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The Discourse

What If We Didn’t Do the Henry Kissinger Thing Every Time?

What if we all just pretended that Kissinger wasn't here anymore?

"Dr. Henry Kissinger" by yevkusa is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Celebrities: they come and go through our lives. They bring us joy and laughter and, ultimately, tears when they inevitably drop — as we all must — completely dead. And with each celebrity death, a refrain so familiar, Jack even turned it into a reoccurring series: Henry Kissinger is right there! He’s so old! He’s so evil! How the fuck do we lose the Sophies and the Cloris Leachmans and Hal Holbrooks of the world, while Hanoi Hank is still out here slouching toward Bethlehem? It’s not (you shout into an oncoming storm from the highest peak of a snowcapped mountaintop) fair!

Look. I agree. But please, I’m begging you. You’re tempting fate. You’re fucking this up. You are toying with the universe.

With apologies to any famed Austrian physicists who may be reading this, think of Henry Kissinger as existing in a perpetual state of both “alive” and “dead” at the same time. At any given moment Schrödinger’s Kissinger has managed to straddle the veil between this world and the next, achieving quantum balance as a living corpse. And then you just HAVE to go and open Schrödinger’s infamous box by declaring, LOUDLY, that Kissinger is, in fact, VERY MUCH ALIVE.

Well, guess what, genius? You just collapsed his quantum state. He’s just “alive” now. No ambiguity. No duality. Just a living, breathing war criminal. Each time you call the universe’s attention to the fact that Kissinger isn’t six feet under, all you’ve really done is affirmed to the cosmos that he still walks among us.

What if, instead of lamenting Kissinger’s persistent alive-ness, we started ignoring it, instead? Let’s all just agree to go with without invoking his name, or reminding the world that he still hasn’t crossed over to wherever it is people go when they’re done with a lifetime of destroying the better part of an entire continent. Imagine another major beloved celebrity death where we don’t invoke Kissinger. And then another one. And then another one. After a while, we’ll all just forget Kissinger is alive anymore to begin with. Then, when he does finally croak – as must we all — at least we can be genuinely surprised and say things like “Henry Kissinger? I haven’t thought about that ghoul in ages! Fuck him! Good riddance!”

What I’m saying is, I don’t need reminding that Henry Kissinger isn’t dead yet. The universe doesn’t need reminding that he isn’t dead yet. Who needs that sort of agita? Better to just act like he’s already gone, and then, eventually, he will be.

[Ed. note from Jack: disagree, the series will continue.]