The last week has been a sad one for the Writer’s Republic. Two trees were felled, in different settings and differing circumstances.
Art Buchwald is no more with us. For the average reader, filled to the brim with all of life’s tragedies, Art came across as a breath of fresh air. Millions have hung on every column of his, filled as they were with incisive wit and humour. Art succeeded in converting every possible tragedy (including his slow death) with characteristic humour.
Sample some of his jewels:
A bad liver is to a Frenchman what a nervous breakdown is to an American. Everyone has had one and everyone wants to talk about it.
New York Herald Tribune (January 16, 1958)
Every time you think television has hit its lowest ebb, a new...program comes along to make you wonder where you thought the ebb was.
Have I Ever Lied to You? (1968)
People are broad-minded. They'll accept the fact that a person can be an alcoholic, a dope fiend, a wife beater and even a newspaperman, but if a man doesn't drive, there's something wrong with him.
Have I Ever Lied to You?
Just when you think there's nothing to write about, Nixon says, "I am not a crook." Jimmy Carter says, "I have lusted after women in my heart." President Reagan says, "I have just taken a urinalysis test, and I am not on dope."
Time magazine (September 29, 1986)
If you attack the establishment long enough and hard enough, they will make you a member of it.
International Herald Tribune (May 24, 1989)
People ask what I am really trying to do with humor. The answer is, 'I'm getting even.' ... For me, being funny is the best revenge.
Leaving Home (1995)
Whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, it's the only time we've got.
I'm having a swell time. The best time of my life.
About his dying
In the 90’s I remember eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Sunday Hindu paper to read what he had to say. As an avid fan, I can only say I shall miss him a lot.
Hrant Dink. Dink who? Until last week, I confess this would have been my response to this name. Not any more. Last week, this Turkish writer of Armenian descent was shot in broad daylight as he walked to his newspaper office. His crime? His outspoken attitude, especially on a controversial segment of Turkish past. While I’m no expert on history, this event coming just a week after I wrote about the Four Pillars of Respect, only goes on to buttress my resolve that the India I cherish has to be protected at all costs. Is there anyone listening out there?
I take leave with a few words from the last article of Hrant Dink, written this year before his death.
"For me, 2007 is likely to be a hard year. The trials will continue, new ones will be started. Who knows what other injustices I will be up against." – Hrant Dink.