Euphemizing The Eulogy

by Chris Bodenner

When I read the invective that Breibart leveled against Kennedy yesterday, I reflexively winced. But then I remembered the impressive tirade Hitchens gave after Falwell's death, and it got me thinking about the "speak no ill" taboo. Clive Crook says it better than I can:

[H]ow to deal with Chappaquiddick has been a problem for many commentators and obituarists. Many decided, I think, that decency requires a veil to be drawn and euphemisms deployed, such as Wilentz's in that snippet. I disagree. I think you have to look at it unflinchingly, because you cannot understand the miracle of Kennedy's redemption otherwise. What he did was terrible. He survived as a politician only because of his name--a disgusting thing. But it changed him, and see what he then did with his life. He was emphatically not, as Paul Krugman writes, always a great man. He was once much less than a great man. What is astonishing is that he nonetheless made himself a great man.

And sometimes, as in the case of Falwell, there's just schadenfreude.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

Just In