Politically Incorrect Eulogy

In 1994 after Kurt Cobain killed himself, Andy Rooney went on a rant in a 60 Minutes piece lamenting the extent of lamenting being done over Kurt’s suicide.   Rooney suggested many people would like to be awarded the years Cobain threw away and then went on to excoriate young people for having it so easy.   “What would they have done if they had to endure real problems like The Depression or World War II?”   The topper came when Rooney mused, If Cobain used the same brain on his music he used in his drug infested life, his music probably didn’t make much sense either!

It’s not often I agree with Rooney, but this piece seemed reasonable to me.   In the end, however, like a good liberal, Rooney apologized, Perhaps I was unfair.

Last week when I found out Suzanne Pleshette passed away, I thought, bummer, she was hot in her day, and I enjoyed her comedic talent as a kid watching her on Bob Newhart’s show.   Even with the raspy voice she seemed like one of the family, humble, polite, and warm, and we certainly didn’t label her as the destructive sort of example which seems to permeate Hollywood culture today.  

Upon hearing of Heath Ledger’s death my immediate knee-jerk reaction was good riddance, there goes another spoiled Hollywood brat who came about success way too easily and threw it all away.  

I contemplated that for just a moment or two, and realized I wasn’t even sure who Heath Ledger was.   Other than knowing he was a young actor, I couldn’t picture his face or name a movie he’d been in.   A little research revealed he was nominated for an Oscar for Brokeback Mountain, and had a young daughter who would now grow up without a father because of his irresponsible lifestyle choices.

With the media inundating us with every celebrity transgression, and encouraging the debauchery which is destroying the moral character which has brought our country so far, it’s tough to get too teary-eyed over some young celebrity’s death (even though in reflection I might be just a bit apologetic for my initial sentiments about an unknown actor).  

There are guys who will work 60 or 70 hours a week in dangerous professions for the next thirty to forty years and not make as much money as Heath Ledger had by the tender age of 28.   While the Hollywood bunch mourns a voluntary drug-induced loss, some young woman and her children are praying their husband and father is recovered from a collapsed coal mine, alive.

The fact the Hollywood crowd has become so upset over this tragedy only makes it seem like poetic justice.   This tragedy has been constructed by Hollywood’s own hand and encouraged by a hedonistic culture that derides faith, an honest hard work.

When the most admired and reported upon people in American culture comprise, Paris-never worked a day in her life-Hilton, Lindsay-the drunk-Lohan, and Britney-prime candidate for next dead celebrity-Spears, and we subsequently get to witness our children fawn over these brilliant stars , it is unfortunately good to see the result of such lifestyles.

While moms and dads are doing the best they can to encourage responsibility and ingrain a good work ethic, the celebrity set in concert with our ignoble media does everything it can to ridicule our traditional values, chastise our efforts, and ingratiate our kids; as if our job wasn’t hard enough already.

When our kids ask us to get their tit pierced or their necked tattooed with a Japanese engraved saber because Angelina Jolie thinks it’s cool, as long as spoiled celebrities keep killing themselves, at least we can say, Do you think it’s cool to be dead by twenty-eight?

Owen Wilson tried to kill himself while he had a cushy job, lots of free time, fame, tons of dough, and every hot piece of poon tang that crossed his path wanted to nail him.

I guess I’d be depressed too.


Copyright 2008  Jim Pontillo

27 thoughts on “Politically Incorrect Eulogy

  1. hey…. heath ledger didnt kill himself… or even overdose. so what the hell are you talking about? everytime someone dies of natural causes and leaves young children behind, do you say “good riddance” because they led a better life than you?

  2. Ledger had mentioned in several interviews that he found it very difficult to get to sleep because his mind was always racing, and even sleeping pills didn’t help. The fact that he was found dead with an empty bottle of pills suggests to the rational person that he tried taking more hoping he would finally sleep, not knowing where his limit was.

    These are the same pills that many hardworking americans take because of stresses in their own lives, the same pills that kill thousands upon thousands of americans who do not understand them entirely and misuse them. It is not as you claim, a symptom of some infective Hollywood debauchery. Nor, as you suggest, can happiness be bought with fame, fortune and sex. Surprisingly, many people are unhappy in spite of their apparent success, and urprisingly, being a Hollywood star does not make one any less human.

  3. It’s fairly obvious that he died of an overdose of the prescription sleeping pills or the interaction of the sleeping pills and the anti-anxiety drugs. The Xanax is a very dangerous controlled drug. That is, the pharmacist has to account for every single pill that comes into his possession, and he must retain a special controlled drug form signed by the doctor to authorize the prescription. It’s quite probable that Xanax is going to be implicated in the toxicology report. I can sympathize with Ledger because I have a Circadian rhythm disorder which prevents me from have a normal healthy sleeping pattern. My internal clock thinks that the day is 26 hours long and my energy level peaks 1 hour before bed time. So instead of winding down and preparing for bed I am full of energy and looking for projects and work to accomplish. I’ve had many occurrences of my mind racing when I need to be sleeping. I end up sleep deprived. Many people have the same disorder I have and it sounds like Ledger might have had it too.

  4. Your opinion about our drugged out celebrity culture is right on the money. The young people in this country are being criminally mislead by the Hollywood scum and the media.

  5. WOW! I couldn’t agree with you more! My husband and I lead the teen youth group at our church and the kids just don’t get it. They want the tattoos, weird piercings.. I have over-developed 12 year old girls showing everything their momma gave them AT CHURCH! I don’t even want to know what they wear to school…

    A couple weeks ago one of our teen girls came to church in one of those “fcuk” sweaters and when we tried to explain to her how inappropriate it was she was so defensive and defiant that she wouldn’t speak to us for weeks! So we gave her mother a stern talking to!

    It’s an uphill battle with this generation. Let’s not give up on them!

  6. Ok may be he didn’t mean to kill him self, but anyone with with half a mind knows not to mix prescription drugs with out talking to a doctor.
    I work on the grave yard shift for 18 terrible months and couldn’t sleep. I talk to my doctor who prescribed sleeping pills and told me I could not have them and xanax. Both drugs are good alone not together. These are helpful but you have to use common sense. To many people think if a little is good a lots better and to much is just right.

  7. Tyler,

    Did you read the post? Someone should take the blame, the guy putting the pills in his mouth is a good place to start. Ledger is indicative of where our culture is right now…a large % of today’s “mental illnesses” are only labeled as such because the AMA has decided they are…remember this is the same group that judged homosexuality a mental illness up until 20 years ago. Problem being that everyone is a victim, it is no one’s fault, it society. The media is part of the speedy and constant delivery system that perpetuates these faux-hardships. Suck it up is about right…quit focusing on yourself for once, take less pills..concentrate on your child, put them ahead of you…sacrifice for others. Heath would have been amazed at how well he could sleep if he would focus on others.

  8. One man’s failure does not make him a sign of Hollywood depravity. Many people make the mistake of mixing prescription drugs; there is no reason to believe that Heath Ledger is any different from them.

    It is unfair to blame Ledger and hold him up as an effigy of Hollywood scandal when he suffered an honest mistake that anyone could have made. If there is someone to be blamed in Hollywood’s corrupting influence, it is the parapazzi media that inundates us with celebrities suffering everyday problems.

  9. A) The cause of death has still yet to be determined, so claiming it was suicide as opposed to simply a mistake is just faulty information.

    B) Regardless of the cause of death, for you to be actively happy about the death of another human being says something about you as a person. Perhaps you should think long and hard about yourself before you make judgments about other people.

  10. Jes,

    This article is and indictment of Hollywood culture. No where does it insinuate or clarify my happiness over another’s death. It even suggested I ought to be apologetic for my initial feelings about Mr. Ledger.

    All that aside, us parents still have the responsibility to protect our children from a decadent and destructive lifestyle, the consequences of which can be illuminated to demonstrate to those young brains full of mush how they might end up by following the wrong path.

    The problem with the left is, you are incapable of disconnecting your emotion and logically analyzing costs for irresponsible behavior, accidental or not. The fact that you do so explains how disastrous policy implementations have devastated the very communities liberals proclaim to protect.

  11. I long for the Hollywood of the 50’s when stars were really stars – Clark Gable, Randolph Scott, Spencer Tracy, et al. these new Hollywood stars, with few exceptions, have been spoiled by multi-million dollar movie deals and ridiculous perks, like JLo’s obsession for all white dressing rooms. I suppose the only real stars left are Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds and a few others. Fame can be a bitch.

  12. Jim – Please explain, if you can, why Liberals are blamed for what the media focuses on as “news?”
    It is my impression that most of these news conglomerates are owned by Conservatives who value the “bottom line” and profits. Thus they focus on these stars and their behavior, and use them to sell magazines, newspapers and TV viewership. I call it the Dumbing of the American Populace, but Wall Street knows what the public will feed on. Isn’t Murdoch a Conservative? But what do his media holdings focus on as “news?” I just can’t figure out how Liberals are responsible for what these media conglomerates are pushing. Please explain. Thank you.

  13. Midge,

    Anytime we hear some sort of clarification lament the “bottom line” we know we are dealing with a very immature analysis. Without a black bottom line, people lose jobs, no taxes flow to government, products stop rolling off assembly lines, power companies shut off electricity, and banks repossess property.

    As for Fox News which is continually lambasted for being “unbalanced” and “unfair”. It is the only television news outlet that leans even slightly right. A recent study showed that 80% of Fox employees donate to the Democratic Party, by the way.

    CBS, NBC, and ABC are flat out partisan left wing organizations, which misrepresent and lie about conservative values and conservative positions. Whether Murdoch is conservative or not, I cannot tell you.

    The left has propagandized “conservative” to portray the term an insult; however few on the left even know what conservatism really is. (Read my post #54.)

    The American populace has been “dumbed down” without a doubt; however, it is not because of conservative influence, it is because much of our populace has been mesmerized by left wing demagogues who’ve keyed into their emotions.

    Finally, I don’t know that liberals are responsible for all of the crap the media feeds us, I only know that liberals are responsible for promoting socialist policy contrary to the free-enterprise system which we used to conquer the Soviet Union; now embraced by America it will conquer us.

    The greatest complement Barack Obama has received is that he has promised to raise taxes. You don’t find that disgusting?

    Not if you’re a liberal.

  14. The suggestion of an apology is not itself an apology–it is a cop-out.

    Whether or not the bulk of Fox’s employees are Democrats is irrelevant, as long as the editors and executives, who control the content, are not.

    Since 9/11, I have seen ABC, NBC, CNN etc become consistently more conservative, following the Fox model [as Fox is still the most popular cable news network and much more influential now]. Nowhere do I hear partisanship as an insult more frequently than on Fox News, where dominating personalities such as Bill O’Reilly constantly use lieberal deathocrat and emotion to drive their points home, ignoring the complexity of reality in favour of inflammatory rhetoric.

    Liberal socialism is not Stalinism, and to say that it is is a dishonest appeal to emotion. Socialism is geared towards the benefit of all, not the totalitarian domination of all. Western Europe and Canada are far more socialist than America, and yet have not fallen into dictatorship or command economies. There are even studies out of Scandinavia that show that extensive socialist programs geared towards the middle class’ benefit [health care etc] benefit the quality of life of the whole nation, by making a middle class life easier to achieve and maintain. Socialist democracies function as a tax-funded insurance firm.

    Raising taxes after a period of what many see as frivolous, unfair tax cuts that benefit the wealthy while driving the government into debt and endangering the lower classes’ social safety net can be a good thing without being communist.

  15. I don’t get it. The older generations ostensibly work very hard to make the world a better place for the younger generation. And then when the next generation does end up enjoying a better world, we’re called brats? Young people have only been alive a few precious years; of course we haven’t experienced the hardship the older generation has. Did you want us to?

    The problem with both your and Andy Rooney’s attitude is that you do not seem to respect the sanctity of human life by honoring them in death. Kurt Cobain and Heath Ledger were not genocidal dictators, they were human beings who made mistakes. Are you saying they deserved to die for those mistakes? They didn’t deserve it any more than you do — he who has not sinned may cast the first stone.

    I totally agree with you that pop culture today is raising up the wrong things as being “good,” but that has happened before and we survived. Remember the Jazz and Gilded Ages? Ever read The Great Gatsby? It was arguably even worse then than it is now, and that period was followed by the Depression, WWII, and then the clean-cut fifties that now seem so revered. The fifties are ironically also the decade in which that debauched music called “rock and roll” was born, which eventually led to the likes of Kurt Cobain. Every generation seems more debauched than the last, because teenagers always gravitate towards the extremes in their rebellion and it looks to the grown ups like they’re going to the dogs. But then they grow up, just like you and I did. And the ones with a good head on their shoulders (thanks to good parenting) go on to be good people who might make mistakes but are still good people. And then they’ll complain about how their kids are crazy.

    I believe America is heading for a wake-up call in the near future, and I believe there are enough “good” kids out there who were raised with principles to be able to take it on and allow us to come out alive on the other end. Here’s to hoping.

  16. well i read all respones to the article in a way i think who can argue with all of it. it seems you all agree basically where we are headed as a society with slightly varied views. we all have different opinions. children need pinished for mesbheaving they also need proper guidance. maybe the only difference in ayoung celebritys mistakes and other peoples children is its not piblicly boradcats if my son or daughter does things he or she should not. evrything will be ok in the end. i wake up everday andthank god i still have a life to live it is too short of a life to argue with the entire world and be miserable worrying about things i can tcontrol.

  17. Remember who else has killed themselves that belonged to older generations: Freud with morphine; Jack London with morphine; Hunter S. Thompson with a gun; van Gogh with a gun; and Hemingway, who, like Cobain, took a shotgun shell in the mouth because success does not cure depression.

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  19. In response to a previous comment by “Crumbunist” . . . “Liberal” socialism may not be Stalinist . . . at its present stage . . . but it sets a foundation for an increasing centralization of power into the hands of the national bureaucracy. That is where the danger to liberty lies. Those who would erode our sphere of personal sovereignty over our own lives and resources always claim to do so “for the greater good, for the Masses, for the Poor, for the Deranged, for the Disadvantaged, for the ‘Victims’ of society” . . . . even if that society has previously provided them with a great deal of personal liberty and freedom of choice . . . . which so many of the irresponsible have squandered.
    The governments of Europe and Canada are far more bureaucratic than even the federal government of the U.S.A. Even those which are considered democratically elected impose regulations on the personal choices of their citizens which most people in this country, including liberals, would consider claustrophobic and draconian. In the Netherlands, a citizen even has to get permission from their local government just to move to a different residence! If you love Big Brother, you will love those rules. In my, admittedly, mis-spent youth, I was a Trotskyist. I can speak from personal experience about bureaucracy and the “do-gooder” mentality. Every authoritarian, or totalitarian, regime throughout history has attempted to create some kind of government-supplied patronage system, in order to buy the loyalty of its citizens, or at least the loyalty of enough of the ARMED ones necessary to maintain its own survival. As Machiavelli said, free people seldom lose their liberties overnight. Those liberties are stolen, incrementally, under the guise of “protection” and economic “benefits”.

  20. In response to Machiavelli: It appears the Bush administration has already gone farther than even the most liberal presidents in destroying liberty.

    Totalitarianism comes on both sides of the political perspective. Social democrats, unlike Stalinists, seek a government limited in its powers, but enabled to care for the people. Enabling a soialist police state is counter to the goals of any decent social democrat.

    It is also unfair to refer to that Netherlands tidbit without any context. If I would be to say that most Germans only rent their homes, it would imply that they are poor [possibly because of high taxes and social programs?] when in fact the real reason is much more benign.

    Furthermore the definition of liberalism is to have liberty, i.e. from unfair government rule. A liberal cannot be a totalitarian.

  21. Let me just start by saying this is my first time visiting the site, and I’m really impressed.

    Heath Ledger might not be the best example of the detrimental effects that Hollywood has on America, though there’s no denying that those effects are there.

    I say this not out of any personal affinity for the man or his work, but simply because there isn’t enough concrete information about the circumstances surrounding his death; too much of it can be left to interpretation, and interpretation is never based solely on fact.

    Also, we can’t blame Hollywood entirely for shitty kids. Though a good part of our time is engrossed by the media, there’s plenty of parents sucking at parenting (i.e. the Hilton, Lohan, Spears families). A major part of the problem is that adults are increasingly becoming involved with the same trivial pursuits of celebrity-stalking that they’re supposed to be steering their kids away from.

  22. “Trivial pursuits” should have been “trivial pursuit”. I’m sorry…I’m not big on proof-reading.

  23. please, man, people have been killing themselves for ages. not only famous people. people may be famous for a variety of retarded shit, but those people you mentioned (Kurt Cobain and Heath Ledger) were pretty good artists by my book, and, not to sound totally type-casting, but talented artist often are more in touch with their dark side.
    Now, HL didn’t kill himself, so let’s overlook the fact that you talked about him in your blog. Accidents happen all the time with sleep medication, unintentional overdoses are possible, and let’s not be too arrogant as to say that only famous people do and die from drugs.
    Kurt, on the other hand, was a pretty fucked up, yet brilliant individual. I don’t think he meant to be depressed, and I don’t think he wanted to leave his 2 year old behind, but man, you gotta understand, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, and if that’s to off yourself, oh well. Famous people are not, contrary to public opinion, responsible for what other people make of their actions. Imagine the pressure.
    Please get your facts straight both about overdose/suicide statistics (now and in history) and depression in overly-sensitive people.

  24. Pretty sure Heath Ledger died of not paying proper attention to side effects of medication, rather than an overdose of any “fun” or recreational sort. If you can contradict that factually feel free to.

    As for Kurt Cobain, yep, fairly incoherent, fairly idiotic politically, but a reasonably talented musician. Definitely not a Role Model for me in his death, that’s for sure.

    Not sure what all this extends to with regard to Angelina Jolie, nipple piercings or neck tattoos exactly. But I suppose you are appealing to the conservative ideal of an universally appealing and uniform society, which I’m afraid to tell you never existed. We as a nation have always been wildly individualistic and in my opinion should remain so. Keep parental rights where parental rights belong, in the home and not regulated by or interfered with by the State and we’ll all do fine. My proof? Our existence as a species as a people before we ever even conjured a government to rule us.

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