Hitchens, Updike put Russert's death into perspective
POSTED ON 6/23/2008 | PERMALINK |0 Comments | BOOKMARK
Christopher Hitchens points out some of the over the top lionizing of Tim Russert:
In the words of NBC News executive Phil Griffin, "After the magical experience of this service, to come out and see the rainbow and Luke at the bottom of it made the last dry eye weep." It was further pointed out that the last song at the memorial service had been "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Tim's son, Luke, was quoted as asking, "Is anyone still an atheist now?"
And then brings us back down to earth:
In John Updike's brilliant novel In the Beauty of the Lilies, the son of a Presbyterian minister who lost the faith is listening to those who eulogize his departed father and suddenly realizes how the myths about Jesus got started in the first place.
Russert was a good and accomplished human being, but the shock of his sudden death instantly mixed with American's obsessive celebrity culture to create an intoxicating potion. The nation (led by Twitter) quickly drank it down and, as a result, we ended up celebrating a superhero instead of mourning a man.

Note: This story is not meant to be critical of Russert. Hitchens has some very nice things to say about him. Neither he, nor I, mean any disrespect.
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