The great Milan Kundera (“The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting“, “Immortality”) died yesterday at age 94.

As a highly influential, world-renowned, Czech-born writer who moved to Paris in ’75, Kundera’s peak influence years were in the ’70s and especially the ’80s, which is when Philip Kaufman‘s The Unbearable Lightness of Being (’88) was released.

Having read and adored Kundera’s 1984 novel I was vaguely…actually more than vaguely disappointed with Kaufman’s film. There was so much more to the book than what Kaufman and co-scenarist Jean-Claude Carrière chose to focus upon. (I felt the same way about Kaufman’s The Right Stuff (’83) — Tom Wolfe’s 1979 book was ten times more interesting and engaging.)

The only thing I liked about Kaufman’s Unbearable Lightness were the performances by Daniel Day Lewis and the newly arrived Juliette Binoche, who was only 23 or 24 during filming.

I’ve always regarded Kundera’s prose style as immaculate and elegant. Pared to the bone, nothing extraneous or superfluous but with a certain oxygenated quality…a feeling of aliveness. In my estimation his writing has always existed in the same realm as Joseph Conrad‘s.

Along with Tom Wolfe, Hunter S. Thompson, Jerzy Kosinski, Jim Harrison**, William Faulkner, Norman Mailer, William Safire and Russell Baker, Kundera has long been a major influence upon my own meager scrawlings.

Kundera was apparently a hound in his actual life (and so his semi-fictional characters followed suit), and I’m sorry but I really worshipped that special erotic current that sometimes permeated.

Kundera was something of a chauvinist, okay, but those sensual and sexual atmospheres were…I don’t know what to call them except cultured and tingly and fascinating on several levels. But it was all subordinate to those wonderfully honed sentences and that curiously magnetic sense of impermanence and vague anxiety and unsuppressible delight in the here-and-now.

I’ve just read a brief obit by The Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott Roxborough, an apparently obedient wokester who ends his article by noting that “Kundera’s depiction of personal, amoral behavior and sexual politics as a metaphor for the inherent absurdities of life in Czechoslovakia under communism drew widespread praise but also criticism, particularly from feminists who detected an inherent misogyny in his work.

“Kundera himself rarely gave interviews, and none of his books after ‘Unbearable Lightness’ achieved similar international success or acclaim.” Here’s the kicker: “[Kundera’s] final novel, perhaps fittingly titled ‘The Festival of Insignificance’, was published in 2015.”

As an occasional writer of none-too-flattering or too-honest obits, I was immediately disgusted by Roxborough’s final sentence.

Imagine Roxborough writing something similar if, God forbid, the great Clint Eastwood were to pass tomorrow — “None of Eastwood’s films over the last 15 years achieved the success or acclaim that he managed during the ’90s and early aughts — Unforgiven, A Perfect World, The Bridges of Madison County, Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino. He hasn’t been a director of serious consequence since the beginning of the Obama administration, and perhaps it’s fitting to acknowledge that.”

Did Roxborough skim Daniel Lewis’s N.Y. Times obit before writing his own?

I don’t want to sound rash or overly condemning, but it seems to me that Roxborough is some kind of grovelling woke toady….”do you see who I am, #MeToo vanguard feminists? Do you see how I diminished Kundera-the-chauvinist in my final sentence? Do you guys approve of this? Do I get a gold star?”

**I remember a line from Harrison’s “Dalva” about some none-too-bright guy being so in love with a woman that “he sometimes felt as if her ass was aimed at him, like some people from the lower end of the gene pool believe that TV shows are made for them personally.”