Sunday, August 01, 2010

People I'm Allowed to Mourn

I've always been a bit bothered by the obituaries many bloggers write, primarily because they often seem to end up being more about the blogger than the deceased. ("I will now explain all the wonderful ways my life changed due to X, who has sadly passed). That's usually why my comments on people's deaths on this blog have been brief and to the point. As Erik can tell you, I'm a wordy bastard, and if I don't keep it brief, it will turn into an obnoxious exercise in narcissism (or at least even more obnoxious than the usual narcissism of blogging).
Fortunately, I recently came along SEK's "List of people whose deaths I'm allowed to mourn." Rather than using anybody's death of somebody you've heard of or had minimal exposure to (and turning said death into another exercise in navel-gazing), he narrowed down the artists (musicians, television/movie personalities, authors) who he can safely say have played a major role in forming who he is as a person.

And so, instead of getting into a long series of self-important posts down the line, I thought a similar list of people from various media who played a major role in forming me as a person would be handy. That way, on the event of their deaths, my reflections will actually be genuine observations on the role people who truly were an important part of my life (even if I never met them), rather than a shallow effort to turn the death of every person I've ever heard of into a chance to talk about myself. And if I ever turn the death of somebody not on the list into an obnoxious study in egocentrism, then I welcome any subsequent blogging-flogging. In no particular order:

1. Philip Roth
2. Christopher Tolkien
3. Joan Didion
4. Sonic Youth (all long-term members)
5. Radiohead
6. Philip Glass
7. Lou Reed
8. Sleater-Kinney
9. Joe McPhee
10. Ornette Coleman
11. Neil Young
12. Gilberto Gil
13. Tom Ze
14. Alain Resnais
15. The Coen Brothers

Certainly, as life goes on, I'm sure other (still-living) authors, musicians, etc. will become bigger parts of my life, but right now, those deaths would/will really hit me on a personal level, and I reserve the right to self-reflective obituary writing. Beyond that, they'll stay impersonal and brief.