Monday, December 19, 2011

A whole slew of obits

Fortunately, I am a complete nobody so I am in good health. But, lots of famous people seem to have died recently. Cesaria Evora, Christopher Hitchens, Vaclav Havel, and Kim Jong Il. In terms of long term positive impact on the world I would rank them in the order of most to least as Evora, Havel, Hitchens, and Kim. Evora's music will still be listened to and provide enjoyment for people for decades and probably centuries. Havel was a very brave individual and helped contribute to the end of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia. He is also the only Czech politician to ever suggest that the expulsion of the Sudeten Germans was a crime. Hitchens I don't really care about one way or another. He once edited a decent collected work on Palestine with Edward Said, but other than that nothing he did really impressed me. Kim Jong Il was a ruthless despot, but surprisingly unlike his intellectual ancestors: Lenin, Stalin, and Mao he had very little support among American and European intellectuals. For a communist dictator this is a major failing. After all worship from western leftists is the major accomplishment that sets Stalin and Mao apart from failures like Hitler.

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