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What to do with Dead People

April 25, 2016

Remember that episode of The Simpsons when Homer thinks Bart is gay? In that episode, the family goes to this store that sells weird candy and old-timey toys where they meet John the guy who “prefers the company of men.” (Who doesn’t?) Yesterday, I went to a store like that.

The young lady cashier said to me “Is that David Bowie?”

I don’t always like it when cashiers try to spark discussion with me. Sometimes I’m not in the mood. Sometimes I just want to buy a chocolate bar and be on my way. Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m wearing a David Bowie t-shirt. “Uh, huh? Yes. It’s a David Bowie t-shirt.” I was wearing a David Bowie t-shirt. I wasn’t really sure what I was wearing that day. Just one of those wear-the-top-t-shirt-on-the-pile days. Yesterday my Bowie “Scotland 1973” t-shirt happened to be on the top of the pile and it just so happens that the image is a lesser-known Bowie likeness.

The cashier wanted to talk. “A lot of people jumped on the bandwagon for Bowie when he died.”

“Yeah, it happens.”

She started going on and on about Bowie stuff and telling me how she wants to watch Labyrinth again. I told not to. Bowie’s not a good actor.

What is to be done with dead people who have made their mark on the world? Should we start drooling all over them and grant them various meaningless platitudes like “icon” or “genius” or “innovative.” Why can’t we just say the same things we’ve always said. “He’s good. I like him. Oh, he died. Well, wait three days. If he doesn’t come back, he’s not the Messiah.”

When Bowie died, I didn’t run around telling people how great Bowie was. I’d been doing that for 30 freakin’ years and nobody listened. If I couldn’t prove it to you in all those years, I’m not going waste my time now that he’s dead.

I suggest not idolizing the dead. They’re dead. They’re not here to accept the praise. I say we praise the living while they live. Then when they die, say “That sucks. Shit happens. Oh well.”

By the way, this is in no way me crapping on Prince. It may be a bit of me crapping on all the Prince adoration that happened in the past four days. I like Prince. He’s made some amazing music over the years. He was one of those artists who often chose art over success and was heavily mocked for it but did it anyway. But now he’s dead. That sucks. Shit happens. Oh well.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 26, 2016 9:25 pm

    I’ve never heard so many people extolling the musical genius of Prince as I have over the last few days since his passing, too. It’s annoying. If you didn’t appreciate the person while they were alive, don’t try pretending you loved them and their work now that they’re dead.

  2. Christielli permalink
    April 27, 2016 10:46 pm

    When someone dies I think it’s cool to remember them and find out how many people did like them.

    It’s just when they die everyone talks about them at the same time hence the concentration.

  3. May 1, 2016 6:40 pm

    I really did like Bowie, and have done since the 1980s, but I have to agree that he wasn’t a great actor.

  4. May 16, 2016 11:27 pm

    When Bowie died, you were the first person I thought of. I knew you were a fan, because, as you said, you’ve been telling people for years what a great artist he was.

    I liked Prince. I can’t say I followed his career but I had some records and saw his movies. I’m sad that he’s gone, and still kind of can’t believe it, but then, I still can’t believe Michael Jackson’s dead either.

    I think it’s the shock of it more than anything that causes people to make what seems to be a big deal about it. No one makes a big deal when an elderly famous person passes.

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