You know you want to
This week’s Fun Friday, unlike most of them, touches on the political themes normally treated at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down Monday through Thursday — though it’s still Fun because it’s inspired by one of the more uplifting political events of the year: The death of Henry Kissinger.
Generally I’m a de mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est kind of guy. When John Paul II and even Reagan passed, I said what I meant but consciously stopped short of vituperation. It was hard, especially with Reagan, but I had in those days what you might call a sentimental feeling about the recently deceased, and also a fear, as Noel Coward put it, that the dove of peace might shit on me.
But seasons change and so do I. Fuck Henry Kissinger.
Some of it is just natural old-man cussedness. What! This guy was getting rolled around in his tuxedo to the Great Houses of Syosset, all because he sucked up to Nixon and invented new and clever ways to kill millions of people, and I’m wearing a cardboard belt? Fuck him!
Some of it I think I get from the kids. Kids these days know how bad they’re getting screwed, and are in consequence a lot saltier about who and what they perceive is keeping them down, and less likely to observe certain proprieties in reference to them.
In this case their approach seems absolutely correct. Kissinger was genuinely white-hot, gooey-center, triple-decker evil, a war criminal and a mass murderer. Why go easy on him now that he’s dead?
One could accept every possible mitigating detail, and say his and Nixon’s homicidal policies in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos were after all acts of war and, however cavalier their attitude toward civilian casualties, pretty much par for the imperial course (notwithstanding some of us would like America to be a little better than that).
But his overthrow of Allende’s Chilean government, and the resulting condemnation of that nation to years of dictatorship and terror, was by any standard an atrocity that no one who pretends to believe in democracy could countenance (keeping in mind that lets out American conservatives, who loved the tyrant Pinochet).
So yeah, fuck that guy. He’s dead, and will be disposed of by the Infinite as we all will be — probably in a more appropriate manner than any human justice can imagine or dispense. (Who knows, maybe it’s all forgiven on the other side — Vonnegut suggested as much.)
But for we who lived through his depredations, it’s not only, I think, reasonable but also morally hygienic to acknowledge that Kissinger was beyond the pale, that the “achievements” for which he is known should be condemned rather than celebrated and he as their perpetrator is owed no more respect than any other contract killer.
Many, many people agree, which made Twitter enjoyable for a change on the occasion of his crossing the Rainbow Bridge. But while a few prestige media outlets like Rolling Stone cited that widespread and well-earned hatred, nearly every other such outlet acted as if the only acceptable response was softly murmured to-be-sures, and rounded up “how the world reacted” by quoting the worst people on the planet who, of course, eulogized Kissinger as if he were the Prince of Peace.
It’s one of the clearest signs I’ve ever seen of the disconnect between the establishment, as it were, and ordinary Americans. The people uncritically praising Kissinger now are either rich bastards, handmaidens of rich bastards, or young Republican weasels who recognize that the old monster’s contempt for consent of the governed and human life was the seedbed of modern conservatism, including the MAGA variant, and praise him only to justify it.
As for the people sniffing that it’s rude to tweet “rest in piss” about the news, it’s possible a few of them are genuinely and apolitically bothered by the breach of decorum, and God bless them. But the ones I see are mostly black-hearted propagandists who think acting lofty is a good play at the moment, so fuck them too.
So, on this solemn occasion, I ask you: What’s the funniest response you’ve seen to the news of Kissinger’s death? I have a candidate: