Sunday, December 28, 2008

December 28, 2008

     At the end of a year this columnist likes to remember some of those we lost during that year. There is never enough room for all the valuable dead, but here are some:
     We lost Mark Felt an FBI agent who, as Deep Throat, was the source who helped end Richard Nixon's presidency.  We lost actress and singer Eartha Kitt and playwright Harold Pinter.  Just imagine her in one of his. Oh my.
     We lost Jesse Helms, an unapologetically racist senator whose time, thankfully, had passed.  We lost Studs Terkel, a writer and philosopher whom I grew up hearing on the radio.
     We lost Alexander Solzhenitsyn, another writer and philosopher who helped bring down the Soviet Empire. That was real empire;  we also lost Charlton Heston, who played the rulers of lots of fictional ones.  Also from Hollywood, we mourned Cyd Charisse, a dancer and actress of great grace.  And Van Johnson, a star from back when stars were really stars.  And Paul Newman died, perhaps the finest actor of his generation and certainly the one with the bluest eyes.
     Music lost Odetta Holmes, who shared the blues with us.  And Bo Diddley, an icon of rock and roll.
     Conservatism lost Bill Buckley, one of its most literate voices.  Bobby Fischer died.  As a youngster he'd been the world champion of chess, and if he never seemed quite sure of what to do next, wasn't that something all by itself?
     Journalism lost Tim Russert who never ran out of well-researched, pointed questions for his guests on "Meet the Press."  Fashion lost Yves St. Laurent.  And the idea of bravery in response to challenge--that lost Sir Edmund Hillary, who conquered Mt. Everest and set an example for us all.

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