George Soros joins an exclusive club of people who have read their own obituaries
It is a rare privilege to know,while still alive,what people will say about you after you are safely out of the way. On Thursday,an item prematurely sent out by the Reuters wire service made investor and philanthropist George Soros life member of the small,exclusive club of people who have read their own obituaries. Some have read with relish. Ernest Hemingway is said to have collected clippings erroneously reporting his death in a plane crash and enjoyed reading them after breakfast,with the aid of a glass of bubbly. But Jamaican politician,journalist and publisher Marcus Garvey apparently dropped dead after reading his obituary,which elaborated on how unwanted he had become in his declining years.
A fighting man,Soros has probably gone the Hemingway route and is relishing his obituary,particularly the part that refers to him as predatory. He can take the report of his extinction lightly,unlike Lal Bihari Mritak of Azamgarh,who fought for his life for 19 years after being declared dead by interests keen to take over his assets. He founded the Mritak Sangh of UP,a unique organisation that fights for the rights of people who are legally dead but clinically alive.
The predicament of Indias mritaks is frighteningly bizarre but elsewhere,premature declaration of death is taken with good humour. The media slew Pope John Paul II three times and Mark Twain twice before their appointed deaths. Social media is sending the kill rate skywards,the latest victim,last month,being Sean Connery. And Deathlist.net pursues the macabre business of predicting deaths annually. The favourites for 2013 include Fidel Castro,Doris Day,Henry Kissinger,Pete Seeger,Peter OToole,Zsa Zsa Gabor and Mikhail Kalashnikov. Ironically,the name of George Soros is conspicuously absent.