Monday, July 23, 2012

Alex Cockburn - the great polemicist is dead

Alexander Cockburn
Alex Cockburn could write.  As he said, James Fallows notes, "I can write better than anyone who writes faster and faster than anyone who writes better."  Professional discipline and a preference for understatement make me no polemicist.  But the world needs them and Alexander Cockburn, son of the great Brit Red journalist Claud Cockburn, was a brilliant one.  During his Village Voice years I waited for the new issue, picked it up asap, and went straight for Cockburn.  
The English have been speaking English longer than we have and they write it better.  Alex skewered the hypocrisy of the cold warriors, the passivity of the Times, and the conniving of the war makers.  He was revolted by the hypocrisy of Christopher Hitchens who I also detested, with a brilliant obit that made the essential point: that Hitchens stood on its head the maxim "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable"
He did not hesitate to name names when criticizing the Israeli occupation of the west bank, a font of rationalization that is still bearing bitter fruit for the Jewish national liberation movement.  Reagan's duplicity was a favorite target, especially during the Iran Contra eruption of lying and cheating.

Colin Moynihan at the Times, Michael Tomasky, Ed Kilgore, and, of course, James Fallows have all done well in their recollections.

No comments:

Post a Comment