Alexander Cockburn

Sad to hear the news that Irish-American journalist Alexander Cockburn has succumbed to cancer at the age of 71. To borrow one of his metaphors, it was exposure to Cockburn’s journalism at a tender age, via a chance discovery of his 1988 anthology Corruptions of Empire, which inoculated me against the error of thinking that his friend Christopher Hitchens had an admirable prose style.

Here is a collection of his articles. It’s nice to see that this includes a piece about the excesses of New York dining. Most of the obituaries I’ve read are strictly about his political work, but Cockburn is one of the funniest and most acute food writers I’ve ever read, and I’ve never forgotten his gloss on a recipe for cold fish curry:

Short of lowering one’s naked foot slowly into the weeds at the bottom of a pond it is hard to imagine a more depressing experience.

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