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Celebrity death pr0n

When I read headlines like this I want to scream and throw stuff:

The terror behind our grief: What we talk about when we talk about Robin Williams.

Because whenever I see "we" in the headline of a major media headline, it's almost always false. Whaddaya mean, "we"? But more than that:

Before there was Robin Williams, there was Phillip Seymour Hoffman (and for some reason, my sonically-organized memory threw up "Phillip Michael Jackson," which makes a lot of sense when you think about it). Sloppy sentimentality over celluloid heroes of no more significance than people who work every day, and if you want to hear what a Democrat used to sound like, listen to this:

Leadership must meet the moral challenge of its day. What's the moral challenge of our day? We have public accommodations. We have the right to vote. We have open housing. What's the fundamental challenge of our day? It is to end economic violence. Plant closings without notice -- economic violence. Even the greedy do not profit long from greed -- economic violence.

Most poor people are not lazy. They are not black. They are not brown. They are mostly White and female and young. But whether White, Black or Brown, a hungry baby's belly turned inside out is the same color -- color it pain; color it hurt; color it agony.

Most poor people are not on welfare. Some of them are illiterate and can't read the want-ad sections. And when they can, they can't find a job that matches the address. They work hard everyday.

I know. I live amongst them. I'm one of them. I know they work. I'm a witness. They catch the early bus. They work every day.

They raise other people's children. They work everyday.

They clean the streets. They work everyday. They drive dangerous cabs. They work everyday. They change the beds you slept in in these hotels last night and can't get a union contract. They work everyday.

No, no, they are not lazy! Someone must defend them because it's right, and they cannot speak for themselves. They work in hospitals. I know they do. They wipe the bodies of those who are sick with fever and pain. They empty their bedpans. They clean out their commodes. No job is beneath them, and yet when they get sick they cannot lie in the bed they made up every day. America, that is not right. We are a better Nation than that. We are a better Nation than that.

Now, my tastes, as they would be, are canonical, that is to say, bourgeois. I prefer Rembrandt to Millet; and Shakespeare to Miller. but when Miller said "attention must be paid," he was really on to something. There's no reason that the lives and struggles of Williams and Hoffman are in any way, in any way at all, more important or worthy than the lives of people who "take the early bus." Self-regarding "suck up, kick down" "creative" class assholes.

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paintedjaguar's picture
Submitted by paintedjaguar on

Didn't you mean to say "creative" class assholes? My rule of thumb is that anyone who actually thinks of themselves as "creative class" or a "knowledge worker" is almost surely an asswipe on the same level as the "job creators".

Submitted by lambert on

Quite right. Creative class, military intelligence, British cuisine.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi