Saturday, July 11, 2015

Tweet on twits

  Roger Rees died yesterday. A British actor most people know from his work on Cheers or The West Wing.
  When I was 13, he played the lead in Nicholas Nickleby, the 8 1/2 hour extravaganza that brought intelligent spectacle back to Broadway, saved the RSC, and convinced a generation of playwrights they didn't need to press delete. He made a teenager wonder what all the noise was about, this acting thing. This theater stuff.
  He was remarkable. He shone, and his voice was a thing you sat back and closed your eyes to.
  He won Tonys, he won Oliviers, he was a star of the stage.
  But this morning when I read about his death, a day losing Omar Sharif, the first thing I saw in the paper were all the tweets. You could check up on who sent a note memorializing his life. There, before the obits, before the summation of a 40 year career, were little links to the three sentences some other celebrity thought to tick off as they were walking to set.
   And I thought, What the fuck have we become?
  A guy dies. A giant in his particular art form. A campaigner for human rights and what's first thing on offer from one of the world's foremost publications? What do people go to?
   Three grammer free burps from the producer of Cats. Words to make the words "sound bite" seem like a meal.
   What do we want these days in America?
   What do we get?
   What we deserve.
   140 characters and a mule.
   Please let me show my deep concern, my love and praise, let the first thing that the family members of an old friend hear from me be found in.....a tweet. Let me advertise my appreciation. Let me show my followers (Glory be to God for that Guyanan slip up, for that Mormon, Scientologist phraseology finding its way to Twitterdom) let me show them that I care. Let me advertise empathy.
  Publicizing your business, your latest painting, what play you went to, what joint makes the best pulled pork, where you like to shit when you go to the airport, great, feel free, it's all sort of absurd and in its American accumulative madness sort of something Whitman might have enjoyed playing with but when it comes to people fucking dying, keeling over from disease as we're all going to do one day or drowning in Korean ferry disasters, burning in a hotel in Vietnam, wiped out in a train wreck etc etc etc what pieces of your soul are you crunching up in your hands like a dried leaf every time you tweet things like "Sure sorry to see him go. True gent. Luv to his family."
   The Sioux weren't far wrong every time they refused to be photographed. We should keep their  "primitive prejudice" in mind. Part of you goes with every choice you make giving yourself away. Handing over what matters when there's apparently no pain to the process, when it seems so simple, just the press of a button. Send. Fire. Boom.
   Oh it's not such a big deal. It's so minor. It's just fun. So silly to rail on about such silly stuff.
   Yeah. Fill your days, your waking minutes, hour after hour, date after date, next to your kids playing on their i pads, next to your lover who's reached to check a text, tap on with all the media errands you can find and tell me the next time you can write a decent sentence, carry a tune, find the time to write a letter telling someone who actually mattered to you that they mattered.
   Death by a Thousand Cuts is now Death By a Thousand Apps.
   Cause we can have

 "Alone with his longing
he lays down on his bed and sings a lament;
everything seems too large, the steadings and the fields."

and we can have

"Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man."

and we can have

"He was my North, my South, my East, my West
My working week and my Sunday best
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong"

or we can have

RIP #RogerRees - a lovely, generous &  kind man & an heroic & passionate actor. We all fell in love with him in #NicholasNickleby  so sad

so fucking # sad indeed. 



  1. It's sad when anyone dies. Especially when their life leaves a mark on you. I hope all those who knew and loved those we have lost holds they're memories high and remember, they did not leave this world empty handed, but in the end have us a little more sunshine in the lives they touched.

    1. Gave, not have.. Damn autocorrect on Damn phone. Sorry

  2. As i read this over and over, i think of the World War II widow and her box of love letters, the 13 year old from 1987 receiving her first love letter or the grandmother in Ireland receiving a letter from her Leechburg PA granddaughter. Do we not show sentiment in print or a call? Admittingly, in a fast paced ( in my misguided eyes ) world, i have been guilty of arrogantly showing emotion to another person or event through text, tweet or facebook. It is no wonder love is not discoverable, easily disposed or quickly given up upon. I take back my emotions today. 2015 instinct was for me to text my best friend to tell her she mattered. I will calm her instead. Your honest and real writing of this means a lot. My apologies for this response being in a blog.

  3. Death is not an easy thing to deal with. My brother passed away very suddenly 5 years ago, and I am still unable to express my grief through words.

    People use Twitter for whatever they choose it is for them. Some suet bitch and complain or to slander, others use it for connecting, some people use it for another way to obtain news information from other sources other than their local media.

    I am sorry to hear about your loss.

    This is a poem my dad chose for my brothers funeral. It has helped me through some very dark days.

    Do not stand at my grave and weep
    I am not there; I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow,
    I am the diamond glints on snow,
    I am the sun on ripened grain,
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you awaken in the morning's hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry,
    I am not there; I did not die.

    Family Friend Poems

  4. Hello David,

    You are so true, people do not care, and if they do, sometimes it does not seem like that.
    I do know and like the poem very much, but I do not agree that love ends, it does not: it is in our hearts and that bond will never be cut, it will stay on through eternity.
    Take care,

  5. A life, well and creatively lived, reduced to a hashtag— post, comment and move on....Am saddened to read this, but want to believe that death is not the end, particularly when the life can echo and be revisited, as it can in the passing of this man.

  6. I, too, remember and loved his Nicholas Nickleby. His TV work didn't register with me. I will always think of him as a brilliant star of the British stage.

  7. Twitter, the death of social decency, spawning a society of people that are tl;dr because they can only compute 140 characters at a time. That's their limit. Anything more is too much for their concentration or, more likely, their concern. People clamoring for their 15 minutes. Celebrities trying to keep it. Nothing about it feels genuine. I tried to follow it several times but each time it left me feeling empty. At first I thought it was me but then I realized it was that there was no real connection. No real care or concern. It's like high school where the popular kids say hi to people they don't know or care about simply to maintain their popularity. That's what twitter reeks of. The illusion of connection and people who are starving for it will gobble it up not realizing there is nothing fulfilling about it. It's like eating dirt. Not a meal but if you are in pain from hunger, it will at least quell the awful sensation for a bit.

    It's right up there with facebook, another chink in the armor of humanity. A billion friends none of which you really know or engage with authentically. After all, how authentic can you be in posts that are a few paragraphs at most. That was the beginning of the end. Less contact. Less genuine. Less actual connection. Less is more, right? More ways to spread yourself everywhere and hope something gets through to someone, but in a world where people don't make the time for each other, it falls short as anyone with half a wit knew it would. And if you unfriend someone, if you try to keep your friend list small so you can truly engage with those you are truly close to then the ones you remove take it very personally yet they barely knew you. Rejection hurts more deeply when people are starving for attention, for popularity, for something to fill the void or allow them to feel cared about.

    The illusion of connection. That's all it is. Cell phones were its predecessor. We all must be connected, reachable, right now. God forbid people turn their phones off and be fully immersed in what they are doing, mindful in the moment rather than scattered for the sake of multi-tasking. And the kicker is these conversations that are oh so important to have are rarely quality, rarely in depth. It's all part of the disjointed world we live in.

    I find it interesting that as cell phones became commonplace so did reality shows. I'm certain there's a correlation. Less quality communication leading to more people in desperate need of attention and seeking their 15 minutes in its place. Most people need some level of attention. As independent and self-sufficient as we would like to imagine ourselves to be, any one of us would start talking to a volleyball if left alone for too long. But we aren't on deserted islands, not literally anyway. So these morsels are what we thrive on. And for some, celebrities in particular, it is how they extend their 15 minutes. God forbid they just work and allow that to speak for them.

    I find myself viewing those that are part of the twitter mentality rather suspiciously. It feels like it's just another form of self-promotion and they are just the popular kids in high school doing the politically correct thing to maintain their popularity.

    Hence the # sad state of society - omnipresent. Omniabsent. Omniempty. Such a shame.

    1. Absolutely agree with your reflexion, all your reflexion!
      Very intelligent post!

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