Saturday, December 30, 2006

Observing high-profile deaths

The United States and the world have witnessed various observances of the deaths of three famous and infamous men in the past couple days. I just think the reaction to the passing of James Brown and Gerald Ford and the execution of Saddam Hussein are fascinating.

Brown's death brought out some of music's biggest stars sporting their best moves, and Ford's meant continent-wide preparations for his body to lie in state. Saddam's brought pre-hanging taunts from foes and parades from supporters. (Check out the links for more.)

I think the very manner in which each was memorialized or killed also shows something -- that we all live on the same ball but in very different worlds. I'd like to see what feelings for each man overlap in those worlds. Did anyone who lowered their American flag to half-staff for Ford also smile as they recounted the lyrics of "Papa's Gotta Brand New Bag?" And did they secretly wish to see Saddam dangling from that rope, too?

Whatever you feel about these men, each has left a mark: one as a stutter-stepping legend with a lengthy arrest record, another as the unelected leader of a world superpower who pardoned Nixon, and still another as a modern Hitler who used to have the favor of the U.S. government.

We won't be forgetting any of them soon.

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