Tuesday, June 15, 2010

News Travels Slow

The other day someone at the shop asked me what I thought about Dennis Hopper's death.

"Huh? Dennis Hopper is dead?"

They looked at me, their eyes showing surprise over this lack of awareness on my part.

"When was the last time you watched the news?"

"Uh, I dunno......maybe day two of the Gulf oil catastrophe.......Uh no, I watched the weather this morning. Does that count?"

They smiled.

So Dennis Hopper and now I understand Gary Coleman are dead. One, an icon of the Silver Screen and the other an icon of the Small Screen. One was older than I and the other was younger. Neither died in spectacular or shady ways. Natural Causes, the guilty culprit.

I am not sure what to think. I will miss Dennis, but Gary was never on my radar. The sitcom he starred in held no interest for me. What gets me is the over the top attention after their deaths. Even though they are dead and buried, their star status carries them into our living rooms and computers as the sordid details of their private lives are laid open for all to see. Why anyone would be interested in the details of someones last days as they struggled against cancer is beyond me. Many if not most of us have lived that nightmare as we watched a loved one or friend live out their last days.

Bottom line is both were actors. Maybe a better way to honor both would be to watch their body of work and appreciate the legacy they left us. Digging into the dark side of their private lives now is low rent and wrong.

Back in March I made the conscious choice to change my lifestyle. Staying tuned into what was going on outside my small corner of Maine was not helping my frame of mind. So I made the decision to not stay tuned in. It was not turning me on and all I had was a feeling of total impotency regarding my ability to sway events beyond my own world. Take care of me and mine and the rest will work out. Or it won't. Either way, I needed to stop worrying about the NASDAQ, the banks, the oil spill, the illegals in Arizona.

Certainly events outside my area were affecting me. The economic meltdown for sure had cut through our area with a vengeance. The nationwide political animosity had recently exhibited itself in the acrimonious and hateful turn of events leading up to a local town election. All of a sudden I heard terms like "Us & Them", "elitist", etc. come from the mouths of good ole boys who never speak openly about politics. And though the election on June 8th resolved some of the controversy, it did not smooth out the hard feelings on either side. People all over have decided that everything is personal now. This is not a good sign.


El Cerdo Ignatius said...

It's like the spoof of the Jaws movies, as depicted in Back to the Future. The movie advertised is something like Jaws XVI, and the slogan is "This time, it's really, really, really personal."

So it goes with U.S. politics these days. You're right to tune out - funny enough, I go through tune-out periods too, and they always do me a lot of good.

PENolan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ain't for city gals said...

Enjoying your attitude..almost like a breath of fresh air,,looking forward to reading the previous posts...

Beach Bum said...

Dennis was a true original and his kind is very, very rare in this day and age. Gary has my sympathy just because of how his childhood was consumed by the demands of being in television as a child.

Believe me, I would love to be able to tune the crap out. In fact I would enjoy it very much if I could live on some isolated island or out in the desert, just when I think it can not get any crazier it does just that.

BBC said...

I've never paid any attention to either of them, didn't need them in my world.

The economy? Well, I don't know, I'm still doing just fine. The price of beer went up but I can still afford it.

Randal Graves said...

Who's Dennis Hopper?

I highly recommend tuning out. It's good for the pores.

Utah Savage said...

And as you might imagine, I'm tuned in as much as is possible. I need to work in my garden, mow and blow, dig dandelions, tame vines, wash windows now that it's finally stopped raining every other day, but I'm such a news junkie that I spend much of my time live tweeting the news everyday. And the news just gets worse and worse. You are smart to tune out. I just can't. It's a lifetime of conditioning that keeps me glued to the news. I'm planning to work outside today, but I'll be taking the radio out with me so I can listen to NPR all day. I wish I were more like you and less like me.

robin andrea said...

I have stopped listening to the news as well. It does take a psychic toll, if you let it, which I do. It is much saner to concentrate on the little sphere we call our lives and our immediate surrounding where we can and do have an impact. After the June 8th elections here in California, I had an overwhelming desire to never vote again. It all feels very pointless to me. Nothing is ever as it is presented and the machinery behind the facade is grinding faster than ever.

The deaths of celebrities don't interest me. The death of the environment catches my attention.