All the really cool people are dead.

From April 1, 2005.

I don’t have cable tv.   Usually, when asked why, I’ll get all socially righteous and talk about how busy I am bettering the community, and that there’s no way my kids are going to spend hours in front of the tv when they could be reading the classics, or studying metaphysics or something.  The truth is, I just can’t afford it.    And aside from South Park, and the Sunday night HBO dramas, I really don’t miss it.   Besides, I have Netflix.

I love Netflix.   I can remember when pizza delivery first hit Nashville, and this is way better.  No store.  No late fees.  No ignorant people whining  about the latest Martin Lawrence movie not being in stock.  It’s beautiful.   And they’ve got a great selection of documentaries.   Last night, while watching VH1’s “Inside Out” chronicling the last days of Warren Zevon, it dawned on me:  All the really cool people are dead.

Now, I’ve always been a fan of Warren Zevon.  And I’m sure it says something about my psychological or emotional makeup or something, but I was probably more upset about his passing than I have been about certain of my own family.   Cool guy, great songwriter, inspiration to many, but dead.

My previous batch of DVD’s included “Lenny.”  Great film.  Hoffman was great.  I’d seen it before, but the cut-for-tv version just wasn’t the same.   I’m not sure I “get” Lenny Bruce, as I’m a little too young to fully appreciate his work, but I get the gist.   Lenny made it possible for guys that I do “get” to do their thing.  Guys like George Carlin and Richard Pryor.  Chris Rock even.  Lenny was cool, but he’s  dead.

Hunter S. Thompson.  Dead.   Jerry Garcia. Dead.   Johnny Carson.  Dead.   All cool.  All dead.   It’s frightening, isn’t it?

I’m not a scientist, but I figure to be fair, I have to consider the living cool, if there are any, to prove my hypothesis.   Let’s see.  Movie stars used to be cool, but that was before the days of political activism.  Alec Baldwin should shut the fuck up.  And what’s up with Sean Penn?  And what the hell happened to Mickey Rourke’s face?  What about rock stars?  Same problem.   Remember when Bono was just the singer for an obscure Irish band?   And Eddie Vetter was just another angry, flannel wearing singer from Seattle?  Hell, I can remember back when I just hated Barbara Streisand because my parents liked her.   The list goes on.

The main difference between the living and the dead, the one that really matters, is that dead people can’t run their mouths.  Dead people aren’t hypocritical.  Dead people could give a shit about politics.

All the really cool people are dead.

About the Author: Jon Carter Jackson

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