September 11. As you've seen above, the September 11th attacks in 2001 left a lot of ill tastes in a lot of media. Even having a birthday on that day is considered a downer (cf. Christopher "Ludacris" Bridges).
Also that same day, a blue-ribbon panel released the final and definitive report, roughly an hour earlier, concerning another massive sneak attack on the USA: Pearl Harbor.
"Hitler indicates only one way out of the over-population of Europe, primarily of Germany, and that is the East. (...) The Nazis are against assimilation but not against annexation. They prefer the extermination of the conquered 'inferior' peoples to their Germanization. For the time being, fortunately, this is only a matter of hypothetical conquests." Leon Trotsky on Adolf Hitler
Along the same lines, the French right despised the Jewish Prime Minister Leon Blum so much that one of their most famous slogans was "Better Hitler than Blum." They gottheir wish.
War of Machines contains the line "Japanese scientists further advised their government that neither the Germans nor the Americans could possibly deflect enough of their productive resources to a bomb project to have a weapon [usable] in the current war."
An American journalist, Eugene P. Lyle Jr., wrote that by 1938 a defeated Germany would rise again to start a war of "monstrous proportions". This was in 1918, two months before the end of WW1 (which caused everyone to forget about the article, according to the link). Clearly, this guy was one Genre Savvy propagandist.
He wasn't alone in this prediction, either—the list of people who expected this to happen (especially at the end of World War One as the peace was negotiated) is sufficient and push it through this trope and into wondering how unGenre Savvy you'd have to have been to think it really was going to be the War to End All Wars.
Among the most influential voices warning of conflict as a consequence of the peace treaties was the great economist John Maynard Keynes.
This is a bit of an unusual example, however, if only because unlike most modern commentators, Ferdinand Foch's argument was not that the Treaty was too harsh but rather that it wasn't harsh enough. Foch was among many French statesmen and military figures who believed that Germany after WWI should have been partitioned and forcibly disarmed.
Something similar happened on July 20, 2012 at midnight: Jessica Gawhi, one of the victims at the Aurora theater shooting in Colorado, had this to say on her twitter post with her mom: "Get some sleep, mom. I'm really excited for you to come visit. I need my mama" This was posted at 1:04 AM, just moments before she was killed in the theater. The last post on her blog is about having missed being at the June 2, 2012 Toronto mass shooting by minutes, including "After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given."
German romantic-nationalist poet and liberal thinker Heinrich Heine is most famous today for his observation that "Where they burn books, in the end they will burn people too", made in 1821 in a play about the Spanish Inquisition. Heine's works were censored in his own time and later literally burned by the Nazis. Heine was a Jew.
This is the concluding passage of Heine's Religion and Philosophy in Germany, written in 1832: "Christianity — and that is its greatest merit — has somewhat mitigated that brutal German love of war, but it could not destroy it. Should that subduing talisman, the cross, be shattered, the frenzied madness of the ancient warriors, that insane Berserk rage of which Nordic bards have spoken and sung so often, will once more burst into flame...The old stone gods will then rise from long ruins and rub the dust of a thousand years from their eyes, and Thor will leap to life with his giant hammer and smash the Gothic cathedrals....Thought precedes action as lightning precedes thunder. German thunder...comes rolling somewhat slowly, but...its crash...will be unlike anything before in the history of the world. ...At that uproar the eagles of the air will drop dead, and lions in farthest Africa will draw in their tails and slink away. ...A play will be performed in Germany which will make the French Revolution look like an innocent idyll."
Not quite as prescient as it might seem. Hitler knew how to appease the population and could pander to Christians in order to win their acquiescence. (This film is as chilling now as it was then).
Also, it is a typical Romantic 'pagan revivalism' that has pretty much nothing to do with political, materialistic nature of the Third Reich. And there was no dramatic revolution, just a long, cruel war that ended with fall of the Germany and final demise of German militarism.
This is actually an example in a different way - it can also be seen to refer to WWI. Rather than "mitigate the German brutal love of war", the Evangelical Church enthusiastically endorsed the Kaiser's army, and continued to be a bastion of conservatism and monarchism right through until 1945.
1821? After Heine wrote that, we have the Three Years' War, Second Schleswig War, the Austro-Prussian War, the Franco-Prussian(German) War, and on and on. Heine understood that the German military wouldn't stay down until they were completely clobbered.
The opinion of William Jennings Bryan (prosecutor in Scopes Trial among other things) that Social Darwinism was undermining morality in Germany. The resulting eugenics movements of course being implemented in varying degrees involuntarily on the disabled or otherwise "handicapped (mentally or physically)" in Nazi Germany until the Catholic Bishops in Germany let it be known they considered the issue was non-negotiable, and Hitler needed all his troops available for his invasion of the Soviet Union. Also, by then Germany had newly conquered territory, so his killers were sent abroad to set up death camps for the Jews (though his eugenics movements continued on a smaller scale unofficially).
Somewhat funny in hindsight in that Hitler technically died a Catholic (the only Nazi to be excommunicated was Goebbels - for marrying a Protestant, while Hitler had long ago stopped actively participating he was never formerly separated from the church). Hitler promised religious education for youths in return for endorsement from the Church. Now the Church supports the theory of evolution and the average American is woefully ignorant of it. Not to mention the US was conducting sterilisation programs and the Tuskegee syphilis trials at the time.
These statements from various world political figures of the 1930s make painful reading:
Pope Pius XI: Adolf Hitler...a man implacably imposed to Bolshevism in all its forms.
Neville Chamberlain: Peace in our time!
Stalin: I hope that the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact will mark a decisive turn for the better in the political relations between our two countries.
Pope Pius XII: Typical asiatic types...Jews like all the rest of them. (referring to the Munich Soviet)
Ludwig Kaas: Hitler knows how to guide the ship.
Charles Lindbergh: Instead of agitating for war the Jewish groups in this country should be opposing it in every possible way, for they will be among the first to feel its consequences. Tolerance is a virtue that depends upon peace and strength. History shows that it cannot survive war and devastation. A few farsighted Jewish people realize this and stand opposed to intervention. But the majority still do not. Their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our government.
A little digging reveals hundreds more.
Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratten, in her profile, listed "jealous people" as a turn-off. In 1980, she was murdered by her jealous husband, Paul Snider.
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech, in which he relates being stabbed in the heart years before, when if he had even sneezed he would have died. He goes on to list all the remarkable things he had done since then, from sit-ins, to freedom rides, to telling the USA about a dream he had, all of which he could not have done or seen had he died. He then goes on to acknowledge the threats that have been made against him, and states that "like anybody, I would like to live a long life", but concludes by telling his audience, "I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything! I'm not fearing any man!" King gave this speech on the night of April 3, 1968. His assassination was on April fourth. In effect, King was reciting his own eulogy. To a point he may have been expecting it or at least anticipated that someone might try to kill him, since he often gave versions of the "Promised Land" speech when violent events were happening, like the riots that had just broken out in Memphis.
The Boondocks referenced this by positing an Alternate Universe where King merely lay unconscious in a coma until very recently, and how he reacted to the modern world when he woke up.
To fully understand the speech, you must remember that Dr. King was a minister, and you need to read Deuteronomy.
The musical 1776 actually changed a quote of the real John Adams to avoid this. His comment on removing the slavery clause in the Declaration of Independence: "If we give in on this, there will be trouble a hundred years hence; posterity will never forgive us." He was off by a decade and a half. This and Reality Is Unrealistic: the writer feared the audience would think he was Anvilicious, not realizing Adams actually said this.
Three time Formula One champion Ayrton Senna once said this:
I want to live fully, very intensely. I would never want to live partially, suffering from illness or injury. If I ever happen to have an accident that eventually costs my life, I hope it happens in one instant.
That's exactly what happened when he crashed and died at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
On top of that, he denied the opporturnity to drive in the Indy Car-Series in 1992, because he was too scared of crashing into wall with more than 220 miles per hour.
During the Eurosport coverage of the second qualifying session of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, the commentators spoke at great length on how safe F1 cars were these days and how driver safety was at the best it's ever been. This was interrupted by the sight of a wrecked Simtek spinning to a halt with Roland Ratzenberger at the wheel, dead.
French author Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc's book Annals of a Fortress goes through two thousand years of siege warfare and then ends with an examination of the feasibility of reinforcing the entire Franco-German border. He decides it would be cripplingly expensive and easily neutralized by advances in cannons and tactics. This was written in 1876.
Which is six years after the Germans defeated France and beseiged and conquered Paris in the Franco-Prussian War, during which they did go through the border between modern France and Germany, the area fortified by the Maginot Line. It's not like Germany never fought France before WWI or II.
The real irony is that the French actually took this advice to heart (contrary to popular misconception), constructing the Maginot Line to make Belgium the only possible invasion route from France to Germany, with the intent that they (France) would be able to move their armies into Belgium and fight the Germans there, with the in order to keep the war off French soil, because so much of France's war-relevant industry was in the north (the area the Germans overran in WWI). The plan almost worked perfectly in 1940, except that the Allies wrote off the Ardennes Forest as an invasion route (because of its almost unbelievable density, it was widely regarded as impassible by armies, and certainly not by tanks). The Germans, unfortunately, did manage to roll their tanks through the forest, and encircled Allied forces in Belgium and Northern France, leading to their near-total loss. From there it was a short hop to Paris, and another to complete conquest of France.
In 1969, John Lennon remarked in an interview that he tried to be as humourous as possible with regards to his political agenda because 'all the serious people, like Martin Luther King and Kennedy and Gandhi, got shot." Just over ten years after that interview, Lennon got shot.
In an interview in the sixties, John was asked how he expected to die. He replied "I'll probably be popped off by some loony."
At the Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery, which houses the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the archway leading into the amphitheater is inscribed with words from Horace: "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" - "It is sweet and honorable to die for one's country." The Memorial Amphitheater was opened in 1913 by Woodrow Wilson. By the end of World War One, those words would be inextricably linked to Wilfred Owen's poem about the waste and futility of war Dulce et Decorum est indeed. Worse, Owen was killed just days before the Armistice occurred.
"Pistol" Pete Maravich, at age 25: "I don't want to play 10 years and then die of a heart attack when I'm 40." After a 10-year NBA career, Maravich collapsed and died of a heart attack on January 5, 1988 — a little more than six months shy of his 41st birthday.
During an interview, Jim Morrison heard about the deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. Turning to the interviewer, he held up his glass and said "You're drinking with number three." Not too long afterwards, he was gone.
This board game. Or maybe it's Hilarious in Hindsight, depending on your sense of humor. (And yes, your rig could blow up in the game, for a penalty of one million dollars. I guess that one actually had the safeguards installed.)
In this interview, David Foster Wallace talks about how, even though there have been hard times in his life, and he doesn't have a clear path or motivation going forward, it's not like he's going to kill himself or anything.
Before his Vigilante Execution by Jack Ruby, Lee Harvey Oswald was told (jokingly) by the policeman he was handcuffed to that if someone was going to shoot him in the mob of press they'd be walking out into, he hoped that they'd be a good shot. Oswald told the man he was being melodramatic and that nobody was going to shoot him. Shortly after they entered the mob of reporters, Jack Ruby shot Oswald.
On a related note to the above, John F. Kennedy's very famous inaugural address to his nation in 1961 features some very jarring examples.
All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.
To elaborate, the life of his administration, which only lasted one thousand (actually 1,036) days, was ended along with his own when Kennedy was sadly assassinated in Dallas, Texas in 1963.
At Eleanor Roosevelt's funeral, Adlai Stevenson said to President Kennedy, "It may be some comfort to you, sir, to know that the White House is not the end and that you may find something to do when you leave here, whenever that may be." Obviously, Kennedy never got to retire from the White House, being that he was then assassinated that following year.
In an interview, a Christian radio host tried to persuade Christopher Hitchens that if God exists, surely Hitchens would feel some indebtedness to him - for everything from the fame he enjoys to his good health. A few years later in 2010, at the not-tremendously-advanced age of 61, Hitchens was diagnosed with cancer of the throat and lungs; he died the following year and, true to his word, did not make even a last-minute conversion.
After his Gemini 3 mission in 1965, astronaut Gus Grissom said at a press conference, "If we die, we want people to accept it. We're in a risky business, and we hope that if anything happens to us it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life." Grissom and his crew mates Ed White and Roger Chaffee died in the Apollo 1 fire two years later. (Somewhat mitigated by the fact that in the aftermath, NASA took him at his word and put a man on the Moon before the end of the decade, just as had been planned.)
In August 1966, the Apollo 1 crew, concerned about the safety of their spacecraft, took this photo◊ of them praying to God before a model of their spacecraft.
During his first space flight on Liberty Bell 7, Grissom nearly drowned when the explosive bolts holding the capsule hatch in place accidentally blew, opening the capsule to seawater. The hatch design was modified to an inward-opening design, so that atmospheric pressure inside the cabin would keep the hatch closed if a similar incident ever happened again. Unfortunately, it also kept the astronauts from being able to open their hatch when the fire occurred.
At the beginning of a NASA documentary of the second space shuttle flight, the narrator had this to say about Columbia, over video of its first landing:
"But unlike spacecraft that had gone before, Columbia would not be retired from service to become a museum piece."
Michael Jackson had publicly announced to his fans & the world in early 2009 that he's launching his final tour called "This Is It!". Later during the summer on June 25, 2009, he died.
Before the start of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili's last phone call to his father included "I'll win or die trying."
Sarah Palin's "Take Back the 20" website showed crosshairs over various states, including the very district in Arizona Gabrielle Giffords was elected for. A fundraiser event for Gifford's opponent, Jesse Kelly, featured shooting a fully automatic AR-15 with Kelly. Then Rep. Giffords was shot in the head... However, she survived.
Related to the above note, a blogger had stated that Giffords was, "dead to me", just days before her shooting. It should be noted it was a figure of speech.
In January 2001, Oklahoma State University basketball coach Eddie Sutton aired a broadcast of his regular OSU Basketball show, which opened with a CGI plane flying over an open field. The guest was OSU point guard Nate Fleming. The show ended with Coach Sutton thanking the OSU donors who provided the planes to transport the OSU players and staff to and from various road games. However, on the return trip from the following road game, one of the planes crashed in a field, killing ten passengers, including Nate Fleming.
The fact that Demi Lovato has been criticized for being 'larger' than the average Disney star, when in reality she actually has an eating disorder.
When Pat Nixon died on June 22, 1993, an observer opined that Richard Nixon, without his wife, "wouldn't last a year". He died on April 22, 1994, four days after having a massive stroke.
In 2006, Bam and April Margera said that they had Jackass co-star Ryan Dunn "in the death pool" for "death by vehicle". On June 20, 2011, Ryan Dunn and his friend died in a fiery car crash after a night of drinking.
Amy Winehouseonce said that one of her fears was joining the 27 Club (the name given to singers who have died at age 27). On July 23rd, 2011, Amy's fears came true.
At the 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner, Seth Meyers joked that Osama bin Laden was hosting a talk show on C-SPAN. The next day, Obama announced Bin Laden's death. This one was arguably Hilarious in Hindsight for most people.
Hillary Clinton had been at a wedding that weekend and someone had asked her "when are we gonna get Bin Laden?" Being one of only a handful of people who knew about the raid (she couldn't even tell her husband), she quickly made some non-committal remark and excused herself.
On another tragic Elton John note, Elton was consoled at the funeral of his best friend, designer Gianni Versace, who died in July of 1997 from a gunman's bullet, by Princess Diana of Wales. In August of that year, Diana would die in a car crash while fleeing paparazzi. Elton would be called to sing "Candle In The Wind" at her funeral.
Even harsher as Elton had already (successfully) fought a battle with tabloid newspapers in 1987, while Versace's death, in a way, would echo the murder of his friend John Lennon in 1980.
The 1928 Republican Party platform stated, "Under this Administration the country has been lifted from the depths of a great depression to a level of prosperity." The very next year, the stock market would crash, plunging the US into theGreat Depression.
A similar situation is happening almost 100 years later. Back in 2005-2006, people were saying that the US economy would rage back, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting 100,000 points or more. There were naysayers, and they were ridiculed. Just about 8 or so years later, there are rumors that the US economy may collapse completely before 2013 is over, and it's playing out almost exactly like the other.
At the end of his Comedy Central Roast, William Shatner calls out Greg Giraldo, stating that he's a nobody and if life was like an episode of the original Star Trek from 1966, Giraldo would have been wearing a red shirt and have been killed by now. It would actually be a drug overdose that killed Giraldo years after that special.
The Comedy Central Roast of Larry The Cable Guy too. Lisa Lampenelli at one point kept repeating how much money Larry made a year, then ended it saying, "I'm going to keep repeating that until Greg Giraldo kills himself."
There's a now-memetic video of a large man dancing like a lunatic while playing DDR, only to fall off once he gets down, funny at first, but he was asked about the video and it turns out the fall was because the stress of his weight and the movement actually made his ankle break clean in half.
Speaking of Super Bowl examples. In the 2007 season, the New York Giants played the seemingly invisible New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Before the game, Giants player, Plaxico Burress, said they would win and hold the Patriots to 17 points. Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, laughed when he heard this. The Giants would beat the Patriots and actually hold them to 14 points - stopping their undefeated season. But that's not what's harsher, or hilarious, (depending on if you're a fan of the Patriots or not) in hindsight. In the 2011 season, The New England Patriots would play the New York Giants again in the Super Bowl. The Giants would beat them again - this time holding them to 17 points. Even more interesting, Plaxico Burress wasn't on the team this time.
And speaking of the Patriots and Super Bowls, the once seemingly unstoppable tandem of coach Bill Belichik and quarterback Tom Brady has fallen short in the postseason every year since Spygate.
The Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame inducted the Beastie Boys in April 2012; the concert premiered on HBO a few days after Adam Yauch's death in May. Yauch had been too sick to attend.
Ivan the Terrible received his nickname for being a fierce and admirable leader. Then he started living up to his name in a whole different fashion.
Leon Trotsky wrote in 1936 that "Stalin... seeks to strike not at the ideas of the opponent, but at his skull" Four years later...
In summary, anyone famous who jokes about their death a short time before they actually die is going to count for this. Bonus points if they joke about dying in a certain way and they actually die that way.
In an interview before the 2001 Daytona 500, Dale Earnhardt said, "You're gonna see something you've prolly hadn't never seen on Fox." These words took new meanings after Earnhardt was killed in a crash on the last lap.
In November 2007, Heath Ledger spoke about his sleeping problems, saying: "Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night. I couldn't stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going.". Two months later, Ledger was found dead in his apartment, and his death was determined to be caused by an accidental overdose of sleeping pills.
After UConn won their homecoming football game against Louisville on 17 October, 2009, cornerback Jazz Howard said to the media, "You have to play each play like it's the last play you'll ever play." Hours later, he was fatally stabbed outside the student union.
Rachel Scott, the first victim of the Colombine shootings. Her life was full of this trope. Though a lot of the stories about her have been made up, there have been many essays she wrote and entries in her journal that are just damn impossible to read after knowing the girl's fate. Just moments before she was killed she made a drawing of an eye with 13 tears falling from it. Though almost certainly a coincidence, many have theorized that she predicted the shootings and each of the tears represents a victim of the shooting.
Pretty much, anytime someone tells someone to kill themselves/commit suicide it becomes all the worse if the person told to kill themselves follows through with it.
In late 2012 after the NFL murder and suicide of Jovan Belcher and the killing of an unarmed teen named Jordan Davis because of loud music (both by guns) well-known sports commentator Bob Costas gave a speech during the half-time show of a football game, talking about the violent gun obsessed culture in America, and the need for gun control. He was bashed by the conservative media and gun advocates around the country. Then just over a week later, two gun massacres happened - the most tragic being the one in Connecticut.
In a blooper real from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Kevin Smith flubs a kick and falls into some tall grass. Kevin Sorbo reacts by doing an end zone dance. Smith says (In his natural Kiwi accent) "Looks like I'm Mr. Fally Guy!" Smith would later die after falling from some rafters.
Paul "Bear" Bryant: When asked by a reporter what he was going to do upon retiring after a fifty year career in football, Bryant responded "I'll probably croak in a week." The Bear died six weeks after coaching his last game.
Chris Kyle's autobiography American Sniper closes with Kyle writing at length about his difficulty re-adjusting to civilian life after the military and his charitable efforts to help returning servicemen do the same. Barely a year after the book was published, Kyle and another man, Chad Littlefield, were murdered by a former Marine they had brought to a gun range to help with his PTSD.
A bumper sticker often found on the cars of marathon runners reads, "26.2 miles: What could possibly go wrong?" This obviously takes on a whole new and darker meaning in light of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
In the behind the scenes footage of the porn film called *ahem* I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU SUCKED A NEGRO 9, the cameraman has a light hearted conversation with porn star sonya sage and asks what her long term plans were in 5 years. She jokingly said she'll fire the interviewer/cameraman. His response was "i'm sure that'll happen before 5 years". He then pans the camera to male porn star "Sledgehammer" and says sledge will probably survive. Unfortunately sledge died under mysterious circumstances by police hands when they was trying to arrest him. More can be read here
On the morning of February 20, 2003, a man named Rick Sanetti was eating breakfast at a Denny's in Rhode Island, then struck up a conversation with the members of Great White, who were at a nearby table. Lead singer Jack Russell invited him to see them that night at The Station, a nightclub in West Warwick, promising "it's gonna be a killer show." It was: 100 people died after the club caught on fire from pyrotechnics lit by the band's road manager. Sanetti wound up helping to rescue several other survivors.