This is really a few observations more than anything else. When I was listening to National Public Radio’s morning fake news program (called: “Morning Edition“) yesterday, in the stretch of 15 minutes I heard no fewer than four mentions/promos/stories/features on David Bowie’s passing at the age of 69 from cancer.
David Bowie was a pop music performer who spent the vast majority of his time cultivating and projecting a certain image — kind of an androgynous, effeminate, vaguely gay, flamboyant bon vivant — all of which way overwhelmed his musical offerings.
Now, I’m sorry he’s gone, truly I am. And this is nothing whatsoever against David Bowie. In fact, I rather liked “A Space Oddity.” He seems in later life to have grown up and to have found happiness in the arms of supermodel Iman. Good for him!
Furthermore, I wish no one ill at all (except for a bunch of gibbering baboons called “ISIS.” They can go straight to hell). And I understand that Mr. Bowie hid the fact that he had been suffering from cancer for some time. I find that very sad, but that seems to be the way he wanted it.
But, still and all, it was only David Bowie. I mean, it’s not as if it were someone really important in the international scheme of things(1). He was a pop star for crying out loud!
Yesterday evening, the local NPR affiliate re-ran an afternoon show — called “The Colin McEnroe Show” — on which the host, Colin McEnroe, and a couple of guests unburdened themselves of just the stupidest, most moronic, pompous, load of specious windbaggery about the now-departed Mr. Bowie that I think I’ve ever heard on the radio.
It was all full of The greatest recording ever this and utterly transformative that and transcendant vibrancy the other thing. The two guests and the host harrumphed and declaimed and discoursed on and on and on, each tripping all over himself to demonstrate that he was at least as wise and insightful and deep as — if not wiser, more insightful, deeper than — the others, about things like “Ziggy Stardust,” and “Space Oddity,” and “Fame,” and whatever — the output of a freakin’ pop star for cryin’ out loud!
I understand that David Bowie was the founder, or inventor, or the most famous performer, of something called “glam rock” Whoo hoo! That‘ll replace Mozart’s output in the Pantheon of Musical Greatness, I’m sure!
As far as I can tell, David Bowie did nothing whatsoever artistically or culturally that’ll be remembered in the next 20 years, or even the next 10 years, except by aging fans — like the pompous blowhards on The Colin McEnroe Show — who like to sound important, deep, and oh-so-intellectual.
Unfortunately for Mr. Bowie, he will get, despite all the celebrity his recent passing accorded to him, only one more go-round at fame and celebrity status: in all those “Celebrities We Lost in 2016” shows and magazine articles at the end of this year.
Come to think of it, David Bowie, a man who did and said nothing of any real artistic or cultural consequence — and did and said it at great length — is the perfect symbol for NPR. Maybe that’s why they’ve spent so much time and energy on such an inconsequential figure.
(1) – As opposed to the Christian view of people, to which I subscribe wholeheartedly: Everyone is just as important as everyone else in the eyes of God.
However, in the eyes of history and the arts and culture, let’s face it, David Bowie was just not important. At all.