Saint Abbie Hoffman
In this excerpt from Fates Worse Than Death, copyright 1991, Kurt Vonnegut talks about one of my personal heroes, Abbie Hoffman:
I mentioned Abbie Hoffman in that piece about books as mantras for meditation. I realize that most people nowadays don’t know who he was or what he did. He was a clowning genius, having come into the world that way, like Lenny Bruce and Jack Benny and Ed Wynn and Stan Laurel and W.C. Fields and the Marx Brothers and Red Skelton and Fred Allen and Woody Allen and so on. He was a member of my children’s generation. He is high on my list of saints, of exceptionally courageous, unarmed, unsponsored, unpaid souls who have tried to slow down even a little bit state crimes against those Jesus Christ said should inherit the Earth someday.
He did this with truth, anger, and ridicule.
He spent the last years of his short and frantically unfunny life attempting to protect Nature in the Delaware River Valley. He left his family without a cent. He had a criminal record, including flight from prosecution for a drug deal. But his most memorable crime was his violation of a law which has never been written down in so many words: “Monster fuck-ups engineered by your own government are not to be treated with disrespect until the damage done is absolutely unforgivable, incomprehensible, and beyond repair.”