Where once there seemed to be a bright, shining future now all seems dark. This past week has been one of an inordinate amount of bad, sad, gloomy news.
First three icons have died. Dick Clark’s death was the first announced. American Bandstand lives in such fond memories of my childhood. Not all of the new dances those kids in Philadelphia introduced on the show were all that easy for me to pick up. My father, on the other hand, was a great dancer. Not in the professional sense, but when he and my mother were young they used to go dancing to all of the Big Bands before “the War”, which was WWII. I remember my dad teaching me how to do the stroll. And then there were all of the stars Dick Clark brought on the show. I fell head over heels in love with Frankie Avalon, Fabian and my personal favorite, James Darren. Yeah, I really loved those Italian boys. SWOON!
Next was Levon Helm, drummer and singer for The Band. I really wasn’t a big fan of The Band, although I liked several of their most popular songs. Way back when, I had purchased their Rock of Ages album. I played it once and never played it again. A few years ago I gave it to a young friend, who is a Bob Dylan devotee (not my taste) because I figured she would enjoy it.
And then yesterday the death of Jonathan Frid was announced. My mom always said, “they come in threes” when a celebrity death was first announced. True? I don’t know. When you are looking for a pattern, you usually notice one. Dark Shadows, after so many years, is back in the news because of the impending premiere of the Johnny Depp/Tim Burton movie release. It is a remake of the late 60s, early 70s afternoon ABC Gothic soap opera of my youth. I was mad crazy for Jonathan Frid’s vampire, Barnabas Collins. Dark, brooding, troubled, sensitive and sad – what young girl wouldn’t fall in love? If you read any of the tributes on the web or in the newspapers, apparently LOTS of young girls did fall in love with Frid/Barnabas and carried that flaming torch throughout their lives. While it hadn’t occurred to me before reading the posts, many suggested that the character of Barnabas Collins ushered in a new type of vampire, leading the way for Louis from Interview With the Vampire, Angel (oh,my) of Buffy The Vampire Slayer (personally I’m a Spike aficionado) and Edward Cullen of The Twilight series. I think the authors are correct. Jonathan Frid’s portrayal of the vampire Barnabas Collins was a new perspective on the age old monsters that previously had only terrified us. They became romantic figures.
Adding to these sad reports, April 20th was the second anniversary of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Contrary to Oh, Happy Day! Commercials on TV, all is far from well in the Gulf of Mexico and the states which border it. The dolphin and turtle deaths on the coasts have seen record numbers. The nesting sites of most sea birds are either in decline or absent. Deformed shrimp, fish and crabs are being caught in the Gulf waters. The people aren’t doing well either, experiencing many health problems. To read a compilation of the many stories, check out this link: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/04/guest-post-the-gulf-ecosystem-is-being-decimated.html
As if that wasn’t enough to drag me to the depths over concern over the very survival of our planet and amazing wildlife who share it with us, I listened to Science Friday on Talk of the Nation. You can listen to it here: http://www.npr.org/2012/04/20/151047262/exploring-the-deepest-darkest-spots-on-earth Hope, maybe. Optimism, not much.
The final thing that brought me to full fledged tears this morning was totally unexpected. I went on an Amazon buying spree about 2 weeks ago after listening to Terry Gross’ interview with Carole King (give it a listen here:
Earth Day, the 42nd anniversary, is April 22nd. Has ANYONE been listening? Right now, it certainly doesn’t seem like it. It isn't just about US or our needs and our greed - it is about ALL life on Earth.
The future is up to you and me.