Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dead or Alive -- But Definitely Manly


We didn’t quite get around to it, but Helen and I considered seeing Taken on St. Patrick’s Day, which would have seemed somehow fitting, since the Irish star of the film, Liam Neeson, apparently lost his wife, Natasha Richardson, to a skiing accident that day, with reports of her finally being taken off life support at a hospital here in NYC just a block south of me. According to Scott Nybakken, Neeson’s character is delightfully old-fashioned and patriarchal in the film, as a man willing to kill to rescue his daughter. (Helen likes old-fashioned, as her article on NRO that day suggests.)

As if I didn’t already feel some conservative pain from hearing about the man who played a vengeful patriarch in Taken (and a loving patriarchal lion named Aslan and a Jedi and Rob Roy, etc.) lose his wife — the same week we lost Democrat-turned-hawk Ron Silver — I felt at least a twinge of nerd sadness upon hearing that Darth Vader has prostate cancer (though he seems to be doing well, and prostate cancer often progresses very slowly) and punk-influenced sadness upon hearing that the lead singer of the (fittingly named) New Wave band Dead or Alive, the Captain Harlock-like Pete Burns, is suffering double kidney failure (and is less able to get a replacement due to government’s evil ban on organ sales, I might add). Grim week.

Coincidentally, the man with whom Helen and I did spend part of St. Pat’s — my friend Joe Brennan, visiting from England, who has been an airplane pilot, lawyer, DJ, businessman, bus driver, chronic film extra, and reality-TV contestant among other things — happened to mention Tuesday night that he’d met Burns (due to trying out for England’s Big Brother), without even realizing that the news of Burns’ kidney troubles had just been reported.

Speaking of drinking with Joe, I often recall him discussing one of his drinking buddies: a war vet with an injured hand who’d also worked as a professional shark hunter until having to sell his boat to bail his son out of jail and subsequently becoming a hard-drinking, cash-strapped, sadder man. That’s amusingly, stereotypically manly, I’d say, and rather cinematic.

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