted piece have surfaced in the mass media. We suspect, due to novel sensitivities, perhaps the recent events in Virginia? Its very un-newsworthy climax, which says “…the deepest thanks of all, is from future generations.”

Nearly a month after Vonnegut’s presumed death, Vonnegut’s website, at least, his namesake in the world wide ether, “vonnegut.com” reads “Please bear with us in our time of sorrow. Vonnegut.com will be returning soon.” This, in light of the fact, that no forward address has been received.

5.6.2007
Lance Oditt
editor@semantikon.com

Download Kurt Vonnegut E-Book: 2 B R O 2 B   | 430KB Adobe Acrobat File (PDF)
   
 
   

 






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