Archive for the ‘Sainthood’ Category

Viva St.Vonnegut!

April 12, 2007

Envy, Groucho:70, 6006 YD

NEW YORK (AP) – Kurt Vonnegut, the satirical novelist who captured the absurdity of war and questioned the advances of science in darkly humorous works such as “Slaughterhouse-Five” and “Cat’s Cradle,” died Wednesday at age 84, his wife said.

Vonnegut, who often marvelled that he had lived so long, despite his lifelong smoking habit, suffered brain injuries after a fall at his Manhattan home weeks ago, said his wife, photographer Jill Krementz.

The author of at least 19 novels, many of them best-sellers, as well as dozens of short stories, essays and plays, Vonnegut relished the role of a social critic. He lectured regularly, exhorting audiences to think for themselves and delighting in barbed commentary against the institutions he felt were dehumanizing people.

“I will say anything to be funny, often in the most horrible situations,” Vonnegut, whose watery, heavy-lidded eyes and unruly hair made him seem to be in existential pain, once told a gathering of psychiatrists.

A self-described religious skeptic and freethinking humanist, Vonnegut used protagonists such as Billy Pilgrim and Eliot Rosewater as transparent vehicles for his points of view. He also filled his novels with satirical commentary and even drawings that were only loosely connected to the plot. In “Slaughterhouse-Five,” he drew a headstone with the epitaph: “Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.”

But much in his life was traumatic and left him in pain.

Despite his commercial success, Vonnegut battled depression throughout his life and in 1984 he attempted suicide with pills and alcohol, joking later about how he botched the job.

His mother had succeeded in killing herself just before he left for Germany during the Second World War, where he was quickly taken prisoner during the Battle of the Bulge. He was being held in Dresden when Allied bombs created a firestorm that killed tens of thousands of people in the city.

“The firebombing of Dresden explains absolutely nothing about why I write what I write and am what I am,” Vonnegut wrote in “Fates Worse Than Death,” his 1991 autobiography of sorts.

But he spent 23 years struggling to write about the ordeal, which he survived by huddling with other prisoners inside an underground meat locker labelled slaughterhouse-five.

The novel, in which Pte. Pilgrim is transported from Dresden by time-travelling aliens from the planet Tralfamadore, was published at the height of the Vietnam War and solidified his reputation as an iconoclast.

“He was sort of like nobody else,” said Gore Vidal, who noted he, Vonnegut and Norman Mailer were among the last writers around who served in the Second World War.

“He was imaginative; our generation of writers didn’t go in for imagination very much. Literary realism was the general style.”

“Those of us who came out of the war in the 1940s made sort of the official American prose and it was often a bit on the dull side. Kurt was never dull.”

Vonnegut was born Nov. 11, 1922, in Indianapolis, a “fourth-generation German-American religious skeptic Freethinker” and studied chemistry at Cornell University before joining the U.S. army.

When he returned, he reported for Chicago’s City News Bureau, then did public relations for General Electric, a job he loathed. He wrote his first novel, “Player Piano,” in 1951, followed by “The Sirens of Titan,” “Canary in a Cat House” and “Mother Night,” making ends meet by selling Saabs on Cape Cod, Mass.

Critics ignored him at first, then denigrated his deliberately bizarre stories and disjointed plots as haphazardly written science fiction. But his novels became cult classics, especially “Cat’s Cradle” in 1963, in which scientists create “ice-nine,” a crystal that turns water solid and destroys the Earth.

Many of his novels were best-sellers. Some also were banned and burned for suspected obscenity. Vonnegut took on censorship as an active member of the PEN writers’ aid group and the American Civil Liberties Union. The American Humanist Association, which promotes individual freedom, rational thought and scientific skepticism, made him its honorary president.

His characters tended to be miserable anti-heroes with little control over their fate. Pilgrim was an ungainly, lonely goof. The hero of “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater” was a snivelling, obese volunteer fireman.

Vonnegut said the villains in his books were never individuals but culture, society and history, which he said were making a mess of the planet.

“We probably could have saved ourselves but we were too damned lazy to try very hard…and too damn cheap,” he once suggested carving into a wall on the Grand Canyon, as a message for flying-saucer creatures.

He retired from novel writing in his later years but continued to publish short articles. He had a best-seller in 2005 with “A Man Without a Country,” a collection of his non-fiction, including jabs at President George W. Bush’s administration (“upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography”) and the uncertain future of the planet.

He called the book’s success “a nice glass of champagne at the end of a life.”

Vonnegut, who had homes in Manhattan and the Hamptons in New York state, adopted his sister’s three young children after she died. He also had three children of his own with his first wife, Ann Cox and later adopted a daughter, Lily, with his second wife, the noted photographer Krementz.

Vonnegut once said of all the ways to die, he’d prefer to go out in an airplane crash on the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. He often joked about the difficulties of old age.

“When Hemingway killed himself he put a period at the end of his life; old age is more like a semicolon,” Vonnegut said in 2005.

“My father, like Hemingway, was a gun nut and was very unhappy late in life. But he was proud of not committing suicide.”

“And I’ll do the same, so as not to set a bad example for my children.”

Original Story here.

*****St.Vonnegut was canonized by the First Church Of Discord in 5965 YD (1966 CE). -BVH

Anna Nicole Smith Awarded Sainthood By SubGenius UFO Cult

February 16, 2007

Wrath, Groucho:16, 6006 YD

The Church of the SubGenius has awarded posthumous Sainthood to late performer and actress Anna Nicole Smith.

The Church acknowledged Miss Smith’s fey, outrageous lifestyle and agreed that it meets its standards for Sainthood. Church founder J.R. “Bob” Dobbs laid down a set of rules for members of the Church to live their lives, and Miss Smith’s life has met the following criteria:

1. She spent her life Slacking Off, and did not conform to the expectations of others.

2. She achieved fame and fortune not through hard work or intelligence, but basically through dumb holy luck.

3. As seen from her many photos and TV appearances, she ate the hell out of her fair share of cheeseburgers. This meets the definition of a SubGenius commandment: “Don’t just eat that hamburger, eat the HELL out of it!”

4. She was martyred by the “Pinks” (a SubGenius term referring to “normal people”), after being crucified in the press.

5. Like Saint Mary Magdalene of the Catholic Church, her child is a “Son of Man”. Unlike Mary, who claimed that no mortal was the father of her child, it seems as though every male (and perhaps a few female) mortals are claiming to be the father of her child. The Church uses this as the basis for its prediction that Miss Smith’s child shall be a prophet of the SubGenius.

6. The Church of the SubGenius encourages wholesome sexuality, which Miss Smith exuded to excess (at least during her prime years).

In the official Calendar of SubGenius Saints, the date of May 1st will be set aside for honoring Miss Smith. She will share this day with St.Catherine I (The Great) of Russia, who also had Sainthood bestowed on her posthumously by the Church.

The Church of the SubGenius is a popular organization often seen as a “parody” of religious cults, including Scientology, the Raelians, and the Unification Church. It was founded in 1953 by a mysterious figure named J.R. “Bob” Dobbs, whose smiling, pipe-smoking image has been seen worldwide in chip art, graffiti, tattoos, and rock albums from performers ranging from Devo and George Clinton to Sublime. A number of celebrities are SubGenius ministers, including former Talking Heads singer David Byrne, Penn Jillette, late science fiction author Robert Anton Wilson, comic book artist R. Crumb, and Pee Wee Herman.

In 2001, the Church offered a formal invitation to Miss Smith, for her to attend its annual End of the World celebration (X-Day) as a vacation from the stress of her daily life.

Anna Nicole Smith is not the first celebrity to be awarded posthumous Sainthood in the Church. In 1986, an official SubGenius minister ordainment was bestowed upon Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, a scant two weeks before his death. In his published autobiography, rock and roll singer Frank Zappa acknowledged his agreement with the Church’s ideals, though refused to join the organization; a posthumous Sainthood was awarded to him by the Church shortly after his passing.