Category Archives: Articles of Note

Kevin Powers on Kurt Vonnegut

This is a great appreciation. Two segments:

But let me be more direct about what I really think this book is. “Slaughterhouse-Five” is wisdom literature. It is a book of awe and humbling clarity. Its lessons are so simple that by adulthood most of us have forgotten or taken them for granted only to be stunned upon being reacquainted with their fundamental gravity.

This is merely one example of Vonnegut’s unmatched moral clarity. He, more than any other writer I can think of, could cut through cant and sophistry and dissembling to expose our collective self-deceptions for what they are. His sentences are accusations that let you keep your dignity. 

Teju Cole

Everything I’ve read of his has stuck with me. This pair of questions from today’s paper is worth bringing to all sorts of art:

Every picture of suffering should elicit a question stronger than “Why is this happening?” The question should be “Why have I allowed this to happen?”

Cole, Teju. “When the Camera Was a Weapon of Imperialism. (And When It Still Is.).” The New York Times, February 10, 2019, sec. Magazine. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/06/magazine/when-the-camera-was-a-weapon-of-imperialism-and-when-it-still-is.html.