by maryann johanson, liberal movie person
Tue Dec 27 2016, 06:19pm | 17 comments
And also (the much older) Richard Adams. Just today.
Son of a bitch.
At this point, I’m taking for granted that on December 31, a double-decker bus is going to crash into CAA and kill every celebrity I’ve ever loved.
Damn 2016 to hell. Only 4 more days of it. Then I think I’ll go get drunk.
It’s been a whole day now and I still can’t believe it. It hurts knowing that she’s no longer in the world. Princess, general, brilliant writer, flawed and funny and fearlessly honest human being.
I’ve had “Hearts and Bones” in my head. It’s the song Paul Simon wrote about their relationship and I’ve always thought it was lovely.
What a fucking horrible year.
2016 is hardly the first year that so many celebrities near and dear to my heart have died but still…
Plus pop singer George Michael passed away this weekend.
And country music icon Merle Haggard passed away earlier this year.
They all will be missed.
George Michael hurt a lot too.
This article, and its last paragraph:
We, all of us, have to be the heroes now.
My nine-year-old-daughter just kept saying, “this can’t be happening.” She had only recently discovered General Princess Leia Organa and her overall amazingness. Someday, I’ll have words for what the character meant to nine-year-old me all those year ago. Right now, I have only tears and shock.
I think the end of that article hits closer to the mark than its title does.
It’s not that there are “No More Heroes.” It’s that a generation of heroes is passing. And while it’s right to grieve for all that we’ve lost this year, it’s also true that other generations step up.
My daughter is fifteen, and was very sad about Fisher’s passing. But the deaths of Bowie, Prince, Cohen, Michael, etc barely fazed her. She didn’t live through the decades when those icons did their best and most important work. Those weren’t HER cultural heroes; they’re the heroes of her parents’ old-fogey generation, who, as usual, are obsessed with talking about themselves. When she was ready to listen, THEY weren’t the ones who were speaking. HER heroes are alive and well — some of them culturally prominent, some of them under the radar, and some of them just beginning to find their voices, with the potential to be the heroes the future will need: Beyonce. Solange. J. Cole. Frank Ocean. Kendrick. Troye Sivan. Maggie Stiefvater. Rainbow Rowell. Tyler Oakley. Hari Nef. Amandla Stenberg. Rowan Blanchard. (I could add many others, established and emerging: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Marjorie Liu, Junot Diaz, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Lena Dunham, Roxane Gay, G. Willow Wilson, Donald Glover, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Cheryl Strayed, Gail Simone, and on and on.)
There are still, and hopefully will always be, artists and writers and thinkers whose voices inspire and challenge us to make a better world. They won’t always be the same voices, and perhaps fewer will attain the broadcast power provided by the old media structures. But they’ll be there, for us and those who come after. We just have to seek them out and support them and help them flourish, even as we mourn our dead. That doesn’t make this year hurt any less, but it’s a perspective that, to me anyway, leaves space for hope.
[Mostly babbling. I apologize in advance.]
Some of my heroes died before I was born–like Ada Lovelace, Winsor McKay, Thomas Nast, and Nellie Bly–and some died decades ago, like Jim Henson and Harry Chapin and Dr. Seuss and Trina Schart Hyman. I’m still learning from them, and I’ll keep on learning from them. If someone is heroic enough, he or she never stops being a hero.* But right now, the situation in the world is so dire we can never have enough heroes. So, yes, hope. Hope is a renewable resource. When I need them, I can call on the optimism and the belief in community I got from Pete Seeger or the skewed, clarifying sense of humor I got from Robin Williams. But no matter what we do, the world will never have another new Robin Williams monologue or another new David Bowie song, and it’s devastating, because this year, we need them more than ever.
*My storytelling group does an annual tribute to Harriet Tubman, next to her statue in Harlem, and each time, no one can ever stop telling stories about her. There are just too many great stories to tell.
Maybe it helps to keep in mind not just that we lost them, but that we were fortunate to HAVE them to begin with. They’re gone, but their contributions remain. And honestly, at least for some of them, it might be the case that death clarifies our appreciation of their career even if their best work was already decades past; we’re grateful for what they’ve already given us, rather than specifically needing *more* from them at the current moment.
And — again — let’s not let our grief blind us to new heroes. They’re out there if we’re paying attention. And they probably need us as much as we need them.
Actually, my mind would be blown if half of those you mentioned were taken by 2016.
Well, maybe not Lena Dunham. She’s been less than palatable to me lately; but, hey, she’s entitled to show who she is…and we’re entitled to believe what we were shown … whether she thinks we should or not.
Anyhow, if Queen Bey or Solange were taken, there would be another 2016 gut punch for me.
“Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin never died. They simply became music.”
On the one hand, not a surprise, but given everything else that happened… Fuck the Black Rabbit of Inlé.
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