I'm not quite old enough (just yet) to scan the obituaries on a daily basis, but today I bought the Sunday paper just for something a bit different to read, and did a cursory glance over the obits. Wherein I was shocked to see that a high school classmate of mine has died from cancer. Which is lousy. Considering that this particular classmate, although he was good-looking, smart, and athletically talented, was also completely offbeat and thoroughly nice. (The percentage of high school boys who match that description, by my estimation, is roughly .000005% of that population.) This is not fair--I'll bet all the assholes from my high school class (who comprised 98.5% of the population) are still living.
My local newspaper is now also including short obituaries "of note," which is actually kind of a helpful journalistic feature, and is where I learned that Chalmers Johnson, age 79, has also died. For those of you who have never read him, Johnson is best known for his master nonfiction work titled Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, in which he posited that--get this--America's increasingly imperial and military actions worldwide might increasingly foster anti-American sentiment and retaliations ("blowback.")* Two more volumes in the "Blowback Trilogy" are The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (American Empire Project) and Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (American Empire Project). All three are fascinating reads, but if you're looking for a place to start (and some well-written nonfiction prose, to boot), I wouldn't look any further than Blowback.
So, gah. I think I'm off buying Sunday papers for a while; evidently I AM at an age where I should be reading the obituaries, and I don't want to.
*He wrote this before 9/11, mind you.