Thursday, June 4, 2009

Farewell Monstrosity

There was one affecting story I read yesterday, one humorous story, and one odd story. All involving a a leave taking of sorts, and all giving pause to think.

The first story is David Carradine. Mr. Carradine, the star of Kill Bill, Kung Fu, and Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, has apparently hanged himself in his Bangkok hotel room. He was 72 years old, and in the midst of shooting a movie. His passing is sad in that in being such an iconic figure, his presence in a show or a film was always a cause for comment. What was strange about the situation is that here was a man who was not only successful and long lived, but had beaten a substance abuse problem, had managed to resurrect his career, and was actively working - at 72 years old.

In the movie The Shawshank Redemption, there is a scene where an old prison inmate named Bird, set free at last, finds he cannot cope with the outside world. He was only able function within the walls of the prison, and sent into the terrifying milieu of the outside world, at a late stage in life, with n o family or friends to look to, he hangs himself. Later, when the character Red ends up in Bird's room, there is a moment were it looks like he is considering following in Bird's footsteps, but chooses life instead.

David Carradine, to my eyes, was like Red, in that he had a great deal to look forward to, and at that stage in life, you would think that the malaise and ennui of youth had long ago passed. Perhaps in the weeks to come we will learn that, like with David Foster Wallace, there were issues of depression or mental instability.

The humorous story of note regarded the death and rebirth of perhaps the most vulgar symbol of extravagant waste ever to roll across the earth - Hummer yet lives.

In order to save itself, GM nixed the Hummer brand as a cost saving measure, and for a while here in Dubai, there was some speculation as to where all the young men around these parts with more money than sense would go to buy such a useless monstrosity of a vehicle, whose only purpose ever was, and ever would, to show just how big and swinging your junk was as you pulled up to the club on a Thursday night.

It turns out that Hummer is being bought by a Chinese company. Considering the terrible safety and manufacturing standards of every single Chinese automaker in existence, unless Hummer is still going to be produced in the US by the current production staff, as Lenovo did with IBM notebooks, there is a good chance that the four wheeled Goliath of private cars will soon be no more than an over-sized Tin Man, just ripe to be torn apart by a passing Tata Nano.

The last story that caught my eye, mostly for the irony inherent in the it, was that the founder of the Cirque du Soliel, the man who taught the earthbound that it was possible to defy gravity, has decided to head into space as Canada's first space tourist. Not that the $30 million price tag will dent his $2.5 billion fortune. But it is still odd that for someone who achieved so much, there was yet this decades old dream, sitting by the wayside, waiting for him to pick it up and pursue it once more, after all those years.

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