'The Economist' Writes an Obituary for the Obituary Writer of 'The Economist'


Wed, Feb 2nd, 2011 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

While surfing the net randomly, I found this The Economist's obituary for their Obituaries editor, who apparently kicked the bucket sometime in early July 2010. Nothing special about that: we all, sooner or later, kick it.

But what's bizarre about this one is how it's written. The deceased, a Mr. Keith Colquhoun, is described like an amicable, knowledgeable, old-fashioned uncle who wrote passionate books and was capable of tremendous wit.

Or was he? When you start reading lines like:

"He loved Asia, though his view of it was really that of a 19th-century colonial administrator"

or that

"Those disarmed by his gentleness could never quite forget that in Keith's world guns would be suddenly drawn, blood spilt on the carpet and bullets lodged in a desk, 'reducing its value a little should it ever come to auction'"

followed by the fact that he sounded stubborn and anal-retentive about his choice of the weekly Obituary candidate, you do start to wonder whether it's you that's not brilliant enough to get the tip-to-the-hat wit The Economist is famous for as a tribute to a brilliant editor or, the fact that, to quote a quote in the very same obituary,

"Hunting around for something not too brutal to say [...] now that he is dead, those who knew him have remarked on his charm. The English language is helpful with the evasive word."



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