Friday, April 22, 2016

Prince, I Hardly Knew Ye

Farrah Fawcett, 1947-2009
Everyone knows that the news is made by TV producers, which is why nothing ever happens on a Sunday. A slow news day is instantly revitalized by a dead celebrity. That happened yesterday when The Artist Formerly Known As Prince died, truly becoming the artist formerly known as the Artist Formerly Known As Prince. Judging by the media reaction you would think a meteor was about to strike Earth. Last night all the major networks and cable news channels were blabbing about it, the occasion of his death apparently a welcome relief from another boring night of Trump/Hillary/Cruz/Kasich/Bernie bashing.

I understand, but still.... Prince was just one person and someone who has not even been in the news for anything at all in decades. (I'm embarrassed to admit he went to his grave without me ever seeing him perform or even hearing him sing. I kept meaning to listen to "Purple Rain" but never got around to it.) For celebrities, when you die is almost more important than how you die in terms of news coverage, and isn't that what their lives are all about?

Like Farrah Fawcett, a one-time international superstar turned fading actress whose death from cancer at age 62 would have been a huge story except for Michael Jackson dying much more dramatically later that day. Poor Farrah basically got no coverage and was instead just dead, like any other mortal. The same thing happened to legendary film director Federico Fellini, in his seventies, who had the dumb luck to stroke out on the same day in 1993 that the rising hot young actor, River Phoenix, overdosed on drugs. (Quick, name something River Phoenix did.)

I have so much to thank God for it's crazy, but one thing on the list is that I'm not famous and can just flatline when the time comes without my death being analyzed, criticized, ridiculed, misunderstood or, at the very worst, just plain ignored.

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