Thursday, August 09, 2007

Important passings

There's been a lot of death in the past week or so. I thought I'd take the time to acknowledge the passings of several important and interesting beings-- a few humans, an animal and a fictional character.

Sunday, we lost one of the greatest civil rights lawyers in history, Oliver Hill. A contemporary of Thurgood Marshall, Hill was influential in the development of the NAACP and the legal process that led to the overturning of Plessy vs. Ferguson. He was 100.

After a battle with kidney cancer, and a tour to promote his latest album, singer-songwriter Lee Hazlewood passed away. Hazelwood was one of those guys that didn't attain much notoriety on his own, but was very influential to the development of quite a few musicians who came after him. Though, you may recognize him from his collaborations with Nancy Sinatra, most notably "These Boots are Made for Walking." But the Hazelwood catalogue is filled with great, interesting tunes that any fan of Johnny Cash, Luna/Galaxie 500/Dean & Britta or Nick Cave, among others, would be remiss to dismiss.

I know she's a fictional character, but I was a little saddened to see Bree, aka LonelyGirl15, die in the season finale. This is the little internet phenomenon that could. Although it suffered from serious pacing issues and tone deficits, the idea that a show could blend elements of the online world with the physical in its efforts to advance the plot is pretty fantastic. Some fans even became part of the story and contributed videos, a very cool twist. I fear for the second season though, actress Jessica Rose has an expressiveness about her that the other characters lack, and what I think kept most fans around, even as the story suffered.

Finally, I want to make note of a milestone of ill fate, the likely extinction of the Yangtze River dolphin. Admittedly, this has been an inevitability for some time now, and the Yangtze River is a huge environmental disaster, but this is the first megafauna to go extinct as a direct result of human behavior in 50 years, and the first dolphin ever extincted by humans. So I pour out liquor for the dolphin, and steel myself for the impending cascade of cetacean extinction.

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