Sunday, July 22, 2012

Alexander Cockburn, RIP

Out, brief candle.

I felt considerable surprise and sorrow in learning of the death of Alexander Cockburn.

He was instrumental in getting me started as a writer. I owe him a great debt of gratitude for his interest and encouragement, and the platform that he and Jeffrey St. Clair have given me at the Counterpunch website and newsletter.

When I wrote, I sometimes imagined Alexander Cockburn as the reader at my shoulder.  I think it made me a better, bolder, and more honest writer.

However, the biting sense of loss has more to it than the disappearance of a sympathetic interlocutor, or the knowledge that, despite having reached his “allotted threescore and ten” and burdened by the physical and emotional miseries of a two-year battle with cancer, Alexander Cockburn had plenty left in the tank when he passed on.

Of course, he had more polemics left to write, articles to edit, contributors to nurture.  

But I was also brought up short by the thought, if Alexander Cockburn isn’t around to do these things, who will?  Who, in these difficult times, has the talent, the knowledge, the experience, and his miraculous combination of engagement, detachment, humor, invective, and generosity to fill the void?  

Guess we’re on our own now.


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