Roll Call of the Dead

“Journalists” love anything that can be wrapped neatly in a box. The less thought that they have to give to it the better. Hence, right after Christmas and before New Year’s Day we can present the annual Roll Call of the Dead. And if you’re a celebrity and you die on New Year’s Eve, somewhere around 10:30 ET, tough. You missed the “Dead”-line. And no, you won’t make next year’s list either.

Half the people on The New York Times

  1. Reckless Endangerment

    Thank you for that beautiful Civil War quote EJ. 

  2. Amy Schley

    I liked Cracked’s list of not-so-notable deaths, including:

    • Ralph McQuarrie, Star Wars concept artist.

    • Steve Kordek, inventor of the pinball machine flaps.
    • John Marshall, inventor of Marshall amps
    • Jerry Nelson, original puppeteer of the Count on Sesame Street.
  3. EJHill
    Reckless Endangerment: Thank you for that beautiful Civil War quote EJ.  

    It was brought to the attention to Ken Burns and made famous in his Civil War series and it’s inclusion in the film and the music CD, it was read by actor Paul Roebling.

    Sullivan Ballou was a Major from Rhode Island and would be completely forgotten had he not felt compelled to tell his wife how much he loved her. Sarah never remarried and died in 1917.

    Of course, one should never let the facts get in the way of a good story, especially for Burns. There are five copies of Sullivan’s letter and none seem to be in his handwriting, so the provenance of the piece is open to question. It does not, however, distract from its beauty.

  4. tabula rasa

    The Ballou quote is one of my favorites.  If it’s not true, it should be.

    I did look through the NYT list.  One name is well-worth a mention.  

    Hilton Kramer (died in March) was perhaps New York’s greatest art critic  when he decided many years ago to create a conservative journal of the arts:  New Criterion.  

    Kramer was a strong voice for great art that moves the human spirit, and his journal lives on under the able hands of Roger Kimball.  If you don’t subscribe, you should.

  5. 10 cents

    Thanks EJ for having more than one register. Well done!

  6. 10 cents

    It just means you have eight lives left. :-)

    Casey: Huh… I wasn’t on the list either. Does that mean I’m not dead or not famous? · 3 hours ago

    Edited 2 hours ago

  7. gadster

    Amy, agreed – I’d add Gad Beck, the Holocaust survivor.

    Amy Schley: I liked Cracked’s list of not-so-notable deaths, including: · 8 hours ago

    • Ralph McQuarrie, Star Wars concept artist.

    • Steve Kordek, inventor of the pinball machine flaps.
    • John Marshall, inventor of Marshall amps
    • Jerry Nelson, original puppeteer of the Count on Sesame Street.
  8. She

    I never see any year-end ‘roll call of the dead’ without thinking of whichever Academy Awards host it was (perhaps Billy Crystal?) who commented, after the annual Oscar tribute to those who have passed on, that perhaps they should do a similar reminiscence each year to those who we all thought were dead, but actually weren’t, yet  . . . 

    Also, thank you for the lovely Civil War quote.  When Sullivan Ballou’s widow died in 1917, my Uncle Arthur was 10 years old, and my Great Grandmother was 48.  Both of them were exceptionally long-lived, and I remember them well.  I love to do the math, and realize, for the umpteenth time, how very young this country is.

    To absent friends and loved ones, everywhere  . . . 

  9. Nanda Panjandrum

    Thank you, EJ!

  10. reidspoorhouse

    This country is amazingly young. My profile picture is of my Great great grandfather a CSA Colonel, I also have a Great Grandfather who lost his right leg in that war. Not much longer and we will all be in the not so distant past. Of course we didn’t have that perspective just a few measly years ago.

  11. reidspoorhouse

    By the way the leg was lost fighting for the other side.

  12. Keith Preston

    An amazing number of those folks must be on there solely because they were on the dinner party Rolodex of some NYT staffer.

  13. Cornelius Julius Sebastian

    Excellent reflection, sir.  And that Ballou letter never fails to stir the soul to its foundations.

  14. Pilli

    EJ, you rightly mentioned the 20 young lives to be used as political fodder.   It is disgusting that those using them as such are so adamant in supporting the killing of 3200 children per day in America.

  15. Pat Sajak
    C

    Checked the list. I’m not on it. Another good year…if I can hang on till until Tuesday.

  16. jkumpire
    Pat Sajak: Checked the list. I’m not on it. Another good year…if I can hang on till until Tuesday. · 1 hour ago

    Does that mean I can still buy a vowel Pat?

  17. Casey

    Huh… I wasn’t on the list either. Does that mean I’m not dead or not famous?

  18. EJHill

    Casey – I think you hit the daily double.

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