- Important: All passwords were reset on 06/15/11. Old passwords will no longer work. Click here to retrieve your password.
- Subscribe to Our Free Dewsletter
We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
I gravitated toward the giggling coming from a small group of female co-workers, all north of the middle age demographic. They were passing around 8X10 glossies and smiling as if back in high school. Stan, the resident work place geek, was beaming like he just discovered 3 gigs of RAM.
The pictures were glam shots of Bobby Sherman, the Sixties pop star. He was either using really old photos left over when his fame sailed out of the harbor, or had filtered current shots with industrial strength Photoshop.
Stan had been to visit his sister in California and as promised, brought back autographed Bobby Sherman pictures for the five ladies who requested them. I had been skeptical; now he was delivering, and basking in the limelight.
Later than month I mentioned to the same group of people that John Lee Hooker had passed away. Each and every one of them looked confused. One finally asked me who that was. I always knew fame wasn’t fair and didn’t have a good sense of musical genius, but the idea that people remember Bobby Sherman and not the great John Lee was more than I could bear. It just seemed so wrong.
Now, more than a decade later, I’m reminded once again how fame isn’t tied to talent in our modern world; and maybe never was. A group of friends were celebrating the day before MLK Day by enjoying each other’s company and eating Portuguese pot roast.
After the first of the pro football playoff games ended, the Yippee-ki-yay Post Game Show appeared. Nothing says football like a censored line from an old Bruce Willis movie. One of the folks watching asked if a certain large, gap-toothed, smiling commentator was the “guy who’s on in the mornings with Kelly Ripa.”
The person in question is one Michael Strahan, former defensive end for the sometime World Champion New York Football Giants, and a shoo-in for the pro football Hall of Fame. I began to chastise my friend for her perspective but halfway through my diatribe realized more people are aware of Strahan as a TV host than a football player. Fame once again easily defeats talent.
This has been the case for a long time. In my youth Herman’s Hermits and Tommy James bested the Rolling Stones for bedroom wall poster sales. A few years later an acquaintance told me history would consider Kiss a greater band than those same Stones. And I read recently in the comments section of an on-line story (I know I shouldn’t) that Justin Beiber was much more talented than Kurt Cobain because he had more Twitter followers.
On the same day as our little party, Stan Musial died with little public fanfare. Stan Musial, the man who played 24 years of otherworldly baseball with the same team. Stan Musial, who never thumped his chest, got roaring drunk in public, or was implicated in any kind of scandal. Stan Musial, who was every bit the equal of contemporaries Mantle, Mays, and Clemente; but quietly plied his trade with almost boring consistency and unbridled joy.
I’m sure the folks who didn’t know John Lee, or connect Strahan with football, have no idea who Stan the Man was. Modern sports references need buzz much more than excellence, notoriety much more than substance. Legions of observers miss the point of greatness.
Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
- Images - These photos were composited by LikeTheDew.com from photos all over the web - we did our best to find promotional photos (fair use) and stayed away from any with copyrights - if we missed something, let us know and we'll apologize while taking it down.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
What's a dynamic dune? It's a reference that was changed to just "dunes" in the law, perhaps because it left too many people confused. Or perhaps the idea that dunes change and move was upsetting to people who want their environment to stay the same. In any event, it's hard to deny that the purveyors of entertainment on Sea Island, Georgia, are bound and determined to "fix" their venue, even though it means breaking the law to do so. Pictures don't lie. All summer long the toys have languished in the dunes, forgotten and unused. It's almost sad. So many toys and Read on →
A friend of mine, who is liberal, told me recently, "Having grown up in the South in the 1950s, I know something about how it feels to be part of a group you're told is superior. It feels really good. It's a feeling that shouldn't be under-estimated." That got me thinking about the anger of many white men, and why they've lent the force of that anger to the political right. Imagine you're a white man, particularly in a region where racist ideology and patriarchy have been especially powerful. By virtue of being white instead of black, and male instead of female, Read on →
The mass killers came as stowaways aboard ships about the time the Wright brothers first took to flight along a North Carolina beach. Although these assassins were merciless, they probably did not even know themselves the great destruction they were to bring. Thus began the near complete killing of all the American Chestnuts in this country. The pathogens that had probably slipped into the country on infected nursery stock consumed relatively little time in destroying the forests of American Chestnuts ranging from Maine to the southern Appalachians. It took fewer than forty years. This past weekend I had the privilege of Read on →
Readers of my articles on LikeTheDew will know that I’m not an advocate of defying the law, but I’m about to encourage this where necessary. Often focused on the joys of my grandchildren, this time I’m focused on yours too. I’m talking about Climate Change and our need to DO something about it. I was heartened to read about two activists who set an example in May 2013, protesting about the burning of coal in an attention-seeking move, by taking a small lobster boat named “The Henry David T,” (a reference to Thoreau) to picket the Brayton Point Power Station off the Massach Read on →