May 03, 2016

Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham

Source: Bigstock

“€œIt now seems rare for a week to pass without a significant celebrity death being reported,”€ the BBC intoned after Prince‘s demise, adding that they”€™d already run almost five times more obituaries this year than during the same period in 2012.

The passing of Lemmy, David Bowie, and Alan Rickman in rapid succession (then Garry Shandling, Glenn Frey, Patty Duke, beloved English comedienne Victoria Wood, infamous Toronto mayor Rob Ford…) generated a widespread miasma of impotent fury, disbelief, and sorrow that there’s probably a word for in German.

As I noted back when all this started, one particular cadre of loonies (a “€œbin,”€ perhaps?) believes these deaths are elaborate hoaxes, evidence of the role Masonic gematria (whatever that is) plays in human affairs.

But even the non-gnostic can”€™t shake the sensation that “€œSomething’s Going On.”€ Witness the inevitable “€œFuck2016″€ subreddit and hashtag; thanks to the latter, I learned it’s gotten so bad that famous people are dying twice. So, hey, R.I.P. Bob Hoskins (again).

Of course, rational skeptics are being contacted for comment about this “€œphenomenon,”€ and impatiently explaining that, well, baby boomers are getting old anyhow and also you”€™re stupid.

Yeah, but rational skeptics are boring assholes with no friends, and are just as annoying as their opposite numbers, those gullible Illuminati nutters.

“€œSo far this year, not a single famous person I really care about has died.”€

See, when actors and musicians and authors die, people who liked their work are prompted to read and talk and think about it again. Others (particularly culturally and historically illiterate millennials) learn about these artists for the first time, and maybe find their lives enriched a touch.

Why all the eye-rolling? I pity anyone whose mind and heart are too cramped to make room for a talented stranger’s songs and stories, or who arrogantly refuses to allow themselves to be even momentarily humbled by something like this.

Sure, the mourning gets goofy fast, between the stark naked narcissism and the earnest and unsightly fan art. (Interestingly, the talents of Bowie and Prince fans seem to be inversely proportional to those of the men they adore…) But for a couple of days, millions of individuals in our fragmented world share something. Sheesh.

Now: I”€™ve put off this next bit”€”actually paused, with my fingers hovering over the home keys”€”but having a deadline (pun unavoidable) means I can no longer avoid typing the following words:

So far this year, not a single famous person I really care about has died.

Blame my hesitation on my Deadly Keyboard of Doom, which, yes, I know, so far seems to harm only famous elderly novelists, the way sickle-cell anemia afflicts only blacks. But can any of us be certain that its lethal powers won”€™t mutate? Hell, the other, even more annoying Berrigan brother finally snuffed it while I was writing this.

Which brings me to my actual point:

No one I really wished would die has croaked, either. (I”€™m looking at you, Bono, and I”€™m not alone.)

So hey, here goes…

To spare American taxpayers the unnecessary expense of dispatching Secret Service agents over the border to knock on my door, I”€™ll put it this way:

Bernie Sanders is old.

More relevantly, Dilbert cartoonist”€“turned”€“all-purpose pundit Scott Adams says Hillary Clinton isn”€™t looking so hot either, because, er, hypnotism. (You have to read it.) Adams gives “€œClinton a 50% chance of making it to November with sufficiently good health to be considered a viable president.”€


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