Ex-blogger (oh, and professor or something) Michael Bérubé has written a 9-page essay on the event of Richard Rorty's death which I'm looking forward to reading. It's called "Richard Rorty and the Politics of Modesty" (pdf).
Re: the first paragraph:
Have you ever noticed that when people are writing about the recently deceased, they always begin by using the full name even though the person in question didn't Richard Rorty becomes Richard McKay Rorty, and Ronald Reagan (no similarity implied) becomes Ronald Wilson Reagan. There's something ritualistic in the public declaration of death. The use of the fuhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifll name accentuates the individuality of the deceased as well as the formality of the event. I wonder if that isn't one of the oldest functions of the public sphere: the public declaration of birth and death, habeas corpus, non habeas corpus, bring out yer dead.
Oh, and Bérubé is also going for Obama. Yup. Me, Bérubé, Stevie Wonder, Josh Lyman and Oprah.