i'm a blackstar
On The Media and Memorializing Our Heroes
david bowie is near indescribable as is his weight and meaning.
i guess the loss feels so incredible because he burst out from his spaceship before freak was even funk decades before AIDS, survived AIDS as every single one of his peers died off, and no one in the past twenty years has even come close to solidifying a legacy like his. it shows what's missing in our culture and what was possible before as magic is now cynically marketed to youth as brand and image.
he was truly a gift to our ordinary world.
he is still very much within the very fabric of all music and popular culture today. his DNA is of mutant origin that has infiltrated our species. there will be many of thousand page biographies, hundreds of hours of archival footage and an endless memorial to take part in until, well, probably until time stops for us all.
that hyperbole is something that gets to the center of my instant reaction to reading about the thin white duke's passing. as it reflects back down to those he's touched, that we see the world around us truly as a vacuum sealed biological happenstance, screaming with man made money and built on an empire of hyperbole, that is mostly dangerous.
we wager on death like a vice, stalk the old to their graves and push the limits of people until they become unreal and detached as just humans who carry the spectrum of reality we all are burdened with.
many are deserving of otherworldly praise, but it is always in control of the living. usually the one to gain the most from the recently deceased.. and only to become a monster, a frankenstein out of its creator's control. which brings to mind kurt cobain. he was a quiet north westerner with femininity squarely in his soft focused mind with modest singer-songwriter aspirations. his juggernaut ghost has become a screeching, flannel waving, guitar smashing paradigm shift that is the new culturall image of his out of control icon status. he lived closer to the aura of patti smith, and yet so many of a new generation will only know him as the legacy media has shaped and sold one unauthorized documentary and unreleased song and worse yet, 'guitar hero' game avatar at a time until there is nothing more than the distorted memory of a what we all wanted to remember in the first place about him and his talent.
it is not to say it is a criticism. or call to action. at the point where fame wields an even stranger distortion than ever before. it is to say, without cynicism, that it is inevitable.
so before all of that, i am very drawn to the moment of now.
and that it brings me to how you.. yes you, as an individual that would like to participate as a shadow in the light of this touchstone moment. and in all these ways, in an America that spawned the postmortem legacy money machine which holds prison to John Lennon and Janis Joplin down on to anyone who has made money in front of a camera. we do it to our idols, and yet, take advantage of this system, when we slander those we were too cowardly to speak to when they were alive. and thus, we make an unauthorized story of the dead. because no story is ever authorized, ever. as the dead will never be able to speak for themselves.
and we've taken this skewed memorializing and seem to embody its ethics in the everyday of our lives.
and it comes back as a boomerang within this time and space, as what do you want to do about it now?
of course remember Ziggy as he was to you.
and protect those that are still with you now, by being present.
these are familial parallels. the death of an artist, a legend among the ordinary. is the same we treat those we truly love.
so make it personal. not profitable.
make it to yourself, and not to the invisible internet nest of ones and zeros stored safely on cold servers in some locked up building to be obliterated the next time an asteroid hits our marble.
and in what you say of those adored and imitated..
with their authenticity and verve for life
it really doesn't matter if you say they were the best ever, or you loved them the most
or that they were everything in this world for so many
that this world we generalize so much buys hand over fist for these projections to desperately be true so not to go further insane in an already bizarre landscape that lately resembles Terry Gilliam's Brazil et al the Trump dynamic.
it doesn't matter what they meant to you in fleeting moments
or how you can capture that in the most beautiful eulogy ever written
in a society bound by crony capitalism like barbed wire squeezing and slicing into us ever so hauntingly
we are prone to light the fireworks, bang the drum and post the most when they're dead and gone
none of it all matters. not to the dead.
not to david bowie.
he already got to say his goodbyes
and not to the family members that have passed away in your life
just like you can tell everyone your mother or father was the best parent that ever lived
that sacrificed everything for you, you can resist lauding them for the sake of others
and even better, if you're lucky enough to have them still with you, you can just call and tell them you love them and will be visiting for dinner
a quiet meal, absorbing the creaks of their old home, glancing over to see them smile between loving, albeit simple conversation that they get so much joy out of
just by having you there
those eulogies are for the living. living with abstract pain.
the dead won't miss you
so better to make peace between the heartbeats that remain
better to make the art and ideas you have now while you still have the strength
better to cry in a corner of your room alone, feeling the cramped space of three dimensions, while remembering all the things the person you lost brought you
until we feel light
so you may go back into the living world and carry that light to others
to every outpost, sovereign flag and cultural ignorance that holds us in the dark as a people
as the best way to say goodbye becomes
a "hello and how can i help you?
someone changed my life for the better,
i hope i can do the same for you."
a living legacy. a living, breathing eulogy.
is always better than a memory.
he made it golden and true for so many
what can you do to help someone too?