Alexander Cockburn, one of my journalistic and literary heroes passed away yesterday, after a prolonged battle with cancer. Cockburn’s acidic criticism, flourishing prose and general contempt for all that was orthodox, safe and banal, made him one of the greatest radical journalists of his generation. Despite his often problematic positions on global warming, the paleoconservative right and a whole array of things which I don’t immediately remember, his columns in such publications as the Nation and Counterpunch always provoked critical engagement, laughter or at times anger. Cockburn was many things, but never boring. His radicalism and refusal to duck into ‘safe journalism’, left him with no shortage of enemies from zionists to trotskyists to the whole American fourth estate. I for one, will miss his wit and critical voice and the left is poorer without him. He deserves a more prolonged and critical engagement, which depending on my week, I might attempt. One last point, unlike his erstwhile comrade and later enemy, also recently deceased-Christopher Hitchens, Cockburn chose to keep his battle with cancer private, instead of live blogging his death to the general euphoria of the media classes. For now I will leave you with one of his classic columns, as I return to my well-worn copy of Corruptions of Empire. From the Village Voice circa 1973.