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December 10, 2006

In a sentimental mood
Posted by Patrick at 10:41 PM * 75 comments

Another response to the death of mass-murdering Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet:

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Pinochet’s staunchest ally in Britain, was “greatly saddened” by his death, her office said.
Another response to Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher:
Well I hope I don’t die too soon
I pray the Lord my soul to save
Oh I’ll be a good boy, I’m trying so hard to behave
Because there’s one thing I know, I’d like to live long enough to savour
That’s when they finally put you in the ground
I’ll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down
UPDATE: Randy Paul has more on the career on the man whose death “greatly saddens” Margaret Thatcher.
Comments on In a sentimental mood:
#1 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 10:59 PM:

You'll have trouble getting anywhere near. Charlie Stross, China Mieville, and several million other Brits will be clamouring to do it first.

(Including me: child of countless generations of Tory voters, it took Thatcher to turn us to the Lib Dems. Yes, I know, I'm a wishy-washy pansy.)

#2 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 11:11 PM:

Ah, sentimental. What those sentiments are varies.

#3 ::: amysue ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 11:15 PM:

Urp. I really was going to try and say something clever here but am just too annoyed and pissed off. You'd think she'd....nah, of course not.

This reminds me of Cambodia and the cynicism of it's populace who watched the whole world condemn the "excesses" of Pol Pot and his buddies in the Khmer Rouge and then watched as they install many of the same (with new names of course) in power.

Feh.

#4 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 12:11 AM:

Obviously, this calls for a quote from the Gospel of Moz:

Cause people like you
Make me feel so tired
When will you die?

And people like you
Make me feel so old inside
Please die

#5 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 12:32 AM:

I'm glad Margaret Thatcher was "greatly saddened." I'd like to make her even sadder, actually. She's on the short list of people (all but one public figures) whose deaths will be the occasions of parties in my home.

But then, I don't exactly keep the principle of de mortuis nil nisi bonum. When Ronald Reagan died, I said "I hated him when he was alive and I'm glad he's dead."

As for Pinochet...the only thing that "saddens" me is that he didn't suffer more. I console myself with the fact that the world is now a slightly better place.

#6 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 12:38 AM:

What is wrong with these people? (I know, I know, I'm a sourpuss, but I'm insufficiently cynical, anyway.) Why on earth do they speak well of and defend a mass murderer?

My girlfriend, who listened to Allende's final transmission in Mexico City and who has met some of his victims is spitting mad. She is especially creeped out by the hypocritical response of the US government.

#7 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 02:20 AM:

I had the same reaction as Xopher, pretty much word for word.

One more grave added to my list of future micturition locales.

Then again, I did find out as a direct result of Pinochet's death that there are Victor Jara videos on YouTube. Here's a blogwhoring link to one such.

#8 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 03:08 AM:

"Stop traveller, and piss" seems to me to be the only decent reaction to Pinochet's death.

#9 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 03:42 AM:

This is one of those days when my religion troubles me. That is, the fact that I don't have one. Because I would greatly enjoy to think of the look on his face when told that a merciful God would never bar anybody from Paradise forever... and that there is hope for redemption for him if he spends as many lifetimes as the people he klled in a special corner in Purgatory having his hands beaten to a pulp and then buried in lime alive, each day.

Alternatively, I think his soul can shed the awful burden of the grief and pain he caused by being reincarnated over and over and over again, first as an intensive farmed chicken, then as a non-free range, non-green calf, and finally, after many more lives spent in terror and misery and violence, as a good man spending his life helping the poor and the sick, and getting killed, tortured, ruined for it, or simply condemned to witness suffering and avoidable pain without being able to do anything for it. After many lives like that, even he might find enlightment.

Being an atheist, alas, keeps me from enjoying these pious sentiment. I just hope he really believed in his last days that the bloshies would get him. I hope while his health and strength faltered, that he lived in terror of really having to go to prison. I hope he watched nervously as progressive President after President of Chile tried patiently to unravel the fearful knot of his immunity. I hope he believed himself immortal and as such, that he dreaded the day when the fortress would finally crumble around him.

It's small consolation, but hey. The bastard's dead, at least. The world is a little cleaner, the air a little less polluted for not passing through his lungs.

And you know what, for all the misery and terror of that day, I'm pretty sure Allende lived and died a much happier man.

#10 ::: Martin G ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 03:55 AM:

My first reaction on hearing this terrible news was "break out the champagne!" Second reaction: "but then we won't be able to hold it in long enough for us to urinate on his grave. What a dilemma!"

#11 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 05:12 AM:

What Nix said. Pinochet's demise was cause for a pint to be hoisted in the pub last night; Thatcher's death will be a full-on party, if only for the selfish reason that she's a damn sight closer to home and a whole lot of other people will be partying at the same time in Scotland. (Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if they declared it a public holiday.)

#12 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 05:25 AM:

"Augusto Pinochet died today in Santiago's Military Hospital. Doctors described his condition as satisfactory."

#13 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 05:29 AM:

Incidentally, let me just add: there's no question that Pinochet's regime killed thousands and tortured many more. While Thatcher's government doesn't seem to have operated torture camps or "disappeared" lots of political opponents (at least on the mainland), they had no compunction about systematically trying to starve out half a million of their own citizens, ordering police cavalry charges against unarmed demonstrators, deploying riot police against their opponents at home, racking up more judgements in the European Court that they'd violated human rights than every other government in the EEC put together, and -- arguably -- mis-managing the troubles in Northern Ireland in such a way as to prolong the conflict for a decade, resulting in thousands of additional deaths.

I suspect part of the reason Thatcher liked Pinochet is because she wished she could deal with her own opponents the way he dealt with his. Only the institutional inertia of the British state, and the anti-political tradition of the Army held her back ...

#14 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 05:48 AM:

I believe the reason Thatcher was saddened by Pinochet's death is that political leaders are apt to see other political leaders as their own kind.

#15 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 07:43 AM:

The Butcher of Santiago is gone. While I'm sad he won't face judgement here on Earth, it's time to remember all the good things, like the start of the Human Rights movement in response to his reign. That's a good thing to think about.

Sometimes I wonder just how long we'll be plagued by the ghosts of the Cold War (Castro, Saddam, Afghanistan, Philippines, Diego Garcia, Central America...).

#16 ::: Martyn Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 08:15 AM:

We can't choose our families, but we can choose our friends, and we can (and should) be judged on those choices. Now the Blessed Margaret pretends to be a scriptural sort of lady, so I'll drag out some scripture that seems sort of appropriate.

Mene, mene tekel upharsin.

The man was a butcher, a demagogue, an enemy of democracy and freedom. He might be a friend to the Mad Cow but I doubt he was a friend to anyone here.

Here's another raised glass, and an Irish toast - Bad cess to you, General, and all like you.

#17 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 08:41 AM:

El colmo de ser ateo ante la muerte del mierdoso Pinochet es saber que no pasarĂ¡ la eternidad en los fuegos del infierno.

#19 ::: Eve ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 09:23 AM:

So what's it to be, a dance-floor or a urinal on the grave?

#20 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 09:26 AM:

Are they mutually exclusive, Eve?

#21 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 09:35 AM:

Anna Feruglio Dal Dan #9: This is one of those days when my religion troubles me. That is, the fact that I don't have one.

I feel the same. I used to be a devout Catholic, but rather fell away and am not really sure what I believe at this point. I would like to believe in Hell, or at least Purgatory (as you describe), for some people. (Aside: in tenth grade I was assigned to write my own version of Dante's Inferno. I couldn't convince myself to damn anyone to an eternity in Hell. It pretty much ended up being Purgatory. I did attempt to write it in terza rima.)

I guess I do believe in some form of karma.

I find myself drawn to what the Dalai Lama says about his oppressors: that he meditates and visualizes taking on their karma. He says he doesn't know whether it helps them, but it helps him.

But it's so hard to forgive some people.

#22 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 10:53 AM:

No, it's not good news. Because he died old, retired, free, unthreatened, well cared for and rich. That's pretty much an ideal end.

Everybody dies - but he should have died in office like Stalin, or in prison like Hess, or on trial like Milosevic, or tormented like Capone. He got away with it.

#23 ::: Suebob ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 11:31 AM:

Saddened? I cheered.

#24 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 11:41 AM:

I suppose one could be greatly saddened that he died a free man, that justice remained unserved. (OTOH, he's unlikely to be committing any more crimes against humanity now.) However, I don't think that's how Maggie meant it.

The world should be happy that I don't get to pick people's deaths, but I find myself feeling more like ajay (#22).

#25 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 11:48 AM:

#22 ajay, well, he was still on trial (3 I think), just not rotting in a cell. If that gives you any respite at all.

#26 ::: Anarkey ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 11:58 AM:

ajay @ 22: No, it's not good news.

It absolutely is good news. It's good news for us, because we no longer have the blight of his presence on the world. It's true he was never brought to justice, but we're free of him now, forever. Dead is dead. Good riddance and hallelujah. I don't see the point in pretending that because justice was not met, we aren't all improved by his passing. I would have preferred to see him tried, absolutely, but I'm toasting with Charlie Stross @ 11, and will toast with him again when Thatcher leaves us.

#27 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 12:33 PM:

God will know his own.

History has a fair shot at being honest.

#28 ::: badducky ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 12:51 PM:

even if we had caught him and slowly, brutally tortured him for the rest of his life after he left office, it wouldn't come close to paying back the pain and misery he caused to so many others.

i guess that's why they call it an injustice.

this man may be dead, but he wasn't pulling the trigger. what happened to all of his torturers and assassins? can we channel all the energy of excoriating the memory of Pinochet to bringing his herd of thugs to justice?

#29 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 01:12 PM:

#28: that's how I feel about most of the people on my "little list." They can't possibly live long enough to suffer as much as they deserve.

#30 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 02:01 PM:

Xopher #5

When people on my short list die, I do mourn. Because they haven't suffered enough in the process. The only one I thought might have had a painful enough death was Franco.

#31 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 02:35 PM:

Well, while we're on the subject of evil tyrants, murdererous kings, and insane world leaders, has anyone set up a party for when Mad King George passes? Maybe we could all chip in some money now, and let it pay interest for when the time comes...

Just saying...

#32 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 02:42 PM:

Greg @ 31:
Better yet, mad king Dick, although I think he's evil enough to live another ten or twenty years, just to get even with the rest of us.

#33 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 03:22 PM:

My philosophy won't allow me to wish torment on anyone, but the world is a better place without Pinochet in it.

#34 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 04:28 PM:

I'm personally hoping to receive mercy rather than justice. This puts a kink in my ability to wish damnation on anyone else.

#35 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 05:29 PM:

Is it wishing damnation to save up and plan for a party?

It may not qualify as "mercy", but I don't think it's out and out damnation either. I mean, I'm not in a hurry, really. The longer it takes, the more interest the seed money makes, the bigger the party in the end.

Ya know, the ewoks had a party with fireworks when the Death Star was blown up, and there appear to be no evil ewoks in the star wars universe, so....

#36 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 05:34 PM:

I thought Lois McMaster Bujold described it well: "The sort of fellow whose funeral's orations are all on the theme of Well, that's a relief."

She wasn't speaking of Pinochet, of course, but he fits the category. He finally he made the world a little bit better in the only way he could - by removing himself from it.

I suppose they could try him posthumously and decapitate his corpse like Cromwell, but it seems a waste of time. Burying him at a crossroads with a stake through his heart is likewise unnecessary. Instead, let's put some effort into preventing the *next* Pinochet from coming to power, eh?

#37 ::: Bill Humphries ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 05:52 PM:

Torture and disappear thousands? No worries, because the business press will mention that he brought a bunch of Chicago School people to liberalize and privatize your economy, and apparently that makes up for it.

You know, when Castro's declared seriously dead, I don't think the American press is going to say "but hey! Health care and literacy."

#38 ::: Vian ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 06:25 PM:

Greg @ #35:

The Ewoks were wiped out by the massive forest fires started by falling bits of Death Star, and good riddance. I mean, I like Hoka as much as the next sentient being, BUT ...

As to Pinochet, may he come back as one of The Disappeared Ones, and may his victims find solace in what way seems best to them.

#39 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 06:43 PM:

Teresa @34


I'm personally hoping to receive mercy rather than justice. This puts a kink in my ability to wish damnation on anyone else.

Agreed.

Chris @36:

The Bujold quote that comes to me at this moment is,

"Do you forgive me, too, sweetheart?"
"I'll have to leave that to the Infinite. You exceed my capacity."

#40 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 06:53 PM:

Nial @12

Exactly.

The only regret I have about his death is that he died too soon to leave a precedent for the rest of my short-list of "lasted beyond the century they defiled" heads of state.

We need more precedents of presidents (or heads of state, functional or otherwise). Bush? Sharon? No fair ganging up on Saddam when there are so many worthy-of-justice left unhung.

#41 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 07:15 PM:

I'm reminded of a story.

A sergeant is berating a helpless private, who takes it with quiet grace. This makes the sergeant even more bellicose and offensive. He leans into the private's face and shouts, "I'll just bet you can't wait to piss on my grave!"

"No, sir!" says the private. "When I get out of this place, I'm never going to stand in line again."

#42 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 10:37 PM:

The Ewoks were wiped out by the massive forest fires started by falling bits of Death Star,

Oh no!

I mean, I thought Lucas jumped the shark when he brought in teddy bears to fight the empire, but I wouldn't want 'em wiped out, nor would I celebrate their extinction.

I just wanted them out of RotJ.

#43 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 12:57 AM:

Greg London @42: I just wanted them out of RotJ.

Supposedly an artist was employed to do a watercolor painting illustrating how a planned bridge design would look when completed. The artist included a couple of children playing in the stream running under the bridge.

His supervisor approved the painting, but commented "get those children out of there." So the artist moved the playing children from the foreground, into the shadows under the bridge.

The supervisor was annoyed at this revision: "I thought I told you to get those children out of there!"

The last revision had two tombstones on the bank of the river.

I remembered the story as involving James Whistler, but I can't find any evidence it was the sort of thing he might have worked on. However, his father, George Whistler, designed bridges.

#44 ::: Anthony Ha ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 02:19 AM:

Bill Humphries @ 37: I really like the idea of that headline.

Longtime dicatator dead (for real this time)
But hey! Health care and literacy!
By The American Press

#45 ::: Tehanu ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 04:20 AM:

An English friend of mine, when I asked what he thought of Margaret Thatcher, replied, "You mean Hitlerina? Attila the Hen?"

#46 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 04:58 AM:

So, uhm, what does Bush think.

#47 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 05:01 AM:

c'mon, that was funny.

What I mean to say is that the most complicated part of Bush is that he's too stupid to know how much he admires Pinochet and is saddened by his passing.

I am also looking forward to the day that Thatcher dies and some Wingnut eulogizes her as A Bush with Balls.


#48 ::: Paul Herzberg ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 06:28 AM:

A couple of years ago I surprised someone with the idea that Thatcher's tombstone should be shaped like a urinal to help with all the people who were going to pee on it. The surprise for the other person was that people still feel that way about "that woman". The other person was from the south and I was a schoolboy in a pit village in 1984-5. Damn right I still hate her.

#49 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 07:00 AM:

After anout 12 years in Scotland, I feel pretty certain that the long-term history-book verdict on Margaret Thatcher will be "the woman who destroyed the United Kingdom" -- at least insofar as her 1979 electoral calculation about the utility of Scotland was, ultimately, the piece of realpolitik that turned the West Lothian Question from a moot point into a slow-motion constitutional cancer eating away at the guts of the union.

(See also "Josip Broz Tito, Saddam Hussein, federal states, maintenance by force". Rinse, spin, and watch the machine disintegrate ...)

#50 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 07:53 AM:

I agree: the best argument for devolution and, a fortiori, independence is : "Well, what if the English elect another nutcase?"

#51 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 08:39 AM:

I fully expect the national outpouring of joy at the pustular old witch's demise to hold the union together at least another 300.

#52 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 10:20 AM:

Charles at #49:


the piece of realpolitik that turned the West Lothian Question from a moot point into a slow-motion constitutional cancer eating away at the guts of the union.

Who knows, the English could always get their own parliament....

#53 ::: Barry ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 11:48 AM:

#6 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 12:38 AM:

"What is wrong with these people? (I know, I know, I'm a sourpuss, but I'm insufficiently cynical, anyway.) Why on earth do they speak well of and defend a mass murderer?

My girlfriend, who listened to Allende's final transmission in Mexico City and who has met some of his victims is spitting mad. She is especially creeped out by the hypocritical response of the US government."

They're fascists. Some of them serious fascists. Others (to paraphrase Orwell about Stalinists) are people playing with fire who don't even know that fire is hot.

#54 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 01:14 PM:

Re: Serge at #20: Are they mutually exclusive?

Well, they're mutually exclusive if I'm going to be dancing there.

Maybe put the urinal on his grave and build a dance hall in place of the building where he died?

#55 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 01:16 PM:

A dance hall where he died, Ursula L? Sure. By the way, does 'Pinochet' sound as ridiculous in English as it does in French?

#56 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 01:18 PM:

Serge #55: I've always thought it was a Catalan name (pronounced as if spelled in English, more or less) as opposed to a French one.

#57 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 01:25 PM:

Catalan, Fragano? I wouldn't know, but it always looked French to me and it is as silly a name in French as being called Hercules Poirot.

#58 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 08:50 PM:

He's dead. It's an ending, of a sort. The evil he caused to be done lives on after him, as always.

My sympathies to the people of Chile, who never received justice at the end of years of oppression, and I do hope they'll be able to find a way forward. My sympathies also to the Pinochet family, for the loss of a family member. It can't be easy for them to be hearing widespread joy about his death, in the middle of their own grief.

May his soul go to its ultimate destination, aware of what this lifetime has brought it.

#59 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 08:54 PM:

Serge: Take pity on my ignorance. I always thought Poirot had something to do with one who grows pears. Educate me. Why is it a silly name in French?

#60 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 09:02 PM:

Serge #57: It's not unusual for Catalan names to end in '-et' (witness the family known for its sparkling wines, Freixenet; or the unitarian who was executed by Calvin, Miquel Servet).

And Poirot, you will recall, was Belgian....

#61 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 09:31 PM:

Historically I've heard two different pronunciations for his name, "pin-oh-shay" and "pin-oh-chet", the latter's last syllable starting with the same sound as "cheese". But over the past week I've been hearing a third intermediate version, "pin-oh-shet".

(Well, actually all three of those have two sub-variants wrt the first vowel being pronounced as if in the English word "pin" or with the standard Spanish "i" that sounds like "ee".)

#62 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 09:46 PM:

It's pronounced "Throatwarbler Mangrove."

Actually, I've been wondering about the proper pronounciation of Pinochet for some time, and when pressed will say "Peen-oh-shay". I mistrust the BBC version, since British newsreaders still seem to be surprised when asked to say non-English names.

#63 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 03:19 AM:

I have heard Chileans pronounce his name, but I don't know how to render it phonetically for English-speakers. The only thing that comes to mind is that the last syllable is the same as in "chetwood", but without the t.

And as for the impossibility of justice for the butcher of Santiago, yes. Several centuries of torture wouldn't touch the whole issue of betrayal of his oath of office, murdering his own elected President and so on. I would have settled for a life sentence, but the wheels of history turn slowly and he didn't live long enough. Oh well. At least things were going in the right direction, which is more than one can say of other people I won't name because I want to be allowed to enter the USA in the future.

And I don't wish damnation on him. As I said, that would be too easy. Damnation would mean he would be spared the necessity to repent and regret.

#64 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 03:34 AM:

Anna @ #63:The only thing that comes to mind is that the last syllable is the same as in "chetwood", but without the t.

"Pinochood"? :)

(Sorry, I had to.) Is it also the same as the first syllable of "Cheddar"?

#65 ::: Stephan Brun ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 06:27 AM:

In the interest of levity, I thought I'd have a go at translating Martin Wisse @ 8:

morare, viator, et urina!

#66 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 10:55 AM:

#65: An inscription for his imaginary tomb. His gravestone would be a urinal, draining onto the wide end of his coffin.

His family intelligently but frustratingly had him cremated.

#67 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 11:00 AM:

I knew someone would say that Poiroit was Belgian, not French. You had to be the one doing it, eh, Fragano? No matter what, 'Poirot' sounds very silly in both countries. Why?, Dave Luckett asks. Because a 'poirot' is a 'leek'. Does Hercules look like a tall relative of the onion? Nope.

#68 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 04:24 PM:

Serge #67: One must know one's onions...

#69 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 05:21 PM:

Anna Feruglio Dal Dan said (#63):
I have heard Chileans pronounce his name, but I don't know how to render it phonetically for English-speakers. The only thing that comes to mind is that the last syllable is the same as in "chetwood", but without the t.

More than you probably wanted to know about pronouncing "Pinochet":
Eric Bakovic (of Language Log) discusses possible pronunciations, with help from commenters.
Shorter discussion, without the phonetic symbols:
Daniel Engber at Slate.

Really short summary: it depends. (On social class, among other things: upper-class Chileans are more likely to say "pee-no-cheh" or "pee-no-chet", lower-class Chileans are more likely use an "sh" sound instead of the "ch" sound.)

(As Bakovic notes, the Spanish "e" is sort of intermediate between English "eh" as in "hell" and "ay" as in "hay", which may be why you hear it as similar to the "e" sound in "chetwood".)

#70 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 05:26 PM:

Fragano: She Knows Her Onions (mp3), by Billy Jones and Ernest Hare. One from the Archive.

#71 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 05:27 PM:

I say we pronounce it with a 'sh' sound and the vowel 'i' as in 'bit'. Pronounce the 't' fully as well.

#72 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 05:31 PM:

Xopher @71

I say we pronounce it with a 'sh' sound and the vowel 'i' as in 'bit'. Pronounce the 't' fully as well.

I understand that, depending on the strength of their feelings, some people treat the "Pino" as silent.

#73 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 01:24 AM:

On pronunciation, it appears to vary between US television news outlets, too. CBS's stylebook had it one way and that filtered down to our local CBS affiliate, whereas ABC had it the other way and that got passed down to their local affiliate.

#74 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 08:28 AM:

Howard Peirce #70: Thanks!

#75 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 10:02 AM:

Bouncing off several of the disparate parts of the thread without touching the ground, I recall that over the last few years English author Kim Newman has produced a series of short stories set in the 1970s and concerning the activities of secret agents battling various supernatural menaces (think The Avengers or Ace of Wands, written with 25 years of hindsight).

A mostly-background thread throughout the series is the rise of a person known until the chronologically-final story only as "Mrs Empty", the subject of a secret experiment to create the perfect politician: "mind unclouded by compassion and uncertainty, character untempered by humour or generosity". It's fairly obvious that Newman's feelings about what happened in the eighties still have a strong grip on him.

When Mrs Empty gains control of the British government, she has our heroes' department abolished and replaced by a quasi-autonomous governmental organisation that instead of battling supernatural menaces studies them in the hope of finding commercial applications. The character who represents this organisation in the later stories is a Mr Onions, who always makes a point of pointing out that it's pronounced "O-nye-ons" and is etymologically unrelated to the vegetable.

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