Matt Taibbi gives a fitting farewell to a truly horrible human being.
When I mentioned to one of my relatives that I was writing about the death of Ailes, the response was, “Say that you hope he’s reborn as a woman in Saudi Arabia.”
Ailes has no one but his fast-stiffening self to blame for this treatment. He is on the short list of people most responsible for modern America’s vicious and bloodthirsty character.
We are a hate-filled, paranoid, untrusting, book-dumb and bilious people whose chief source of recreation is slinging insults and threats at each other online, and we’re that way in large part because of the hyper-divisive media environment he discovered.
Like many con artists, he reflexively targeted the elderly – “I created a TV network for people from 55 to dead,” he told Joan Walsh – where he saw billions could be made mining terrifying storylines about the collapse of the simpler America such viewers remembered, correctly or (more often) incorrectly, from their childhoods.
The extent to which we hate and fear each other now – that’s not any one person’s fault. But no one person was more at fault than Roger Ailes. He never had a soul to sell, so he sold ours. It may take 50 years or a century for us to recover. Even dictators rarely have that kind of impact. Enjoy the next life, you monster.
Marcus Ranum shares my mystification at this idea that the lives of public figures should not be accurately evaluated upon their death but that instead their evil acts be softened by being covered with a gaudy haze. He predicts that, with Ailes’s demise, people who were victims of his abuse but stayed silent because of fears of his reputation for vindictive retaliation will start coming forward with new allegations.
I’m fascinated by the “don’t speak ill of the dead” mindset. Admittedly, the best time to speak ill of someone is while they are alive, to their face: maybe they’ll cry. The second best time is when they’re dead.
It seems to be me that christianity is partly to blame for society’s attitude: they seem to think there’s a ghost of someone hanging around, or maybe if they’re down in hell they’ll hear you dishing on them and scream a little harder. That doesn’t make any sense, either – if there’s a god and a heaven and hell, then whether we tell the truth about them before or after they are dead is completely irrelevant.
If you’re dealing with a completely ruthless tyrant, then definitely wait to speak ill of them until after they’re dead. You shouldn’t ruin your life to give them the pleasure of crushing yours.
Just in case anyone hauls out that old trope about not speaking ill of the dead, here once again is the eulogy song that I always link to whenever any really rotten person dies. It is from an Australian comedy show and some of the people may be unknown to Americans or, in the case of Bradman and Packer, those who do not follow cricket. (Language advisory)