Tag Archives: Obituaries

Remembering Jack Layton: 1950-2011

I WAS INFORMED of the death earlier this morning of Federal New Democratic Party leader, Jack Layton, by Twitter. There, in an uninterrupted chain of entries numbering in the dozens (and perhaps into the hundreds: I gave up counting) were expressions of sorrow. Never have I seen such universalism of sentiment, such spontaneous participation in a mood which appears to have touched everyone, really everyone, down to a person.

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The Obituary

One of my favourite literary genres, and in my view one of the most under-appreciated and misunderstood, is the obituary. Speaking of literature … it was a premature French obituary of 1888 which perhaps led Alfred Nobel to establish the Nobel Peace Prize. How painfully aware of his public relations problem he must have become, regarding himself in an obituarist’s rendering as “the merchant of death” and seeing his life’s work summarized thusly: he “became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before.” Continue reading