Proudly Speaking Ill of the Dead

Filed in National by on February 15, 2016

Scalia is dead and, if I believed in Hell, may he burn there for eternity. Glenn Greenwald wrote back in 2013:

This demand for respectful silence in the wake of a public figure’s death is not just misguided but dangerous. That one should not speak ill of the dead is arguably appropriate when a private person dies, but it is wildly inappropriate for the death of a controversial public figure, particularly one who wielded significant influence and political power. “Respecting the grief” of Thatcher’s family members is appropriate if one is friends with them or attends a wake they organize, but the protocols are fundamentally different when it comes to public discourse about the person’s life and political acts. I made this argument at length last year when Christopher Hitchens died and a speak-no-ill rule about him was instantly imposed (a rule he, more than anyone, viciously violated), and I won’t repeat that argument today; those interested can read my reasoning here.


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Comments (12)

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  1. Jason330 says:

    I could probably get by without speaking ill of the dead, if only the praise of this man’s work wasn’t so loud and flat wrong.

    To say he was a “originalist” jurist who put a premium on the laws “as written” really ignores a whole bunch of times he fucking ignored the Constitution’s words, because he simply disagreed with them.

    His Helller decision is only one example of many times his conservative judicial activism simply ignored the plain spoken text of the Constitution.

  2. Delaware Dem says:

    I will always remember Jason’s first comment on the death of Scalia: “Just Let me enjoy the thought of Scalia meeting Satan for a minute.” LOL.

  3. Jason330 says:

    Make no mistake, the drinks are on me when Cheney kicks the bucket. There will be no “thoughts and prayers going out to the family” only celebrating.

  4. puck says:

    This is how the conservative movement ends – one funeral at a time.

  5. Dorian Gray says:

    I like these arguments because it always triggers my memory of the greatest insult eulogy of all time. Hitchens on the recently deceased Jerry Falwell.

    “If you gave Falwell an enema, he could be buried in a matchbox.”

  6. bamboozer says:

    Can’t wait for Cheyney to hit the dirt so the parties on at the demise of Scalia, hated the little sum bitch with a vile and burning passion. As noted he was an “originalist” when it suited him and a far right judge with an agenda when it did not. On a lighter note looking forward to the coming excrement storm when Obama nominates someone for the gig.

  7. Mitch Crane says:

    Then there is the line about Bette Davis saying negative things about the just-deceased Joan Crawford and being told she should only say good things about those who pass away: “Joan Crawford is dead…good!”

    Or Alice Roosevelt Longworth on being told that an enemy was dead: “How could you tell?”

  8. cassandra_m says:

    For those not interested in speaking ill of the dead just yet, you could make a memorial contribution to Planned Parenthood, LA Raza, or Human Rights Campaign in Scalia’s name.

  9. Brock Landers says:

    Thanks Cassandra. My ACLU contribution will be in the late judge’s name this year.

  10. ben says:

    Figured I’d give it an extended weekend…. While i cant quite bring myself to celebrate a death, per se, I am quite happy Scalia will no longer be hurting millions with what were his insane and backwards world views. If he did anything good, it was to inspire people to fight against him, and I have full faith that many of those people have become excellent advocates for equality and warriors for legal justice.
    vAs always, I would have rather seen him retire and live a long life, watching everything he worked for crumble…. but i’ll take what we got with marriage applesauce.

  11. Mikem2784 says:

    Ok, which one of you put the pillow over his head?

    Joking aside, I cannot celebrate the death of any human; I’m glad his poor decisions will no longer negatively impact people, but I still feel for his family and those who called him friend, including our beloved RBG. I’m still a firm believer in separating the politics from the personal / human.

  12. Delaware Dem says:

    Mike, we are not celebrating his death, but we are not mourning it either. It’s an event that happened that will have profound implications politically and personally for America. I feel the sympathy for his family that you would feel for any family that loses a family member, but that’s all. His death is not a tragedy, because he lived a relatively long and successful life.