As I get older, I’ve started to pay more attention to the obituary section of the newspaper. This is sometimes depressing when I read about acquaintances or classmates who have passed away. Fortunately, the obituaries are kind and speak mainly of the deceased’s finer attributes and leave out extraneous items like “the deceased was a miserable rat to be around and was trusted by no one.” The papers generally follow the rule to not speak ill of the dead.
This has reached new heights, however, where the once reputable Washington Post is concerned. On Sunday, they ran an obituary of the murderous, terrorist, rapist Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi that was headlined originally as “Islamic State’s terrorist-in-chief,” which was OK. But then they changed it, referring to al-Bagdadi as the “austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State.” This made him sound like Gandhi. After some backlash on social media, the Post changed the headline again to read “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, extremist leader of the Islamic state, dies at 48.” Which is better but doesn’t really give you a complete picture of this murderous thug. Not speaking ill of the dead went a little too far this time.
It does, however, open up a whole new industry for obituary writers everywhere in how to spin their obituary headlines for even the worst among us. Let’s call it Revisionist Political Endism.
Jeffrey Epstein, financier, lover of children, friend of presidents and royalty, passes away at 66 in New York residence.
Genghis Khan, noted horseman, overcame poverty to rule over most of Eurasia. Founder of free trade, dies at 65. Survived by 16 million male children.
Charles Manson, advocate of family values, musician, community activist and intimate of actress Sharon Tate, dies at 87.
Al Capone, Chicago businessman and beer distributor, member of Italian Fraternal Organization, founder of soup kitchen, dies at 48.
Pol Pot, Cambodian politician, champion of socialism, noted reformer who tried to create an agrarian society, dead at 73.
Joseph Goebbels, former chancellor of Germany, activist for women in the workforce, father of modern political campaigns, found dead in his vacation bunker, at 48.
Jeffrey Dahmer, Milwaukee resident, youth worker, preservationist and gourmand, dies unexpectedly at 34.
His Excellency President For Life, Field Marshal Idi “Big Daddy” Amin, VC, DSO, MC, CBE, noted for his humility, early leader in the wealth distribution field, family man with six wives including “Suicide Sarah,” former go-go dancer and heavyweight boxing champion of Uganda, dies in Saudi Arabian hospital of kidney failure at 78.
Adolph Hitler, vegan, dog lover, best-selling author and artist who brought full employment to Germany, dead unexpectedly at Berlin retreat at 56
There is just a world of possibilities for the Post Revisionism Political Endism editors.