Speaking ill of the dead: A primer

Gene Weingarten on

WASHINGTON -- As I write this, Donald Trump has once again sniped at John McCain, a man who -- in addition to being deceased and unable to defend himself -- is a genuine American hero. One can argue that it's best to just ignore such pettiness and cruelty, but one can also argue -- as reader Sarah O'Connell did -- that it's best to speculate on other dead people Trump might next savage, and how he would do it. With a little help from friends:

"Peter Minuit. A lousy dealmaker. Twenty-four bucks for Manhattan? I'd have offered 10, tops, take it or leave it. Believe me, they'd have taken it. People are saying he was a total Walloon, and I believe it."

"Anne Frank? Please. No one important lives in an attic."

"Columbus was a total whack job. Didn't even know where he was when he got here, got rich and lost it all. At least he did it on borrowed money. He must have read my book."

"Beethoven? I prefer composers who can hear."

"John Philip Sousa wrote a dumb march for a failing Fake News publication, and then let them use his name for a big fat instrument no one ever plays. The one named after me (the Trumpet) is much more popular."


"Shakespeare couldn't even write his own name."

"Mother Teresa? A three at best."

"The Wright brothers flew, what, like 120 feet? What schmucks. They should have built a Boeing 757 like mine, the most beautiful airplane in history."

"Jesus Christ? Convicted felon, never owned anything, lived on charity. Plus, I prefer deities who don't get executed."


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