Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ode to the Almost Dead

Writing in the Weekly Standard, P.J. O'Rourke has hit upon a wonderful idea:  pre-obituaries.  O'Rourke writes of the possibilities:

Jimmy Carter is 85. We must hasten to throw the Camp David Accord in his face before he heads to his eternal camp-out with Anwar el-Sadat. Gore Vidal is 84. There’s no chance he’ll end up in the same place as Bill Buckley. We ought to take up Buckley’s gauntlet and slap Gore’s face here and now. Noam Chomsky is 81. Why should Satan have all the fun? We own pitchforks of fact aplenty with which to prod his living flesh. Norman Lear is 87 and will be married to Maude forever any minute now. (Although Lear may find himself forgiven. He never meant to make Archie Bunker a hero and a role model, but perhaps the road to heaven is paved with bad intentions.) Ed Asner is 80. Put him together with Ben Bradlee (88) and Alan J. Pakula, director of All the President’s Men (died in 1998, darn it), and you have the villains in the tragic tale of the American newspaper’s self-congratulatory ossification. Ross Perot also will be 80 soon. We owe him one Bill Clinton-sized philippic. Ralph Nader is 76. High time that someone, metaphorically, flipped him in a Corvair. And Paul Ehrlich is 78. In these days of the graying workforce, baby bust, and demographic decline, surely he needs a population bomb in his underpants.

The beauty of obituaries for the still-extant is that they needn’t be limited to those who are about to go home feet first. Preemptive necrology can be practiced on persons who are in the prime of life, especially if they’ve had their little turn in the limelight and will never do anything else of note if they live to be 1,000.
When I read that last sentence I immediately thought of Al Gore.  Let's face it, Gore's "best years" are behind him, though I doubt he has noticed.  What better way to close the chapter on three decades of hot air than to write a final tribute to the demise of Gore's broken religion? 

O'Rourke suggests many candidates for pre-obits-from Bernie Sanders to Lindsay Lohan.  In Lohan's case it would seem that if somebody desires to write a pre-obit they had better hurry.  The point being that are many among us, or in their estimation, above us, whose time has come and gone.  Why not celebrate?

Cross posted at Pundit & Pundette

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