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Cooley Hurd

(26,877 posts)
Sat Jul 21, 2012, 09:35 AM Jul 2012

Alexander Cockburn, 1941-2012 - Farewell, Alex, My Friend

Source: Coutnerpunch

by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR


Our friend and comrade Alexander Cockburn died last night in Germany, after a fierce two-year long battle against cancer. His daughter Daisy was at his bedside.

Alex kept his illness a tightly guarded secret. Only a handful of us knew how terribly sick he truly was. He didn’t want the disease to define him. He didn’t want his friends and readers to shower him with sympathy. He didn’t want to blog his own death as Christopher Hitchens had done. Alex wanted to keep living his life right to the end. He wanted to live on his terms. And he wanted to continue writing through it all, just as his brilliant father, the novelist and journalist Claud Cockburn had done. And so he did. His body was deteriorating, but his prose remained as sharp, lucid and deadly as ever.

In one of Alex’s last emails to me, he patted himself on the back (and deservedly so) for having only missed one column through his incredibly debilitating and painful last few months. Amid the chemo and blood transfusions and painkillers, Alex turned out not only columns for CounterPunch and The Nation and First Post, but he also wrote a small book called Guillotine and finished his memoirs, A Colossal Wreck, both of which CounterPunch plans to publish over the course of the next year.

Alex lived a huge life and he lived it his way. He hated compromise in politics and he didn’t tolerate it in his own life. Alex was my pal, my mentor, my comrade. We joked, gossiped, argued and worked together nearly every day for the last twenty years. He leaves a huge void in our lives. But he taught at least two generations how to think, how to look at the world, how to live a life of resistance. So, the struggle continues and we’re going to remain engaged. He wouldn’t have it any other way.
</snip>




Read more: http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/07/21/farewell-alex-my-friend/



Note to mods, I know Counterpunch isn't "mainstream" but Cockburn & St Clair were important voices during the last decade.

Cross gently Alex, and thank you so much for bringing truth to light.
42 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Alexander Cockburn, 1941-2012 - Farewell, Alex, My Friend (Original Post) Cooley Hurd Jul 2012 OP
A great man has passed. We can still learn from him... Octafish Jul 2012 #1
Oh, that's sad. salvorhardin Jul 2012 #2
I'm sad to hear that. bluedigger Jul 2012 #3
A great man. Mimosa Jul 2012 #6
I used to love Counterpunch in 2003 hfojvt Jul 2012 #18
Let's not rehash that in this time and place. bluedigger Jul 2012 #19
damn. KG Jul 2012 #4
I have a signed book of his jimlup Jul 2012 #5
I just know him from his columns and CounterPunch and he was byeya Jul 2012 #7
In honor of Alex, I move that whatever stigma there might have been on Counterpunch be lifted leveymg Jul 2012 #8
I don't think we should forswear a jaundiced eye just because someone died. MADem Jul 2012 #12
All Counterpunch was ever really guilty of Ken Burch Jul 2012 #40
Oh mann. really? Iggy Jul 2012 #9
Sad news. Beacool Jul 2012 #10
guy heaven05 Jul 2012 #11
You will be missed Alex JitterbugPerfume Jul 2012 #13
Sometimes the guy just pissed me off... orwell Jul 2012 #14
Condolences to his friends and family. Overseas Jul 2012 #15
RIP to a tremedous writer and fighter nt flamingdem Jul 2012 #16
rest well word warrior UpInArms Jul 2012 #17
Sorry he died relatively young Beringia Jul 2012 #20
Christopher Hitchens "blogged his own death"? WTF? D23MIURG23 Jul 2012 #21
There's no need to attack Cockburn and defend Hitchens. Leopolds Ghost Jul 2012 #41
Fair enough. I was offended mostly because of the line I highlighted in my last title. D23MIURG23 Jul 2012 #42
oh wow.. how sad. SemperEadem Jul 2012 #22
A lot of bad news today! This is a great loss! nt Peace Patriot Jul 2012 #23
RIP. PassingFair Jul 2012 #24
I learned a lot from him-especially when I researched some of his work that I questioned. RIP n/t bobthedrummer Jul 2012 #25
What an impressive man. RIP, sir hlthe2b Jul 2012 #26
This is sad news lordsummerisle Jul 2012 #27
We NEED iconoclasts like him Lydia Leftcoast Jul 2012 #28
I saw him speak a couple times. lovemydog Jul 2012 #29
Fair well Alex, You always made me think, ... CRH Jul 2012 #30
Did you know that Cockburn is the uncle of Olivia Wilde, who played Thirteen in House? alp227 Jul 2012 #31
And (half-)uncle of Laura Flanders muriel_volestrangler Jul 2012 #32
Interesting, did not know the connections. dixiegrrrrl Jul 2012 #33
Was just going to say... wickerwoman Jul 2012 #34
It's not antisemitic, it's just non-Zionist. Ken Burch Jul 2012 #39
"Ashes and Diamonds," klook Jul 2012 #35
I loved this man's writing. Sweet rest to you sir, but keep sending us clarity if you will! earcandle Jul 2012 #36
Christopher Hitchens lived his life right to the end also JI7 Jul 2012 #37
RIP. joshcryer Jul 2012 #38

Octafish

(55,745 posts)
1. A great man has passed. We can still learn from him...
Sat Jul 21, 2012, 09:43 AM
Jul 2012

...through his work.

Peace to his family and friends.

salvorhardin

(9,995 posts)
2. Oh, that's sad.
Sat Jul 21, 2012, 09:44 AM
Jul 2012

Another complicated man I didn't always agree with, but no doubt one of the brightest journalists and commentators of his generation. I especially miss his Beat The Devil column in The Nation.

bluedigger

(17,114 posts)
3. I'm sad to hear that.
Sat Jul 21, 2012, 09:45 AM
Jul 2012
Counterpunch was one of the first progressive websites I started reading. Together with Commondreams they led me to DU. Cockburn always made you think, whether or not you agreed with his conclusions. RIP.

hfojvt

(37,573 posts)
18. I used to love Counterpunch in 2003
Sat Jul 21, 2012, 12:06 PM
Jul 2012

but then the Democratic Primary started, and it was all about how bad all of the Democrats were.

Of course, he didn't do much of the writing at Counterpunch. He did write a series call the JAMPOT files (Just Another Middle-aged Portker On the Take) personally attacking his former friend Christopher Hitchens. Which I thought was kinda low class.

Eric Alterman called him anti-semitic and Somerby notes how Cockburn wrote a column in The Nation in October 2000 dishonestly trashing Gore http://journals.democraticunderground.com/hfojvt/58

 

byeya

(2,842 posts)
7. I just know him from his columns and CounterPunch and he was
Sat Jul 21, 2012, 10:02 AM
Jul 2012

very insightful as well as being a darn good writer. He wasn't afraid to swim against the tide.

I'll certainly miss him.

Best wishes to his family and friends.

leveymg

(36,418 posts)
8. In honor of Alex, I move that whatever stigma there might have been on Counterpunch be lifted
Sat Jul 21, 2012, 10:13 AM
Jul 2012

I could never quite understand why such a brilliant and iconoclastic writer was ever banned by people who think of themselves as progressives, even if he didn't like Israel, establishment politicians and their wars, and Christopher Hitchens, much.

Rest in Peace, Alex, but continue to give them Hell.

MADem

(135,425 posts)
12. I don't think we should forswear a jaundiced eye just because someone died.
Sat Jul 21, 2012, 10:49 AM
Jul 2012

Counterpunch was always a mixed bag here--some good stuff, some total shit.

I imagine that will continue. I don't recall it being outright "banned," but it wasn't in the same league as some of the more established and reliable outlets.

 

Ken Burch

(50,254 posts)
40. All Counterpunch was ever really guilty of
Mon Jul 23, 2012, 09:41 AM
Jul 2012

was

A) Not robotically calling for all progressives to vote for all Democratic candidates on the ballot.

B) Not being Zionist(and no, you don't have to be an anti-Zionist to reject the "anti-Zonism=antisemitism" slur.

That's pretty much the summary of the beefs everybody here had with Counterpunch.

Beacool

(30,261 posts)
10. Sad news.
Sat Jul 21, 2012, 10:22 AM
Jul 2012

My condolences to his family. An important voice of the left is now gone.

May he rest in peace.

orwell

(7,804 posts)
14. Sometimes the guy just pissed me off...
Sat Jul 21, 2012, 10:58 AM
Jul 2012

...and I'm sure that he would take that as a compliment.

Sorry to hear of his passing. He lived life well.

Beringia

(4,350 posts)
20. Sorry he died relatively young
Sat Jul 21, 2012, 12:24 PM
Jul 2012

I once sent him an email because he had put down internet forums and I said they were a growing tool. And he emailed me back a reply.

D23MIURG23

(2,879 posts)
21. Christopher Hitchens "blogged his own death"? WTF?
Sat Jul 21, 2012, 01:00 PM
Jul 2012

What a disgusting thing to say.

Since when is it dishonorable to be open about the fact that you are terminally ill anyway? In any case, Its not as though someone like Hitchens would have been able to hide his illness anyway, given that people actually knew who he was. That would be much easier for sombody like Cockburn.

Bleh.

As for counterpunch, the last time I read that zine was in 2004, and I had to stop because all the pro-Nader crap was making me want to gouge my eyes out. Who the hell thought voting for Nader was a good idea in 2004? Yes, the dark lord is in power, and he and his imbecile sock puppet are throwing darts at a world map and invading the countries they hit, but let me cast a symbolic protest vote for a self-deluded narcissist? Really?

I don't mean to track up a eulogy thread with bile, but if St. Clair is going to use his friend's eulogy to throw stones and promote counterpunch then I don't have very much reason to hold back.

Leopolds Ghost

(12,875 posts)
41. There's no need to attack Cockburn and defend Hitchens.
Tue Jul 24, 2012, 04:51 AM
Jul 2012

The men were two peas in a pod, in some ways. I don't get it.

Just ended up on opposite sides of the spectrum.

D23MIURG23

(2,879 posts)
42. Fair enough. I was offended mostly because of the line I highlighted in my last title.
Wed Jul 25, 2012, 12:46 AM
Jul 2012

I disliked Hitchens willingness to side with the Neocons on a number of issues toward the end of his life, and his apparent Islamophobia. On the other hand I'm an athiest, and I have been greatly inspired by many of the things that he either wrote or said in debates. I find it difficult not to respond when I feel that he is being attacked.

On the other hand, I disliked St. Clair's obit for Cockburn more than I actually disliked Cockburn. He had his own merits.

Lydia Leftcoast

(48,217 posts)
28. We NEED iconoclasts like him
Sat Jul 21, 2012, 03:22 PM
Jul 2012

He was one of the first to question the "200 Kuwaiti babies being taken out of incubators to die" story in the lead-up to the Gulf War.

Along with other bullshit propaganda stories that the MSM publish uncritically.

I heard him speak in Portland at a conference of Central America activists. It was clear that his iconoclasm sprang from a deep concern for the victims of U.S. policies--you know, the people our mainstream media either ignores or treats as "enemies"--and from sorrow and anger at what this country has done to the rest of the world.

lovemydog

(11,833 posts)
29. I saw him speak a couple times.
Sat Jul 21, 2012, 04:17 PM
Jul 2012

He was low-key, compassionate. Listened well to questions. Challenged orthodoxy. I'll miss his fiercely intelligent writing.

CRH

(1,553 posts)
30. Fair well Alex, You always made me think, ...
Sat Jul 21, 2012, 04:24 PM
Jul 2012

why I didn't agree with you, and then sometimes I realized I did. Your articles were not for the lazy or conventional thinking, they so often challenged deeply entrenched prejudice, or the dogma egotism instills. Thank You.

alp227

(32,275 posts)
31. Did you know that Cockburn is the uncle of Olivia Wilde, who played Thirteen in House?
Sat Jul 21, 2012, 04:33 PM
Jul 2012
Here's what Olivia had to say about her uncle on Twitter: "He taught me how to make coffee in a jar, how to listen to LPs, how to ride a horse through a river, and how to drive a classic with love."



Wilde's filmography included The O.C. and House on TV as well as movies like The Next Three Days.

And I hope to read some of Alexander Cockburn's articles in depth soon, I think he's been writing lately on Counterpunch, no? (His last name actually is pronounced like the last name of some crazy right wing senator in Oklahoma.)

muriel_volestrangler

(101,759 posts)
32. And (half-)uncle of Laura Flanders
Sat Jul 21, 2012, 05:04 PM
Jul 2012
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laura_Flanders

and also of her sister Stephanie, the BBC's economics editor. He was also brother of Patrick Cockburn, an award-winning journalist on the Middle East. It's an accomplished family in journalism.

wickerwoman

(5,662 posts)
34. Was just going to say...
Sat Jul 21, 2012, 06:27 PM
Jul 2012

I found this out yesterday. Saw her episode of the Colbert Report, looked her up on wikipedia and noticed this. I haven't really read Counterpunch for the last ten years or so (it's a bit anti-semitic and pretty far behind the curve on gay and womens' rights) but I'm sad to see Cockburn go. Counterpunch was one of the things that kept me going after 9/11 until I found DU.

RIP.

 

Ken Burch

(50,254 posts)
39. It's not antisemitic, it's just non-Zionist.
Mon Jul 23, 2012, 09:36 AM
Jul 2012

If it was antisemitic, Uri Avnery wouldn't write for it.

klook

(12,294 posts)
35. "Ashes and Diamonds,"
Sat Jul 21, 2012, 10:33 PM
Jul 2012

his syndicated column, was where I first encountered Cockburn, in the 1980s. Brilliant and acerbic writer who taught me a lot about politics and history.

JI7

(89,578 posts)
37. Christopher Hitchens lived his life right to the end also
Sun Jul 22, 2012, 12:48 AM
Jul 2012

why act like what he did was so bad. Hitchens was a writer, he wrote about personal experiences also. he continued to do what he did even as he knew he was going to die soon. he didn't stop living and doing what he did.

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