Kurt Vonnegut is Taken Seriously, and You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!

Robert T. Tally Jr. in Humor in America:

ScreenHunter_1851 Apr. 13 16.47I’m not sure that it ranks as high as pictures of baby animals, meme-based quizzes, “infotainment” listicles, or Kim Kardashian’s prodigious rump, but Kurt Vonnegut’s very name seems to have become a powerful form of clickbait in the twenty-first century. Judging from my own Facebook feed, there must be weekly (if not almost daily) blog posts or internet articles citing the wit and wisdom of the great Hoosier novelist. Vonnegut’s birthday on November 11 – serendipitously, it coincides with Armistice Day, otherwise known as Remembrance Day, but in the United States (and to Vonnegut’s dismay) it is now called Veteran’s Day – occasioned another wave of links crashing upon my social media screens, including this one, bizarrely titled “So It Goes: A Life of Guidance from Kurt Vonnegut in 11 Quotes.” As with other such worshipful pieces, all of the quotations are taken completely out of context, but errant web-surfers apparently find his words all the more meaningful, inspiring, or “guiding” for their being context-less. It matters little that Vonnegut was writer who consistently lamented the loss of memory and who derogated the false promise of an afterlife, particularly when he is being memorialized on the internet in such a way as to reinforce the memory-loss and to celebrate immortality. More than seven years after his death and more than 45 years after the publication of his most famous novel, Vonnegut lives a vibrant, seemingly eternal life as a ghostly but wise internet presence. Hi ho!

More here.