I was listening to Joe’s Garage by Frank Zappa while driving to work today. I always get sad and wistful while listening to Zappa, since he was struck down by the big C way too soon, no two ways about it. But I got to thinking, too, that there aren’t too many other famous dead people who I get sad and wistful thinking about, since I’m not much of a fan kinda guy, in the cult of personality sense of the word “fan.”
I mean, I have absolutely zero emotional reaction when I think about Princess Diana’s untimely death, as an example. Intellectually, I know I should mourn John Lennon’s terrible, terrible passing–but I don’t really feel it, not the way I do about Zappa, anyway. Which is weird, because I actually like Lennon’s music more than Zappa’s music, so it can’t be anything linked to their bodies of work. Maybe it’s knowing that Lennon’s passing was fairly quick (although no doubt excruciatingly painful), while Zappa suffered for quite some time with his cancer, leaving some really haunting photos near the end, where you can see the pain (or maybe it’s fear) in his eyes.
Anyway, no logic to emotions, I guess. But I tried to think of other famous, living people who I think I will feel real, legimitate, non-intellectualized sadness about when I hear they’re gone–and I could only think of two: Muhammad Ali and Robert Wyatt. One taught me racism was bad. One taught me not to eat animals. Such is the nature of heroes.