Sent to Post-Crescent June 28, 2009.
Observers have stated that if America has any culture at all, it is pop culture. Our actors and musicians are Europe’s VanGogh and Michaelangelo. Therefore, it would be no stretch of logic to conclude that included under the umbrella of patriotism is a respect for our American celebrities.
Recently, a man who was the “king” of his field passed, an entertainer whose antics were a “thriller” for America and much of the world. He was struck down in what should have been the prime of his life, at age fifty. Cynics would say his best work had already been seen years ago, but fans — and there are millions — eagerly awaited his next video.
If the true success of a celebrity can be measured by the attention and scorn shown by the American public — and remember that there’s no such thing as bad publicity — then this giant was among the greatest success stories, having risen from being one of many in his family to stand out as the ultimate symbol. Internet videos lampooning his distinctive voice and appearance are difficult to avoid, especially now in the wake of his passing.
I ask that everyone who has love for their country to have a moment of silence if you haven’t already for the man who changed the way we thought about entertainment. Rest in peace, Billy Mays, my sweet angel.