Arafat's DemiseYesterday, Meryl Yourish channeled Janis Joplin on the subject of Arafat's death:
Oh Lord, won't you give us an Arafat death?I have two problems with the ditty. I raised one of them directly with Meryl, and she published my view and a thoughtful response of her own here. There's some daylight between Meryl's view on the matter and my own, but not a lot. So I'll leave that one where it stands.
We've waited for decades, so please stop his breath
Prayed hard for this deed, and fasted, no less
So Lord, won't you kill him, and settle this mess?
Here's my second problem: I don't think Arafat's death settles a whole lot. His policies are wildly popular, and the cult of death he has created will outlive him in Palestinian society. Indeed, I think it not unlikely that those hungry to claim Arafat's mantle might seek to outdo one another in Jew killing as a way of proving themselves "worthy" successors in the eyes of their death-crazed people. Settle this mess? I don't think so. (I realize that in song parody, one must sometimes sacrifice accuracy and nuance for the sake of meter, and I actually found Meryl's version quite clever; heaven knows my own meager writing ability is confined to prose. But since the parody came without a disclaimer, I thought it worth raising these issues).