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
When he gasped to take a breath and to stop swearing in his fractured English, he told her he had a “fucking shit life” and that she was a filthy whore who would die a horrid death. Spitting out more vitriol with each breath, he finished his rant by saying, “You will lose this war.” Perhaps time will, if it hasn’t already, prove him right. Certitude rang out from this Algerian jihadist who had been captured by Afghanistan’s tribal Northern Alliance shortly after the American onslaught following 9/11 . At this point, however, the “interview” was concluded when she said, “That may be, but your Read on →
It’s that time of year again. Ya’ll know what I’m talking about … the holidays. Some see it as the song claims “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” … But others among us are just left wondering. First it’s the sugary shock of Halloween. Then it’s surviving the Thanksgiving glutton-fest. Followed by a tsunami of high-octane shopping you can’t afford, partying, last minute gift buying, a morning of exchanging gifts you don’t need, a mad rush to return the gifts you don’t want, more shopping and finally a drunken evening, ending with new year’s resolutions and false resolve to quit your shameful and glut Read on →
The excitement and acclaim that greeted both the Peachtree and the Broadway premieres of producer David O. Selznick’s adaptation of Gone With the Wind seventy-five years ago this week seems genuinely cringe-worthy today, after multiple indictments over recent years of Margaret Mitchell’s novel as racist and historically distorted. Mitchell is clearly culpable on the first count, although by no means uniquely so, but latter-day critics who charge her with distorting history would be well advised to consider the history she had to work with and, in some aspects, even undertook to revise. Released in mid-summer 1936, Mitchell’s book had already sold more Read on →
"A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil that good may come of it." -- William Penn The iconic images of recent protests in Ferguson, Missouri -- after the police shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen -- have left Americans of all ilks wondering: Is this America? Military Humvees, still in camouflage and mounted with machine guns, in the hands of municipal police. SWAT teams of police in full riot gear, bristling with automatic weapons, pointed at a lone protestor with hands up. Have we become a police state? Americans now have yet another Read on →