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Tag: "i see dead people"

Old School

[ 0 ] June 27, 2009 |

Mr. Trend has one of the nicer tributes to MJ that I’ve read.


Elvis has Left the Building?

[ 0 ] June 26, 2009 |
I’m a bit late to the game on this one.  Paul beat me to the punch, and got in the obviously good quip in the process.  I blame the time zones.  Or the healthy moderate drinking that a good friend and I partook in last night at my house.  It was a nice Zin, and also a really nice, proper Chablis, but I digress.
I’m both surprised and not, at once.  When I woke and heard the news on BBC 6 Music this morning, I went to my itunes collection to put some Jackson on, out of some sort of sentimental obligation or whatever.  Fortunately, over the years, cooler heads have prevailed; out of the 95 gig of music in my itunes collection (other pointless stats: 51.7 straight days of music; I don’t have 51.7 days to listen to music exclusively) there is not a single Michael Jackson song.  [UPDATE: There is.  I have a very nice Motown box set that I hadn’t imported into itunes for some reason.  And I’m kicking myself for missing the obvious temporal link here — the Jackson 5 were signed to Motown in 1968, the same year Elvis realized that he was irrelevant and had his comeback special.  1969 was when the Jackson 5 released their first singles, the same year Elvis recorded what would become parts of the Memphis Record.]
That also sort of surprised me — as, while lapsed in the theological sense, I do maintain a catholic approach to music.  I’ll admit to an admiration for the man in terms of his pop sensibilities — he was genius there.  But, unlike the King, Jacko never had his return to Memphis moment.  Jackson had become utterly irrelevant, and worse, a running joke, but part of me had hoped, in vain, that he would recognize this.  Where Elvis had self-awareness, recognized that he had become irrelevant, and even better, did something about it, making perhaps one of the best records ever, Jackson did nothing more than string us along.
I will state, unequivocally, that Michael Jackson is not my generation’s Elvis.  As far as I am concerned, that man is playing Glastonbury this weekend.  But with both Jacko and Farrah, who will be the third? [readers have correctly pointed out that Ed McMahon was the first of this batch of three . . . and on this one, my excuses are flimsy at best.]

Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson selfishly draw attention away from freedom-loving Iranians

[ 0 ] June 25, 2009 |

Governor of South Carolina breathes deep sigh of relief.

…[UPDATE BY ROB] the obligatory video:

Michael and Farrah, rest in peace.

You are Correct, Sir!

[ 0 ] June 23, 2009 |

Ed McMahon has passed. I guess now I’ll never be on Star Search…

Mark the Bird Fidrych

[ 0 ] April 13, 2009 |

It’s been a bad day for baseball, with the death this morning of legendary Phillies announcer Harry Kalas, and now the sudden passing of Mark Fidyrch. Fidyrch, who was only 54, was killed in an accident on his farm. I was 16 and a fanatic Tigers fan during the Bird’s brief flight across the national landscape. The Tigers were coming off the worst season in their history, and Fidyrch’s combination of brilliant pitching (158 adjusted ERA, not that we knew what that was back then) and totally unselfconscious antics — he talked to the ball before every pitch and had about 50 twitchy mannerisms that were all somehow endearing — remains one of my favorite baseball memories.

The Bird’s career was wrecked after just 35 starts by an undiagnosed torn rotator cuff, and a hard-headed analysis of his stats indicates he probably wasn’t destined for a Hall of Fame career — he only had 97 strikeouts in 250 innings in that magical rookie year. Still for a few months he was on top of the world, and somehow neither that experience nor his sudden fall seemed to have any affect on his personality, which appeared to remain immune to the contaminating power of fame.

Hail to thee blithe Spirit
Bird thou always wert . . .


[ 0 ] April 10, 2009 |

This is, indeed, horrible news for an organization that has seen more than its share of same. Being in my vacation quasi-cocoon, I hadn’t even heard about it until the moment of silence in the seventh inning at Great American yesterday. RIP.

Natasha Richardson, 1963-2009

[ 0 ] March 20, 2009 |

A very tragic story, of course (which also occasioned some pretty creepy journalism.) I found her work in Schrader’s odd-but-compelling Patty Hearst especially, well, compelling.

See also Glenn and Lissa.

Brian Barry, RIP

[ 1 ] March 11, 2009 |

I see via Harry Brighouse that Brian Barry has died. I’m not a good candidate to offer an evaluation or overview of his work. He’s an engaging and enjoyable writer with a voice that made him particularly pleasurable to read when you agree with him, and somewhat maddening when you don’t–he was an impressive wordsmith in a way that few political theorists are. I endorse Why Social Justice Matters with few reservations, but on the subject of Culture and Equality I’m afraid I have to wholeheartedly endorse Jacob Levy’s critical review.

Barry’s writing possessed a dry wit and some delicious snark. I’m somewhat hesitant to highlight a book review, given his career’s worth of substantive work, but as a fan of the genre of devastating reviews of deserving targets, I can’t resist taking this opportunity to excerpt from his review of Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State and Utopia:

Finally the intellectual texture is of a sort of cuteness that would be wearing in a graduate student and seems to me quite indecent in someone who, from the lofty heights of a professorial chair, is proposing to starve or humiliate ten percent or so of his fellow citizens (if he recognizes the word) by eliminating all transfer payments through the state, leaving the sick, the old, the disabled, the mothers with young children and no breadwinner, and so on, to the tender mercies of private charity, given at the whim and pleasure of the donors and on any terms that they choose to impose. This is, no doubt, an emotional response, but there are, I believe, occasions when an emotional response is the only intellectually honest one. The concept of a “free fire zone,” for example, could appropriately be the subject of black comedy or bitter invective but not dispassionate analysis. Similarly, a book whose argument would entail the repeal of even the Elizabethan Poor Law must either be regarded as a huge joke or as a case of trahison des clercs, giving spurious intellectual respectability to the reactionary backlash that is already visible in other ways in the United States. My own personal inclination would be to treat the book as a joke, but since it is only too clear that others are prepared to take It seriously, I shall do so as well…..
Nozick’s vision of “utopia” as a situation in which the advantaged reinforce their advantages by moving into independent jurisdictions, leaving the poor and disadvantaged to fend for themselves, could be regarded as the work of a master satirist, since it is in fact merely the logical extension of pathologically divisive processes already well-established in the United States: the flight of the middle classes to the suburbs while the inner city decays from lack of resources, and the growth of “planned communities” for the wealthy aged and other specially selected groups who are able to shed much of the usual social overhead. Unfortunately, there is no sign that Nozick, jokiness personified in other respects, sees this particular joke, but, thanks to the direction given to public policy by Nixon and Ford and their Supreme Court, the American people have an increasing opportunity to enjoy the joke personally.

Philip Jose Farmer, RIP

[ 0 ] February 26, 2009 |

Philip Jose Farmer has passed at the age of 91. Riders of the Purple Wage is an enduring masterpiece. Of the Riverworld series I only really liked To Your Scattered Bodies Go and The Fabulous Riverboat, although I made it through the entire set. Didn’t read the rest of his body of work.

John Updike

[ 0 ] January 28, 2009 |

R.I.P. Wolcott has more.

Patrick McGoohan, 1928-2009

[ 0 ] January 15, 2009 |

This is really djw’s department, but in the interim a fine tribute to McGoohan can be found here.

Sam Huntington

[ 0 ] December 27, 2008 |

It appears that Sam Huntington has passed. Soldier and the State is a fine book. Many of his other works I can’t stand, to the point of repugnance. It’s fair to say, though, that virtually every graduate student who has passed through a political science department had to deal with Huntington in some fashion.

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