“OH FOR F*CKS SAKE!”
Christmas Day. A notice from Reuters: George Michael had died.
Any other year I would have shrugged. We have lost many icons over the years. What makes 2016 so special?
For me, the issue is that we lost so many people who lived to up to the name “icon”. Leonard Cohen was an old man. But to start the year with Bowie and Prince? It was like getting hit upside the head with a baseball bat. And then it just went on and on – innovator after innovator. People who created things, questioned things, flew things, and developed things.
People who, most importantly, DID things.
Worse, there is there is no one out there who can truly be great. Great enough, as Mohamed Ali was, to admit to his own failings. Great enough, as television journalist Gwen Ifill was, to command respect. Period. And great enough, as Zsa Zsa was – yes, Zsa Zsa – to just be, and do it with elegance and class. She was no actress but she was a entertainer – a fact that many overlook.
Ultimately I think there is a feeling – pushed forward by Brexit, president-elect Trump, and general unrest in countries worldwide – that we are doomed and there is no one to stand up against the tyranny of mediocrity.
Which brings us to George Michael, who had a hard time of it, as did many performers of the 80s. He is part of my time, my teenage history.
It is easy to wallow in nostalgia. Easier still when you consider that there is seemingly no one left to take up the torch. Tony Bennett is still mourning for Amy Winehouse. Political leadership? Feh. Scientists are being silenced everywhere.
But strangely it is George Michael (born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou) who leaves us with a message, a means for us to cope. We have to go forward, everyone. We must because there is too much at stake. We can learn from the past but we can’t wallow in it.
Listen to George.