Saturday, March 05, 2005


Aaron Haspel (God of the Machine) returns from months of puzzling out alpha to unscramble the conundrum of why there were so many obits penned about the recent deaths of the writers Hunter S. Thompson and Arthur Miller:
The uncharitable explanation — monkey see, monkey scribble — has as usual a good deal in it. Thompson is a topic, Miller is a topic, and we are perennially starved for topics: such is the vital function of the newspaper. But there is something even more unpleasant at work — a ghoulish, misbegotten sense of duty, as if failing to note their passing means that our own will also go unremarked. Well, it will. Not to worry.
I'm not worried and I didn't read a single obituary of these luminaries in its entirety. But I did read the headlines and I'm grateful there were so many because the repetition of the news may, just may, mean I don't embarrass myself at the next trivia debriefing session. Though I've never participated in the trivia contests at Keegan's myself, I spend time with those that do and they spend time talking about the questions they nailed, the questions that got away.

At least I'm not the only one who can't remember whether someone is still alive. There are even a number of websites exclusively devoted to keeping track of whether the famous and "interesting" still breathe.

Arthur C. Clarke. Alive. Robert Ludlum. Dead. I would have gotten those wrong.


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