Alexander Cockburn, 1941–2012
I am deeply saddened to have learned of the death of Alexander Cockburn, whose column was one of the highlights of The Nation [Victor Navasky, “He Beat the Devil”; JoAnn Wypijewski, “Alex,” Aug. 13/20]. I fear that his caustic tone and ability to totalize any political situation, large or small, are irreplaceable.
CARL G. MARTIN
Yes, Alex’s column often rescued The Nation from the expected position. His performance in the bar in the ’90s on a Nation cruise remains strong in my memory. And yes, the “worthies” (including Gore Vidal) are disappearing. But there remains one jewel: JoAnn Wypijewski.
CORRINNE C. WILLIAMS
I never dared hope to see a tribute large enough for the man. Happily, I was dead wrong. My heartfelt thanks and admiration to JoAnn Wypijewski.
Greetings from the Texas gulag. I heard about the passing of Alexander Cockburn on Democracy Now! and was stunned almost to tears. I wrote him several years ago explaining that I was in super-seg and indigent, and requested a subscription to CounterPunch to help ward off insanity from sensory deprivation. Every year he would renew my subscription. I’d occasionally write him letters about a book or article I’d read, or about the bad old days when we’d be beaten senseless and tossed into solitary for failing to pick our weight in cotton. I promised I’d give him a thank-you call in December 2014, when I complete my quarter-century sentence. I’ll not be able to make that call now, and it saddens me greatly. He was a persnickety ol’ curmudgeon with a keen sense of justice and a heart of gold. I already miss his presence in the world.
If Victor Navasky doesn’t wish to take a page out of Alexander Cockburn’s playbook and attack the newly deceased, I guess I’ll have to do it. I have long been horrified that my favorite magazine gave such valuable real estate to a man who continued to deny that global climate change is caused by humans. This warming is a far greater threat to life on earth than the issues Cockburn was wont to lament.
What amazes me about Alexander Cockburn is not that he died so young but that he lived so long. I always thought he would be assassinated. No one could get away with speaking the truth as he did. He gave me courage every day to be truthful myself and stand up for what I believe.
No abuse of civil liberties was too trivial. He published an article about my humiliating strip search in a Chicago airport when I went to my son’s graduation, calling it “How Dangerous Are Professor McDonald’s Hips?” (I have two replaced hips and set off every alarm; I gather the authorities feared that I, a grandmother, would whip them out and take over the cockpit.)