Archive for the 'In Memorium' Category

A little bit off the wall

Jun 25, 2009 in Culture, In Memorium, Music, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

I was going to write about the current situation in Iran, when I was stunned by the shocking news of Michael Jackson’s death.

Anyone born between the years 1970-1990, knew him as the king of pop, and can name and/or sing 5-10 of his songs.  I would be bold to say that of these people, before the age of 10 would have told you that he was their favorite singer.

There was no other artist, that is as well known in as many countries as Michael Jackson.  Religion, culture, and political beliefs aside, many people all over the world were touched by his music.

Music is one of those things that transcends all these things and can be a universal unifier.  Which is why in the mountains of Tora Bora, Afghanistan, in the remotest village in Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, anywhere you go someone has heard of Michael Jackson and can tell you what their favorite Michael Jackson song is.  Yes, even Osama Bin Laden probably has a favorite Michael Jackson tune, and tried to moonwalk when he was a young fanatic.  Hell, white Christian fanatics like Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh probably have a favorite Michael Jackson song.

He was the first real megastar in music.  He was a whole lotta crazy well before Britney Spears and Amy Winehouse.  Before boy bands, there was the Jackson 5.  You may say Beatles, but the Jackson 5 were younger, the first true boy band.  Justin Timberlake wouldn’t have any dance moves or falsetto without Michael.  Before U2, Michael Jackson pushed the boundaries of the largest overblown, multimedia, multi-million dollar rock shows.  Yes I say rock, because he employed the best backing rock session musicians in his albums and tours.

Before Michael Jackson, Bollywood movies actually had plots, and the only music was the backing soundtrack, and the only dancing was two lovers running through forests and around trees in the beautiful mountains of Kashmir.  From the 80’s onwards, choreographed dance sequences are now the central part of the movie, and all copy the moves from Thriller, Beat It, Smooth Criminal, and such.

The list goes on, but he was truly extraordinary, and his departure will be mourned all over the world and in also the least likeliest of places.

–Ali

P.S. I know mg and jb will crucify me for posting this 😛

Tony Snow, early departer.

Jul 12, 2008 in In Memorium, tony snow

We are all born, and at some point we die; brackets that enclose our lives, a vice that ever tightens. Tony had a chance to see Death coming for him and make his peace, and end I would want rather than a sudden interruption like Tim Russert’s.

Then again, I see it always coming for me, something I have avoided at least twice not counting various moments driving.

Death truly does lurk in our peripheral vision every day, frightening deeply when looked upon directly. It has no feelings, it discriminates against none.

Our bodies are imperfect devices for accessing this world. The fear that they are the only option for existence is more than most people can bear. While safeguarding against death is a matter of daily prudence, we wish to live and speak as if we were eternal, or perhaps to attain the quality of enduring. I wrote six screenplays (and started a seventh…) with the intention to make a certain kind of mark on the world not quickly forgotten, and while writing on an obscure blog steeped in the muck of the world is certainly less than I’d hoped for, there is always that bit of satisfaction that it would leave something of me behind for a little while longer were today my last. At least if somebody wanted to see more than a picture of my face or hear more than the kind words of loved ones, there would be that (as long as Mike G. keeps paying for the server…).

Whatever one thinks of Tony Snow’s life and what he chose to spend it doing and saying, one should note the common motivations, and the fate we all share.

-jb

A tip of the 40.

Jun 14, 2008 in In Memorium

I’ve had no shortage of problems with Tim Russert’s Beltway-itis over the years, but it’s impossible not to admire a life fully lived. Nitpicking somebody can cause you to forget what you admire about them, and upon hearing of his death and listening to accounts of his life from his colleagues, I was awestruck with what a person can accomplish in this world. He was not perfect, but he was better than most.

As many have noted, tomorrow is Father’s Day, and Russert was less than two years older than my father. It really is hard not to well up with empathy for his family. For me such a loss is truly unimaginable. The weight of this world, oh brother…the heaviness of life.

-jb