Thursday, April 1, 2010

Daphne Park

Today's obituary in the WSJ on Daphne Park has to be one of the worst I've ever read.

I don't know if this is because Rupert Murdoch and his British brain trust are concentrating so hard at keeping stories short or not, but today's is fairly bad. The obituary is not bylined and is reprinted from The Times of London. We don't really know if it is reprinted in its entirety or not, but it is only six paragraphs, no jumps.

It starts off promising enough, telling us Daphne lived to be 88 and was regarded as an intelligence officer legend. The piece offers that she avoided execution on several occasions by quick thinking. A few biographical facts are sprinkled in but that is basically it.

It does try and impress us with how good she was. The piece closes with this sentence:

She once escaped death after being seized by soldiers who claimed that a tape in her handbag was a smuggled recording of Patrice Lumumba, one of the Congo's new leaders, who was in jail, calling on his people to rise up.

The obituary is so short and inconclusive that it begs you to create your own ending. So I have.

Nothing more about Ms. Park is known because she was such a good intelligence officer and could keep a secret so well that no one could ever find out anything more to write about her.

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