Tag Archives | Obituary

Hugo No More

Kim Monaghan and I recorded an epic episode of Coincidence Control Network today. It’ll likely go live by Thursday. During the recording Monaghan was moved to declare his love for Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. The legally elected Chavez has been vilified as a mad dictator despite the fact that his political roots reach back to his heroic resistance of the former Venezuelan government that ordered soldiers to kill citizens during an uprising.

Tonight, news reports that Chavez has died are all frantically emerging across the mediascape. Chavez had cancer and had contracted a severe infection.

Oliver Stone’s South of the Border (2009) profiles Chavez, picturing a hero of the Venezuelan people who is vilified for his anti-business politics – in other words, he wouldn’t take orders from America. The film also pictures Chavez as the de facto leader of a “pink wave” of socialist leaders who have emerged throughout the region: : Evo Morales of Bolivia; Cristina Kirchner and former president Néstor Kirchner of Argentina; Rafael Correa of Ecuador; Raúl Castro of Cuba; Fernando Lugo of Paraguay; and Lula da Silva of Brazil.… Read the rest

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Burning Man Arsonist Apparently Commits Suicide

San Francisco’s newspaper is reporting the death of Paul Addis, who in 2007 “spent time in prison for setting the Burning Man wooden icon on fire four days too soon.”

The notorious “Burning Man Arsonist” (and performance artist) served nearly two years in prison for what he’d described as an act of protest. “This was not an act of vengeance, it was one of love,” he’s remembered as saying in the San Francisco newspaper. “A love of the ethos that is fading at Burning Man. There’s no sense of spontaneity. No sense of ‘Fuck it. Let’s burn this down.'”

At the time, he was appearing as Hunter S. Thompson in a one-man stage play called Gonzo: A Brutal Chrysalis. San Francisco’s newspaper reports that in 2008 he was also arrested against outside a San Francisco church with a backpack filled with fireworks “after telling neighbors the church ‘isn’t going to be there anymore.'”

This Saturday night, he was killed after throwing himself in front of a BART commuter train.… Read the rest

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Academic Racist J. Philippe Rushton Dead at 68

Picture: IsaacMao, Flickr (CC)

Jean Philippe Rushton, one of recent history’s most controversial, even hated, ‘scientists’ has died, leaving behind a cesspool of overly-simplistic theories in the field of race and intelligence. His research ignored the complexities of genetic variance, mutation and of course the social and environmental factors that indeed change genes in a lifetime, and the myriad of factors affecting IQ testing from education and income to the various testing methods themselves. His contrived conclusions harken back to the days of phrenology, eugenics and social Darwinism.

As moral philosopher James Flynn points out, mere inheritance would not explain why study replications get different results, why we’re all getting smarter so much faster today, how blacks could be so rapidly ‘catching up’, or how women seem to have even surpassed men by some testing measures. And even if intelligence were directly linked to the genes, and testing methods were perfect, researchers like Chris Chabris and David Laibson are finding more and more that “social science traits are complex.… Read the rest

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Gore Vidal, RIP

Mark Coggins (CC)

One of America’s most daring, outspoken citizens is dead. The New York Times offers this obituary:

Gore Vidal, the elegant, acerbic all-around man of letters who presided with a certain relish over what he declared to be the end of American civilization, died on Tuesday at his home in the Hollywood Hills section of Los Angeles, where he moved in 2003, after years of living in Ravello, Italy. He was 86.

The cause was complications of pneumonia, his nephew Burr Steers said by telephone.

Mr. Vidal was, at the end of his life, an Augustan figure who believed himself to be the last of a breed, and he was probably right. Few American writers have been more versatile or gotten more mileage from their talent. He published some 25 novels, two memoirs and several volumes of stylish, magisterial essays. He also wrote plays, television dramas and screenplays. For a while he was even a contract writer at MGM.

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Christopher Hitchens, RIP

Christopher HitchensOne of our finest writers and sharpest wits has died. Obituary from BBC News:

British-born author, literary critic and journalist Christopher Hitchens has died at the age of 62.

He died from pneumonia, a complication of the oesophageal cancer he had , at a Texas hospital.

Vanity Fair magazine, which announced his death, said there would “never be another like Christopher”.

He is survived by his wife, Carol Blue, and their daughter, Antonia, and his children from a previous marriage, Alexander and Sophia.

Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter described the writer as someone “of ferocious intellect, who was as vibrant on the page as he was at the bar”.

“Those who read him felt they knew him, and those who knew him were profoundly fortunate souls.”

Hitchens was born in Portsmouth in 1949 and graduated from Oxford in 1970.

He began his career as a journalist in Britain in the 1970s and later moved to New York, becoming contributing editor to Vanity Fair in November 1992…

[continues at BBC News]

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