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Dec 1, 2023·edited Dec 1, 2023Liked by lyz

One of my all-time favorite stories about my mom is the following:

My mom got invited to an embassy reception in D.C. for the former president of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere. She and my dad got to know him when they lived there. Not because they were fancy people, but there weren’t many Americans there in the 60s, and even fewer who were fluent in Swahili. And only they who had adopted a Tanzanian son and rode around with him stuffed between them (no helmets on anyone) on their motorcycle, a box on the back for the cat.

It had been years since they'd seen each other, so when my mom got to the front of the reception line Nyerere greeted her like an old friend, like any African would. They nattered on about my siblings and his children and my dad, all in Swahili. And my mom realized that Kissinger, that “pompous ass” as she called him, was standing impatiently behind her, clearly wondering who the hell this bespectacled, buck-toothed nobody of a woman was delaying him from time with an important man, not understanding a single word they were saying. Totally excluded from the meat of the moment. So, she just kept Nyerere talking as long as she could (for something like 20 minutes, which is forever in a reception line), periodically side-eyeing the “war criminal” (what she also called him) tapping his toe aggressively behind her, delighting in her power, at least on the inside of herself, to put him in his place.

It was one of the proudest moments of her life. :) There were plenty of other moments when my mom was vocal in her confrontations with the powerful, but she's also from the South, though she denies any real connection to traditional, Southern styles of womanhood. But if this wasn't an example of that, I don't know what is.

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Don’t speak ill of the dead is perfectly reasonable when what it means is “don’t be an asshole to the family at the funeral.” But that's light years away from “Don’t write negative news stories.”

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Favorite tweet about Kissinger: punk's not dead but reagan, thatcher, and fucking kissinger are. I would say anyone who hosted him is a runner-up dingus.

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We speak ill of other dead monsters, why not Kissinger? Jennings was a beacon of truth in evil times. I miss him on the news. Happy holidays🍷🎉

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I saw Henry Kissinger on the street once in midtown; must have been the mid-90s. I was walking down E. 52nd to the subway and he was on the sidewalk outside the Four Seasons. At first I thought "that man looks like a dried up tree root carved to look like a person" and then I realized it was Henry Kissinger.

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Dec 1, 2023Liked by lyz

R.I.P. Kissinger: Rest In Perdition. I'm only sorry that no one from Cambodia got to him before old age. Spencer Ackerman is the author of Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump (a book which is on my to-read list), so I'm not surprised he isn't toeing the neolib line. Good for him.

re: Sizovs: It's not THAT hard to find intelligent women in tech. Unless you're a gross little dingusy creep and then they all avoid you because of how you are a gross little dingusy creep. I work at a company of less than 25 people and four of the software developers are women (including me), and two of them have the title of senior developer (not including me. Yet.). Also people calling you out for being a fucking loser is not a "lynching", how about you just shut up, man.

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Thank you for this. Years ago, some friends and I accidentally started the tradition of shotgunning a beer every time a fascist warmonger died. We did it for Reagan, Thatcher, Rush Limbaugh. We're getting too old to shotgun beers now, but my partner and I did tequila shots in solidarity with the Latin American countries he contributed to destabilizing with the cheers of "good riddance to warmongers!"

And I think of an old friend, adopted out of Cambodia as a baby among the ruins of that country, by a well-meaning white American couple, considered a "lucky one," who struggled with drugs, mental health, identity, and who knows what else for as long as I knew him. I didn't know enough to ask and be there for him in the ways I could have or should have at the time. Rot in hell, Kissinger.

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Thanks for this. And for a previous post taking the Washington Post to task for the dumbest piece about women and men I have read in a long time. And for every post. And while I'm here and we are discussing burnished reputations...Fuck Reagan.

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Dec 1, 2023Liked by lyz

"Their kids are so big now and so are mine. And we wonder where the time went? What happened? But we know time went into our hair and our skin and our hearts."

I'm not crying, don't tell people I was crying.

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Regarding unions/labor: Shawn Fain, Chris Smalls, & Sarah Nelson are 3 of the best things to happen to workers in (easily) the last 20 years. What a refreshing change after decades of milquetoast union leadership, and going along to get along.

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Old veteran here.

Most people are too young now to remember Vietnam, or Cambodia, or Laos. I'm not. Henry was despised. Then he hung on with Ford. He left things in such disarray that when Iran popped up, we were ill-prepared, which led to the Iran hostage rescue attempt. Which helped lead to Reagan.

It's ancient history to most people now. But it's not to those who fought it and experienced it. Lyz is right. The media coverage has been surprising and less than satisfactory.

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I personally feel that Kissinger’s publicity glow-up is a symptom of a key problem for Americans (primarily white men), in that we have a very difficult time acknowledging when we are not the good guys. Before Kissinger, people went to great pains to rehabilitate the image of Robert E Lee, to the point where they basically created a fictional character also named Robert E Lee that represented the fantasy of the noble Confederate soldier. Even now, a lot of white male politicians are going through great pains to suppress the teaching of black history out of fear of making white students uncomfortable with the realization that their ancestors were probably shitty people. Kissinger is just the latest expression of American men’s obsession with America being seen as the country that can do no wrong.

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Thinking about how many white cis men do appalling things and usually get away unscathed, I see Anthony Bourdain as a really good example of how to use ones' social power (see, privilege) for good. He was beloved AND he didn't shy away from calling out bullshit and gross fawning when he saw it, AND it didn't damage his career or reputation. A true model for the ages.

(My brain is also thinking about people pointing out Bush Jr. being a war criminal and Ellen DeGeneres' terrible hot take that we should 'be nice' to war criminals and given the war crimes actively happening the past too many days...it's like everything I was taught in school about the Lessons We Learned As a Society after WWII were *lies*.)

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Parker Molloy is a national treasure. So is Spencer Ackerman. So is Rolling Stone, and how they categorize their stories ("Good Riddance"). Can someone be a posthumous dingus? Kissinger certainly qualifies. As Jeff Tiedrich might say, "live your life in such a way that people aren't lining up to piss on your grave." <3

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Re: Henry the nightmare

My Granpa always said “a son of a b***h alive is a son of a b***h dead.” He did not tolerate “don’t speak ill of the dead”. I have long adopted his philosophy. In fact, as I write this, I’m trying to remember to which ring of Dante’s Inferno Kissinger is most appropriately consigned.

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For all my sins, I forsake the "big" picture for the specific. Dr. Kissinger supported Indonesia’s military dictator in the invasion of East Timor, and for that alone he needs must twist in the eternal fires of Hell.

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