Genghis Khan, too?

They are taking away all our villains. It was enough of a strain when we had to adjust to a Richard III as a brave and pious monarch quite in contrast with the embodiment of evil presented by Shakespeare. In the animal kingdom, someone is always telling us how warm and lovable the wolf is, contrary to our big bad cherished stereotypes.

Now comes the word from Peking. To be sure, Peking's credentials for rehabilitating anybody may be suspect. But here China's rulers go, praising their Mongolian predecessor, Genghis Khan, as a "leader of Chinese and foreign peoples, an outstanding military strategist and statesman." No tyrant he.

Who's left? Attila the Hun? Somebody somewhere is probably discovering the old boy wasn't so bad if you got to know him.

It's not that we deny the possibilities of mistaken identity -- or of reform. But the change ought to come from within. If anybody can start saying anybody was not a villain after all, we wish they at least wouldn't wait 750 years as in the case of gentle Genghis.

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