Thursday, January 15, 2009

The show must go on

I was at the doctor's today (flu) so I had my choice of reading Parents magazine or watching TV (I forgot to bring a book). The people ahead of me had apparently decided on one of those showbiz shows. I used to be under the impression that most of the jackasses in our country were in Washington. I forgot that the entertainment reporters in Hwood have a legion of jackasses all their own.

Poor Patrick Swayze. Terrible enough that he's dying, he has to do it in public. I remember when Raymond Carver was passing, he put out all these false press releases about how well he was doing just so the press would leave him alone ("I'm runnin thirty miles a day and my wife tells me I'm a regular demon in the sack!"). They bought his act. His death was a real surprise even though with his type of lung cancer there was no hope and they should have known better (or hell maybe they were just giving him a break).

This show today played a clip from when Barbara Walters interviewed Swazye two weeks ago. Now maybe because I'm in a similar predicament I'm biased here but when she asked him "Are you scared?" I immediately thought that this was one of the dumbest questions ever asked. Right up there when reporters shove a microphone in the face of a man who's entire family has just been burned alive in a housefire: "How do you feel?"

Is he scared? Yeah, he's dying. I've met a hundred people in chemo over the years and I never met one who wasn't scared. Again, maybe this is me. Maybe if I didn't have my own health problems the question wouldn't seem so stupid. Walters has never been what you'd call an intellectual giant but even by her standards he question struck me as dumb in the extreme.

Then they had this guy on who works on Swayze's new series. "We're all trying to get him to quit smoking." Now this is well-intentioned I know but it's also amusing (at least to me). Barring a miracle (and I mean a miracle) Swayze won't be here a lot longer. He's tough and admirable and fighting the good fight but pancreatic cancer is a bitch. So let him smoke. I've thought that in my final days I'm going to buy a carton of Luckies and go out French inhaling. Seriosuly. What the hell.

Finally a couple of hacks led with a question or two about the show then went immediately to his health. I don't know how actors get through all these promo interviews anyway. Same questions over and over. But I felt especially sorry for Swyaze because man he looked beat. Gray.

I know this is how the game is played. If I was so offended by it all I could have gone into a different waiting room where there was no tv only even older copies of Parents magazine. But I didn't. I watched. I'm just like all the other vampire hayseeds in Nathaniel West's Day of The Locust, spying on the griefs of the rich and famous. So I'm not claiming any moral superiority here.

It's just...Hell, Patrick, light up a Lucky for me and hang in there, buddy.


Fred Blosser said...

He seems like a decent guy. That "Are you scared?" question is like the money shot in a porno -- it's the ten seconds that everything else leads up to.

David Cranmer said...

I was very impressed by both him and his wife during their interview with Barbara Walters. I've never been a fan of his movies but I am going to watch The Beast now because I'm pulling for this guy. Hopefully he gets as much time as possible.

Todd Mason said...

Thanks for telling us about this. If you're observing Walters doing the vampire, so as to knowledgeably criticize it, I don't think you qualify as a locust...I'm reminded that my friend Alice likewise has recently read MARLEY AND ME and was disgusted by its utter self-congratulation of the unempathic latter-day yuppies whining about how their pup/dog got blood on the floor when he hurt himself in a terrified frenzy during a thunderstorm, for example.