Remembering the Dead

I’ve been reading and watching many of the tributes on Katharine Hepburn. Most go on and on about what an inspiration she was for women. If all they say is correct (I have no reason to doubt any of it), she was indeed ahead of the times. I myself enjoy watching and rewatching her powerful performances in such movies as The African Queen. But I can’t help but wonder why the media and most people in general wait until someone dies to say complimentary things about them. Wouldn’t it be better to do so when they are alive and can really appreciate what’s being said about them? I know I wish I had said more praising things to my own mom. Saying them to the world after, doesn’t make up for me wishing I had said them to her when she was alive.

4 Comments
  1. Katharine Hepburn is/was pretty damned amazing. I read her autobiography long before I ever saw any of her movies – and I’ve always been really impressed with her. It’s hard to say “what a loss” because she’s been in declining heath for years and by all accounts was very ready for death – but she was such an amazing woman that I guess it’s just a loss for the world that we couldn’t have her longer.
    And I agree that it’s totally ridiculous to bash someone in the press – then sing their praises after death. The reverse is also true – I just read an article trashing JFK Jr and his wife. It’s been, what, 3 years? Leave them alone!!!

  2. I wish you’d had that chance to talk to your mom and say those things. I had something similar going on with my dad, too.
    When I think of praiseworthy things said about people, the first thing I remember is seeing a televised Sammy Davis Jr. tribute. Davis seemed so touched, so honored. I always thought that one instance was pretty cool; its relative rarity simply didn’t occur to me.
    I think about how the mainstream media isn’t organized in that reflective, praiseworthy mode. Perhaps they don’t think there’s any money in it, other than with cable programs like “Biography” and “Behind the Music.” Even those tend to be a little tawdry, and not as respectful or considerate. With blogs and fansites and other less mainstream forums, there are often more ways to interact with people. (Example: I went by the Joni Mitchell Discussion List site today after mentioning it in passing to a friend a week or so ago. It was the first time I’d been in a while. Come to find out, they’ve got a dating service on there. It makes sense to me when I think about it: fans of a specific artist’s music certainly could have more things in common that some of them would want to hook up with one another. Maybe it’ll start a trend.)

  3. Karl at Word Soup has Twain issues that reminded me of this post.

  4. George,
    Not sure what your situation is with your dad. But if it’s still possible, I’d say have lots of talks with your dad. Tell him what you truthfully feel. If conversation is difficult, write it down and give it to him. Then you won’t feel so regretful about things in the future.
    Also, thanks for the link for Word Soup blog. He makes a lot of good points!
    Here’s hoping you had a great birthday yesterday!!

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