27 June 2009

The Icons are Dead! Long Live the Icons!

I'll join the chorus of voices lamenting the loss of Farrah Fawcett (and my youth). Every generation conspires with the media to create a fertility goddess. Given that my generation may have been the last to make any real attempt to sublimate teen sexuality into something other than actual sex, the importance of Farrah Fawcett will be hard for the current (and future) generation(s) to fully appreciate.

For her critics who allege that her major claim to fame came from inspiring millions of high school yearbook photos, I will agree. But I don't think that this is a trivial feat. I think it was amazing.

I used to be disdainful of fashion but I now see it as the most fascinating form of art. It is one thing to shape clay or canvas or marble into something aesthetic. It is quite another to shape the public. Fashion has to use the mind first and then the form, whereas all other types of art create a shape or form first and then try to impact the mind. Fashion has to recruit volunteers who will be the canvas for the artist’s vision. And Farrah – for a few years and probably like no one since – was the inspiration for a very distinctive look. I can’t help but admire what she did. Plus, when her iconic poster came out I was 15 and that image seemed to me the epitome of beauty.

Poor Farrah was given only 15 minutes of eulogy, having the misfortune of dying just before Michael Jackson. In the roughly two hours between when I boarded the plane and then landed in Chicago, TV broadcasts seemed to have gone from non-stop coverage of Farrah's life and death to non-stop coverage of Michael Jackson's.

Michael Jackson - just a couple of years older than me - was actually the first celebrity to make me feel inadequate. I remember realizing how talented he was (even at 8 he had a great voice) and feeling woefully less as a person, me the child who had already dropped out of piano lessons, having abandoned a career in music about the time I began first grade, putting me in stark contrast with Michael.

I do think that a Michael Jackson tribute concert featuring only people named Michael Jackson would be interesting to watch. In that vein, here is a bit from the BBC from years ago, a reminder that Jackson will be hard to replace.


Gypsy at Heart said...

Did you really disdain fashion Ron? I would never have imagined it possible. You strike me (after all I've read that you've written) as the kind of keen observer who always manages to find the worthwhile element which all things have even if sometimes we have to dig deep to get to it. Fashion being more worthwhile than most and to boot, quite visible surface-wise.

On another note, I too feel sorry for Farrah. Completely overshadowed now by Mr. Jackson. As a silent tribute I have Googled her several times since learning of her death (none for Michael) in an effort to add my bit in maintaining her newsworthiness. Why? It's a can-do matter really. I never learned how to moonwalk worth a darn but I sure could manage that flippy hairdo of hers!

May whatever place they've gone to be a better place for each.

David said...

I think I agree with you Ron but I'm too busy watching the Carl's Jr. burger girl on the beach. FF never looked like that.

Big Al said...


Agree with you on the Carl's Jr. burger girl on the beach. And I HAVE to believe Carl's Jr. folks know full well the double meaning shen the girl says, "I call it my bikini burger". Yikes!

RoseInBloom said...

I also would love to see "a Michael Jackson tribute concert featuring only people named Michael Jackson". What do you reckon we won't have to wait long?

RoseInBloom said...

Also, the treadmill idea was brilliant. Do you think OKGO saw this and spawned the idea for "Here it goes again"? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pv5zWaTEVkI