Two deaths

More relevant to the topic of this blog: Neil Simon, twentieth-century US theater great. My parents’ generation would remember him for The Odd Couple; my favorites were The Goodbye Girl (the work involving Richard III that I thought Armitage should be in a remake of) and Only When I Laugh; and then there were later works that touched on his own life, like Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues. He was the only U.S. playwright to have a working theater named for him while he was still alive. May his memory be for a blessing.

Last night, John McCain — another figure whose significance stretched across generations. My parents remembered him for his stint as a POW in Hanoi; I think of him as the strangely paradoxical candidate who both took on Sarah Palin as his runningmate in 2008 but resisted the basest impulses of his supporters to demonize Barack Obama; the co-author of the problematic McCain Feingold campaign finance reforms; the man who voted for the latest GOP tax cut but managed somehow to save (at least temporarily) my health insurance. It’s hard to say anything. The grief I feel at the news, I think, is as much for the state of U.S. politics as for this very flawed, but very human, individual himself.

May all those who are mourning be comforted.

~ by Servetus on August 26, 2018.

11 Responses to “Two deaths”

  1. Very nicely stated. I’ve never agreed with Senator McCain’s politics but I also think it’s good to be respectful of somebody who has passed. I’ve been seeing so many posts on social media trashing him and I keep thinking, “You know, it’s ok to just say nothing. Like, that’s a thing you can do. We don’t always have to have a response and an opinion to everything.” People are problematic in general. None of us is perfect. I just wish more people would remember that.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree — and the amount of vitriol directed at McCain by supporters of his own party has been stunning to me this last two years.

      Like

  2. I did not know Neil Simon passed away today
    Very eloquently written. I knew John McCain
    passed away yesterday and I agree with your
    thoughts on him. He had a lot of class esp in 2008 election. He probably saved ACA from
    total disintegration by showing up when he
    was clearly sick to vote to save it last year.
    He lived a really beautiful and monumental life.
    Thank you for this post today..

    Liked by 1 person

    • And was a reliable stalwart on the question of torture. But had a lot of other problematic moments. The funeral today was another tearjerker.

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      • Oh gosh my brother and family and I were in
        DC yesterday at a Natl Book Fair (it sucked)
        and knew the funeral was taking place at Natl
        Cathedral so we took the metro in. I disagreed
        w a lot of McCain’s political views but he was
        a class act and stoic and brave to the end
        and will be greatly missed. I really dislike
        Megan McCain but I read her she knocked her eulogy out
        of the ball park.

        Like

        • I don’t care for her politics either but after this speech I suspect she has a political career ahead of her. It was an amazing speech — not just the obviously political parts but also the personal memories.

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          • Ugh I hope not. She’s got a personality that I
            just wouldn’t get along w and that doesn’t even start to describe her political views. I do feel empathy for her bec my dad is 81 this month and I think knowing that McCain stopped treatment bec he maybe had enough and was prepared has got to be excruciating for a child
            to watch. I give her big kudos for putting on a brave face the past few months. I know I would be an emotional wreck if that were happening to my mom or dad.

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            • I think we shouldn’t underestimate how much John McCain choreographed the whole thing. I think her emotion and delivery were genuine but I also think she (and most of the other speakers) said what they were intended to say. She may be too emotional for politics — i.e., better as a commentator, which is where she is now. She reminded me quite a bit of him, actually.

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  3. Sad to lose a man of Neil Simon caliber in the entertainment world. Reg; your comment on John McCain, I could not agree more :(The grief I feel at the news, I think, is as much for the state of U.S. politics as for this very flawed, but very human, individual himself.) Especially the state of the US politics. We have lost much. As always well written Sev. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was thinking this today after the funeral, too; as someone said it was like a funeral for the way the U.S. has been up until now. (I realize, a controversial assertion)

      Like

  4. Neil Simon had so many wonderful plays and movies that really became part of our world. Barefoot in the Park, with a young Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, and The Out-of-Towners, with Sandy Dennis and Jack Lemmon, are two of my favourites.

    Liked by 1 person

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