Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pop culture is quite ephemeral: Farrah Fawcett died around noon in LA, and three hours later, Michael Jackson died. But the hyperbole is a little much.

The interesting thing is that, right now, there's an emphasis on how Michael Jackson was the most famous entertainer of the 20th Century. I hate this kind of hyperbole: if the worldwide saturation of attention is an indication, then the most famous entertainer of the 20th Century remains Charlie Chaplin. And (yes) there is an analogy: Chaplin was also noted for rather unsavory relations with minors. (Paulette Goddard was actually not an anomaly. The other day, i was researching her life, and came across the fact - which i had known but had forgotten - that she had been a Ziegfeld Follies chorine at the age of 15, when she married a millionaire; three years later, when she was 18, she divorced her first husband and received a million dollar settlement, whereupon she and her mother went to L.A. where they invested in real estate. Goddard met Chaplin shortly after, and they claimed to have married in China or Vietnam or somewhere but no marriage license was ever found. Chaplin then starred Goddard in "Modern Times" in 1936, when she was already 23 or 24, but he'd already been with her since she was a teenager.)

The problem is that there is too much deification going on in the way people regard the arts. A lot of it has to do with the need people have for spirituality, but there's an insistence on creating an image of the artist as hero, and there's no middle ground.

But certainly an odd day. In addition: Hanne Hiob died; she was Bertolt Brecht's daughter, a few months ago, Stefan Brecht died. Ed McMahon also died. Ed McMahon's death was very sad: he left a lot of debts, and his wife had to move out of the house as soon as he died. Very sad.


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