andrew burke





The Kissinger Solace

Posted on: 2023-12-02

So the other day Henry Kissinger finally died, at the ripe old age of 100.

Ryan Broderick has a solid round-up of the various responses and obituaries, many of them pre-written so long ago that they're like a time capsule from journalists who have also since passed away. Rolling Stone certainly doesn't hold anything back.

Anyhow, besides learning new and terrible things about his global legacy of misery, finding out that Kissinger had passed gave me a surprising solace.

All my life, whenever someone good has passed before their time, I would often mutter "and yet Kissinger lives on". Terry Pratchett, Iain Banks, Jack Layton, Steve Jobs, David Bowie, Prince, Carrie Fisher, Taylor Hawkins, several friends, and even my own father.

Cartoon of the Grim Reaper using a claw machine, with the caption 'Pee Wee Herman? Is Henry Kissinger Even In This Thing?

Now that Kissinger has finally passed, I feel somehow more at peace about these other losses. They've no longer been outdone by this centenarian.

It's actually made me take some time to reflect on and celebrate those other, shorter lives no longer among us.

Of course there are plenty of other terrible people out there who are still outstaying their welcome - some of them are even quite young, alas. I gather some of them are even trying to figure out how to live forever. I very much hope they will not, succeed, as it would take away one of the great solaces of history.

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