Kurt Vonnegut: 1922-2007
"I ask how humanity, against all odds, managed to keep going for another millennium. They tell me that they and their ancestors did it by preferring life over death for themselves and others at every opportunity, even at the expense of being dishonored. They endured all sorts of insults and humiliations and disappointments without committing either suicide or murder. They are also the people who do the insulting and humiliating and disappointing."
From Fates Worse Than Death, 1991 (p. 148)
Kurt Vonnegut was one of the authors of the postwar period who managed to hold a mirror up to Caligula and laugh. Gore Vidal, who delights in much the same sort of commentary, never could have a hearty - but occasionally sad - chuckle at the state of affairs in the world. That was Vonnegut's talent, his genius.
Only when a satirist's wit and a humorist's charm are combined do you get a Kurt Vonnegut. I'll miss hearing from him.