And Now Havel is Gone Too

Wow, this has been a bad week. Vaclav Havel, the brave leader of the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, has died at the age of 75. Havel was one of the great anti-totalitarian leaders of the late 20th century and is as responsible as anyone for ending Soviet communism and bringing freedom to millions. A sad coincidence that he died the same week as his friend Christopher Hitchens.

Update: And apparently, Kim Jong Il is dead too. That’s one for the good guys and one for the bad guys. One of the last totalitarian leaders dies on the same day as one of the great anti-totalitarians.

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About Ed Brayton

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN.

  • Katrina

    Kim Jong Il has also died.

  • dingojack

    See how nature balances itself! [/snark]

    Let’s hope his idiot son isn’t as bad*



    * If you listen very, very carefully you’ll hear the sound of me not holding my breath

    PS: What’s with the bold thing, Ed?

  • dingojack

    And just after I complain about the bold, it reverts, spoooky (not)


  • scifi1


    Dingo, I’m glad you continue to breathe normally. From what I’ve seen so far, Kim Jr is as – if not more a – wackadoodle than the old man.

    As for balance – I reckon the old man has been, at least, brain dead for a while. They’ve probably been postponing the announcement while they make sure Junior is up to the fuckwittery of DOD!

  • scifi1

    Joking aside, it’s sad about Havel. My wife and I spent a little time in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Lovely countries. Mostly the people were friendly too. I like to think that Havel’s policy of non-violence seeped down to the masses and enabled them in carrying on with a minimum of post-break up fuss.

  • tommykey

    And apparently, Kim Jong Il is dead too.

    Which makes be break out into cackling laughter like Inspector Dreyfus in the Pink Panther movies.

    “Hehehehe…He’s dead…hehehehe…I’m so glad he’s dead!”

  • tommykey

    What’s also interesting if Kim Jong-Il is dead is that Christopher Hitchens frequently referred to religious based moral systems of reward and punishment as a “divine North Korea.”

  • Aliasalpha

    “One of the last totalitarian leaders dies on the same day as one of the great anti-totalitarians.”

    Sounds like the dramatic climax to a movie, battle to the death on the rim of the evil volcano lair or something

  • dingojack

    Aliasalpha – somehow I can see Kim Jong-Il cooing “my preciousss” as he plunges headlong into the volcanic cauldera…


  • bad Jim

    Yeah, well, Sergei Prokofiev died the same day as Josef Stalin.

  • starskeptic

    Ed, thank you for using “coincidence” instead of “ironic”…

  • democommie


    All very interesting developments to be sure but how can you even worry about this when the important news is that JESUS deserted teh Tebow in his moment of greatest need! The NFL has gone to the devil!

    Well anyway may GOD be with them–a secularist, an atheist and a bloody heathen.


    I was thinking the same thing, exactly, just as I read your comment! Boy, talk about Deja vu, all over again. Is that a deliciously ironic coincedence or what?

  • laurentweppe

    Ed, thank you for using “coincidence” instead of “ironic”…

    If you excuse my french pedentry, since “irony” as a figure of speech comes from the french language where incongruous situations (say, mourning and cathartically cheering during the same instant the passing of one man and the death of another who expired the same day) are considered to be situational irony, this coincidence was indeed ironic, or at least, ironique

  • democommie


    Apparently you were NOT copied on the memo re: French Stuff.

    We do not refer to matters, objects, persons or events as “French”. They are, depending upon the instant situation, either “Freedomistical” or “Cheeseeatin’Chablisswillin’Surrendermonkeyish”. The latter designation has fallen out of current favour, largely as a result of the U.S. holding the U.K.’s and France’s coats during the recent Tripoli Smackdown.

  • d cwilson

    The other good news with Kim Jong-Il’s death is that Hans Blix no longer has to fear being dropped into the shark tank.

    Kim Jong-Un Privately Doubting He’s Crazy Enough To Run North Korea.