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Friday, March 19, 2004

The World, The Flesh and The Devil

I am deep in the bowels of a re-read of John Leonard's first book and am, as always, dazzled by this guy's use of the language, by his ability to take even the most obscure quote from a piece of literature and turn it on its side and apply it to events of the day or the current media. Every Sunday I watch him give his little television or movie reviews on CBS's Sunday Morning, however his real genius is his writing and his literary/media criticism. The man can write. Boy oh Boy, the man can write. The title essay is about Kurt Vonnegut and how Vonnegut is a little innocent man writing about a dark, somber world. However Vonnegut is also a huge Leonard fan and wrote a blurb for When The Kissing Had To Stop:

    "When I read anything by my longtime friend John Leonard, his voice is that of a total stranger. He is too polite in ordinary conversations, with me at least, to set off the fireworks of all he knows and feels after reading and comparing and responding to, in the course of his long career as a literary critic, a thousand times more books than I have even heard of. Only in print does he light the night sky of my ignorance and intellectual lassitude with sizzles and bangs, and gorgeous blooms of fire. He is a TEACHER! When I start to read John Leonard, it is as though I , while simply looking for the men's room, blundered into a lecture by the smartest man who ever lived."

Amen, Kurt. Amen.