The writer Alexander Cockburn has died. I did not always agree with him, but he was wonderful to read. He finished his memoirs, which has the wonderful title of A Colossal Wreck
, and CounterPunch Press is going to publish them. Cockburn's great gift to me was a story he told about his father Claud. When Alexander was a teenager and suffering the way teenagers do, Claud said to him, "Read a little Marx. It will put things in perspective." This leads to the wonderful image of Alexander dealing with adolescent angst by burrowing into the first three chapters of Capital
. And it's good advice. As I have mentioned elsewhere, Marx is a heck of a good writer, and his ability to remain good-humored while doing savage take-downs of society is an amazement and a tonic. Anyway, farewell to Alexander Cockburn. I will pull out the first volume of Capital
To give you some idea of what Cockburn was like, he took great and amused pride in being descended from the British General Cockburn, who burned down the White House during the War of 1812.
He was always opposed to the status quo, and he was very funny.