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Saturday, March 11, 2006
obituary forum The Daily Telegraph obituary on John Profumo, I'm assuming it's Andrew's, is my early nominee for best obituary of the year. It's at once touching and fascinating. A must read.
Profumo, whose name was as synonymous with "scandal" as Monica Lewinsky's (but decades earlier), did have a fascinating life. I had no idea how beloved he was in England.
It's a shame that a life like his, filled with truly noble deeds, was overshadowed in the minds of a less than attentive public - I include myself in that number - by a brief lapse in his judgement.
You can find that Profumo obit at:
Chris Reed sent this email about Profumo. (I've taken the liberty of copy editing his e-note, but I haven't changed the content.):
Hi. This is fellow obituarist Chris Reed of the Guardian (UK).
Must disagree with your admiration of the Daily Telegraph's obit on John Profumo -- not its style, but content.
What was so "dignified" and praiseworthy about Profumo's decades of permanent silence on a huge scandal that brought down a government? Remember he was an elected representative of the people in a democracy, which he betrayed.
Surely he owed it to them -- let alone the parliamentary colleagues he deceived with his lies -- to explain himself afterwards. There are still plenty of questions about this affair, which was not just personal but concerned national security. He could have clarified these if he chose to speak. But he never did.
To me, that is a continuation of the arrogance and supercilious attitude he displayed in the first place.
And, I'm so old, I was actually on the story as a Fleet Street at the time!
The Profumo obit was in a Tory paper about a dead Tory in a nation where newspapers are overtly political. Others do not and did not love Profumo.
The obit certainly has more than a whiff of apologia about it.
Also, at least for this American not terribly familiar with the scandal, it is boring.
If Andrew wrote that, I'll eat his 10-gallon hat! (He may have written in-between bits, as this could be a committee rewrite job, but no hats will be eaten for what is essentially editing.)
Don't let me down, Andrew!
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