Saturday, July 21, 2012

Alexander Cockburn, Dead and Alive


When I worked for the West Sonoma County Paper (aka The Paper, The Independent, then The North Bay Bohemian) we knew Alex Cockburn because he wrote for a sister newspaper, The Anderson Valley Advertiser, and he'd often send us missives (and books) that kept us up late at night changing our headlines on more than one occasion.

Cockburn wrote for both radical and conservative newspapers and magazines—from the Wall Street Journal to The Village Voice. He penned a controversial column for The Nation, called "Beat the Devil." And so he did. With a stick. Nothing was sacrosanct. His newsletter, CounterPunch sucker-punched greasy politicians right and left. Alex was a bit of a Schrödinger's cat, he could argue both sides of the quantum superposition paradox and come out smiling. 

I first met Alex when the Russians began coming to the North Bay—we had a grand Irish confab in the middle of all that splendid Soviet defection at a Booneville winery. I was covering Soviet artists for The Paper. Did I have the presence of mind to photograph Alex? Not sure. I think not. And now he's gone. There's a hole in the universe where he used to be. I don't have the heart to write an obituary. So this will have to do. Goodbye old man. Like Lenin said, "Be as radical as reality."  I know you will take those pearly gates by storm.

July 21, 2012 
added and expanded 7/24/16

first draft
When I worked for the Western Sonoma County Paper (aka Independent/NB Bohemian) we knew Alex because he wrote for a sister newspaper, Anderson Valley Advertiser, and he'd often send us missives (and books) that kept us up late at night–changing our headlines on more than one occasion. I met him when the Russians began coming to North Bay—did I have the presence of mind to photograph him? Not sure.

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