Vonnegut on censorship, suicide, humor, moralizing, and more
by Maud Newton |
If Hamlet hoped to be remembered after he slammed the big door (or after somebody slammed it for him), I am sure he would have said so. Mark Twain (who wrote as though he would have liked to be remembered) said his reputation might outlive his body for at least a little while because he had moralized. (And indeed, his reputation has outlived his body.) I am sure he would have moralized in any case, but he had noticed that (for whatever reason) ancient writings which were still interesting in his day were all moralized. The anthology we call “The Bible” comes to mind. So should Lysistrata by Aristophanes (ca. 448-380 B.C.) and the Second Inaugural Address of Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) and Candide by Voltaire (1694 – 1778) and Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (1857 – 1924)… and on and on So good advice to a young writer who wishes to circumvent morality might be: “Moralize.” I would add this caveat: “Be sure to sound reader-friendly and not all that serious when doing it.” Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (1547 – 1616) comes to mind. The sermons of Cotton Mather (1663 – 1728 ) do not.
* If you’re saddened by the darkness at TMFTML, please note that Balk is now officially contributing here. I suspect a 3-month trial period.