Leonard Cohen Is Not Dead - YetWednesday, August 13, 2014
|Leonard Cohen - still alive but my index finger is poised for that homage|
Hi Papi, you must have something to say of Lauren Bacall.
The above came to me today via facebook (note it must be written in lower case) from my eldest daughter Alexandra. Below is a rare rant. Best stop reading now.
I am a photographer but unlike Arthur Fellig (aka Weegee), a much better photographer than I will ever be, I am not an ambulance chaser.
In this 21st century in which the amateur (not in the good meaning of the word as reflected by English gentlemen of the 19th who loved whatever they were interested in, be it archaeology, growing pineapples in greenhouses or warfare, and thus called themselves amateurs) reigns supreme. They are journalists, photographers, designers but not yet doctors of medicine, civil engineers, funeral directors or masters of law. Those latter professions require study and perseverance. It is better, and far easier to publish a blog as I do, or "like" a statement or “pic” in facebook.
And so we face our flat-screen monitors and write with our left hand while our right hand’s index finger is poised to send our sentence of homage to Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Sophia Loren or Liv Ullmann (if anybody remembers her still) as any are bound to die soon.
We will then grieve and mention in trite sentences how it was that any of those great people somehow entered our lives. Perhaps it was a sighting at an LA restaurant, or as a stills photographer in the making of one of their movies. Perhaps it was falling in love while reading a poem by one of them.
In all truth I cannot find any fault in that, in the same way, that I cannot damn a man who might be playing air guitar while watching Art Bergmann play a real one on stage. If we cannot be St. Peter we must buy a bit of his upside-down cross.
Ex Premier Dave Barrett is still alive. In the back window of my Malibu I have an Australian Snowy River hat that I once photographed on him. My right hand index finger is poised to reveal to any who might have gotten this far in my rant the story of the Akubra hat as soon as Barrett succumbs to his personal but universal inevitability.
But seriously, I think that our relationship to a treasured actor, actress, poet, singer, novelist, historian, basketball player, is no different in a most personal intimacy that we might experience with the loss of a loved one or a best friend.
Why would I want to share my grief with 300 or 500 or 1000 or 25 friends I may have never met in Twitter or facebook?
Is there a first prize to be given to the first to post homage to such a loss?
If and when I see my eldest daughter I might share with her my memories of films I have seen that starred Lauren Bacall. But I do not feel a need to share any of that with anybody else.
Meanwhile, to me, all those tributes to recently dead actors seem no different from that American invention that is the roast. In a roast the roastee has to take long attacks on his or her character with composure because that is the rule of the game. But there is one important difference; the roastee is most always alive while the dead actor is definitely dead. The more famous, the more talented, the more perverse, the most infamous, like us must all die. And once dead, what happens after is of no consequence to he or she who is dead.