Now, I'm thinking here of stuff like e.g. the Times devoting two-thirds of its Kurt Vonnegut obituary to claims that Slaughterhouse Five was basically Nazi propaganda, because it lifted an inflated death toll for the firebombing of Dresden from pre-notoriety David Irving.
Or the reception some gave to Harold Pinter turning up his toes, which was essentially to get the bunting out and the party hats on for the demise of "Milosevic's favourite writer" and suchlike. Perhaps you can think of more examples yourself.
Well, Sharon's record on needlessly rubbing out civvies really isn't a matter of debate, unless by "a matter of debate" we mean - was he as bad as an Arafat, a Karadzic or a Kissinger, or just a pound-shop Douglas MacArthur with menaces?
So this is an opportunity for wailers of the OMG-the-left-has-lost-its-bearings-and-totally-like-supports-murderers-and-that etc genus to really get on their high horses with the denunciation, with no mealy-mouthed quibbling or It's totally different when white folks do it malarkey about a "right to self-defence" that isn't at all in dispute.
We're going to see some serious consistency here, right? Because if Vonnegut was a scumbag and Pinter a bastard, then Sharon must surely be some kind of Cthulu-esque horror monster, comparatively, what with all the dead people and that.
That's how this works, right?
Update! A deafening and surprising silence on Sharon from most of the nation's premier relativism-decriers, which is probably understandable - there's precious little milage in trying to explain to hundreds of angry Tweeters why mass-murder is different when our guys do it.
The popular press has stuck defiantly to the "controversial figure/two sides to Sharon's character" stuff in exactly the way that they didn't when, say, Chavez kicked the bucket, but that's hardly a shock either. Modern liberalism, in the broad sense, prefers its men of violence to be English-speaking, well-dressed and trailed by a sizeable PR department, and Old Arik was certainly that.
The Times landed squarely on "Flawed man of peace", thus demonstrating a far more compassionate and understanding attitude towards bloodcurdling, deliberate civvy-massacre than it was willing to grant e.g. the novelist Vonnegut, whose death was met with a fiery denunciation for the unforgiveable crime of having written some words in a book. So it goes.
Still, Sharon's snuffing it did leave us with moments of high comedy like this, from Britain's most viciously unforgiving denouncers of folk who defend violent people:
He lit up Israel with the fire that came from within his soul and the country that was both burned by the power of that fire and basked in its warmth will forever be a little darker for that light first fading and now being extinguished forever.LULZ.
But my favourite is this piece from Martin Bright, himself something of a vocal decrier of apologism for violent deeds, who tackles Sharon's brutality head-on and discovers that it was... a bit nasty. The title adequately conveys the content:
Sharon: A gargantuan figure, but his role in Sabra and Shatila diminished him.
This is, of course, hilarious. Sharon was and is popular with many precisely because he stomped on Israel's enemies like a crazed thug, and thus those sympathetic to his cause are willing to overlook all those occasions where he also stomped like a crazed thug on the children and family members of Israel's enemies. After all, if Sharon was "diminished" by his crimes - of which Bright only examines the worst one, mind - it sure didn't stop him getting elected.
Brighty's assertion here is fun, but it's a little like contending that John Lydon was a giant among TV swearers, but that his multiple fuck-sayings on the Bill Grundy Show diminished him.
Now, I'm not that bothered by these countless Sharon/murder minimisers, since I expect it. It's not like most of these folk are moral monsters or anything, so much as just people doing what people do.
All this nonsense tells us is that Nous sommes touts relativistes maintenant, or something - given the right person or issue, almost everyone "makes excuses" or "understands in context", or whatever OH NO APOLOGISM HAS MADE YOU A NAZI phrase you happen to find most congenial.
The truth is that when it's convenient, even the grandest moralisers are just swooning groupies for a rugged man of action sporting the right set of blood-caked epaulettes.
I dare you to look at any one of those Sharon divided opinion obituaries and tell me that the content is wildly different from the crustiest, crankiest old Commie going misty-eyed over some dusty dictator. Try to imagine one of the top-selling papers running a Che Guevara was a collossus of sexual wonder, but his summary executions diminished him strapline. No.
Which points us to the singular idea that everyone in the politics game, amateurs and pros, is a relativist and context-understander*, and this surely means that all those long, tedious fits of fainting and screeching over the awful leftist relativism we've been hearing this century were merely... Politically convenient and humorously obvious bullshit.
But then we knew that - all Sharon's expiry shows us is exactly how hilariously obvious that bullshit is.
So this week's mainstream celebration-of-slash-apologism-for bestial manslaughter is probably worth saving in your memory banks for whenever e.g. Castro pops his clogs, when every pinhead in the nation will climb atop his high-horse to issue denunciations to every human being who ever smoked a cigar.
And God, that's going to be dull.
*Egregious example - Tony Blair, arch-defender of Saudi Arabia's "Culture" and "Way of life"; Gadaffi-cuddler; Mubarak eulogiser, and globe-straddling hero of the anti-relativists.