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Windrider (Stubborn)
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Glorify might not be the right word....more like embellish.

I'm working in Minnesota....and to listen to the local radio or red the local Newspapaers you would think that Kirby Puckett walked on water since he died. There were actually people calling for a state day of mourning with schools closed.

Now Kirby was a good ballplayer, but he also abused his wife.......but now that he's dead he's being cannonized.

It got me thinking about how differently we all seem to naturally act and speak about people before they die and after they die.

Why do you think the human specie feels such a need to glorify those that die? I don't get it.

Len
 

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Len,

I think that it is not just the dead, but the whole past that people see as better or more idealic (sp?). Why this is, I am not sure. Part of I am sure is that is comes partly from the fact that the present and future are uncertain, but the past is certain as it has said and done with. Therefore it is easier to both see things in terms of black & white and but also to selectively see history or people in the way that "we" want to.

In a cycling analogy, look at the views of Anquetil - here was a guy that openly admitting to using amphetamines, but is view as one of the great champions of the sport. Once a person is dead and gone, I think that people find that it is nicer to dwell upon the postive things that they remember than to view the person's whole life and personality, maybe even more these days when so many peoples whole lives are open to public review.
 

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Non non normal
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Len,

Along the same lines are the Rock Stars that OD or commit suicide and are frozen in time as heros and icons.

People never have to see them grow old and struggle to keep producing good music. Janis, Kurt, Elvis, Jimi, VanZant. We all remember them in their prime, when they were on top of the world.
 

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A further question:

Do people do this with only famous people?

I know that in remembering my grandparents, especially my grandmother who died when I was grown, there is both the memories her personality that made her wonderful, but also the side that was troubling.
 

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Windrider (Stubborn)
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
True, but.....

bigrider said:
Len,

Along the same lines are the Rock Stars that OD or commit suicide and are frozen in time as heros and icons.

People never have to see them grow old and struggle to keep producing good music. Janis, Kurt, Elvis, Jimi, VanZant. We all remember them in their prime, when they were on top of the world.
we seem to have this need, in death, to forget their human fraility and embellish their accomplishments. I wonder what we get out of this.

Is it inspiration.....
or is it an indication of our continual search for meaning.....by finding deep meaning in the dead, it somehow makes our life more meaningful.....I don't know but it is prevelant.

Len
 

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Len J said:
we seem to have this need, in death, to forget their human fraility and embellish their accomplishments. I wonder what we get out of this.

Is it inspiration.....
or is it an indication of our continual search for meaning.....by finding deep meaning in the dead, it somehow makes our life more meaningful.....I don't know but it is prevelant.

Len
Well, I think that is could be all those things, it is also that people look at those who have more or do more (and this is true throughout history - look at ancient civilizations who equiated thier dead leaders with gods) as ideals of want others tell themselves they want to be, and it is much easier to focus on the "good" then to look at the person as a whole.

In Puckett's case, he played on two World Series winning teams, was one of the fist major "stars" that the Twins had, and just now died an untimely death, so people want to remember him for the good things, and not the other parts of his life that would provide a complete picture of him, such as the horrible acts of abusing his wife.

The two greatest cases of this IMO are Princess Diane and JFK (though there are lots of others too).

Maybe utimately it comes down to a simple need for people to think those who they admired were "good" and like you said, to gain whatever meaning they can from this.
 

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To give us something to aspire to.

Or would prefer us to remember just the bad?

OTOH When that happy day comes when I pass on to the other side you folks are just going to be fighting over my bikes.....;)
 

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MB1 said:
Or would prefer us to remember just the bad?

OTOH When that happy day comes when I pass on to the other side you folks are just going to be fighting over my bikes.....;)
Darn, you figured us out. Just don't accept any cookies from posters here:D
 

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Motorator
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Len J said:
Why do you think the human specie feels such a need to glorify those that die? I don't get it.Len
- Guilt. (I should have ...... when I could have.....)

- Kissing up to God (Even though the guy was a schlepp, see how forgiving I am?)

- To show others how caring you are (In the end, it's All About Me)

- To hide from others how you really couldn't give a rat's a$$ about the creep (no explanation needed)


Basically, it all boils down to selfish motivations.
 

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Len J said:
we seem to have this need, in death, to forget their human fraility and embellish their accomplishments. I wonder what we get out of this.

Is it inspiration.....
or is it an indication of our continual search for meaning.....by finding deep meaning in the dead, it somehow makes our life more meaningful.....I don't know but it is prevelant.

Len

I think the reason is we all want to be remembered by our good deeds and not our bad deeds. Deep down, most people have a distorted view of themselves and think they are almost all good. I think that same line of thought is transfered to the dead. I mean whole cultural taboos have been set up to not say anything bad about the dead because it is bad luck.

You ever hear a mass murderer talk about how good they are when they are trying not to get the death penalty.

I help old ladies across the street right before I hit them in the face with a brick.
 

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You're Not the Boss of Me
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Here's a story.

When John Denver died, I cried. Feelings of loss and tragedy and an idealized view of the dead guy (who definitely had his foibles), etc. Now, before you fall off your chair laughing at me, I wondered as much as anyone what that was about.

Thinking of it, I recalled that my first ever record was a John Denver album during his early- to mid-70s heyday. It was what we played in the car on long family trips. I went to a concert with my Dad when I was about 13.

To me, his death was just a symbol of my aging, mortality, loss of childhood, loss of family, or something. Funny, talking to my sisters, they also confessed that his death had upset them.

I think that often the death of folks we don't know is connected to something within ourselves, and what it says about what we've "lost" over time. The person is an icon, in the traditional sense of that term.

Just my thoughts.
 

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jtolleson said:
Here's a story.

When John Denver died, I cried. Feelings of loss and tragedy and an idealized view of the dead guy (who definitely had his foibles), etc. Now, before you fall off your chair laughing at me, I wondered as much as anyone what that was about.

Thinking of it, I recalled that my first ever record was a John Denver album during his early- to mid-70s heyday. It was what we played in the car on long family trips. I went to a concert with my Dad when I was about 13.

To me, his death was just a symbol of my aging, mortality, loss of childhood, loss of family, or something. Funny, talking to my sisters, they also confessed that his death had upset them.

I think that often the death of folks we don't know is connected to something within ourselves, and what it says about what we've "lost" over time. The person is an icon, in the traditional sense of that term.

Just my thoughts.
agree...I felt bad when Denver died as well. When famous people die who we don't know personally we tend to take the idealized image of them with us. Great PBS special on a while back called John Denver Remembered with interviews from his ex-wife and others that knew him. I got the DVD of that. Love John Denver's music and his passion for life and the wilderness.

I also remember the day Jerry Garcia died. It was a major event in Boulder. I wasn't ever the hugest Dead fan, but it signaled te end of a generation to me. The rest of these bands like Phish, String Cheese are just imitators to me.

Kurt Cobain's suicide affected me as well--not so much that I thought he was a great person, but it reminded me of some black times I had during bouts of depression where I could have easily ended up the same way.
 

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Windrider (Stubborn)
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Makes sense to me.....

you are so introspective...;)

Len
 

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You're Not the Boss of Me
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Len J said:
you are so introspective...;)

Len

That's a skill I'm really, really trying to acquire because it hasn't always come naturally to me!


But to relate the concept back to Kirby Puckett. Let's say you were, hmmmm, an 8 year old boy in Minneapolis in 1985, so during all your formative years you got to cheer on a successful Twins team lead by an exuberant little square-shaped hitter named "Kirby." You had a pennant above your bed. Maybe tried for an autograph once. Now you are not quite 30 and the icon of your tender years has died. It probably feels like a big tragedy for you and your city because of your childhood years. That indefinable sense of loss that isn't about whether he (the icon) was a good or bad person.

Just a thought.
 

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Windrider (Stubborn)
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It's a good habit.....

jtolleson said:
That's a skill I'm really, really trying to acquire because it hasn't always come naturally to me!


But to relate the concept back to Kirby Puckett. Let's say you were, hmmmm, an 8 year old boy in Minneapolis in 1985, so during all your formative years you got to cheer on a successful Twins team lead by an exuberant little square-shaped hitter named "Kirby." You had a pennant above your bed. Maybe tried for an autograph once. Now you are not quite 30 and the icon of your tender years has died. It probably feels like a big tragedy for you and your city because of your childhood years. That indefinable sense of loss that isn't about whether he (the icon) was a good or bad person.

Just a thought.
and definatly takes practice.....

I see your point about the little kid, and yes we do associate public individuals with important memories in our lives, but I was only using kirby as a triggering example, there are so many more.

My Dad's death....to listen to people talk he was a saint.......he waasn't, not by a long shot, he was a flawed Human trying to do the best and sometimes failing. But People feel the need to "recreate" the dead better than they were.

I think you are right about it fulfilling our own needs.........

When I die, I want a "Speaker for the Dead" to give my service. I want them to paint a picture of me with words that will resonate with the listeners and have them laughing, and crying, remembering and reflecting, but in the end seeing me as I was, in all my flaws and foibles, all my successes and failures, all my humanness......I want it to be a reason to be glad they were in my life & I in their's....I wnat it to help heal them. It strikes me that clinging to a myth does not promote real healing.

Just me though.

Len
 

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jtolleson said:
That's a skill I'm really, really trying to acquire because it hasn't always come naturally to me!


But to relate the concept back to Kirby Puckett. Let's say you were, hmmmm, an 8 year old boy in Minneapolis in 1985, so during all your formative years you got to cheer on a successful Twins team lead by an exuberant little square-shaped hitter named "Kirby." You had a pennant above your bed. Maybe tried for an autograph once. Now you are not quite 30 and the icon of your tender years has died. It probably feels like a big tragedy for you and your city because of your childhood years. That indefinable sense of loss that isn't about whether he (the icon) was a good or bad person.

Just a thought.
Here's one about someone not dead yet. I'm a huge Neil Young fan. A while back I read his bio called Shakey and his real-life persona is not all that agreeable. He comes across as vindictive, selfish, arrogant...probably traits that helped him get to where he is today, but it made me think how we tend to idealize famous people based on their public persona or their art and not on who they really are as a person.
 

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Windrider (Stubborn)
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Agreed.....

Bocephus Jones II said:
Here's one about someone not dead yet. I'm a huge Neil Young fan. A while back I read his bio called Shakey and his real-life persona is not all that agreeable. He comes across as vindictive, selfish, arrogant...probably traits that helped him get to where he is today, but it made me think how we tend to idealize famous people based on their public persona or their art and not on who they really are as a person.
but we don't just do it with famous people....we do it with all dead people.

""respect" for the dead" is the admonition.

Are we afraid of them?:D

Len
 

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Len J said:
but we don't just do it with famous people....we do it with all dead people.

""respect" for the dead" is the admonition.

Are we afraid of them?:D

Len
It probably has something to do with superstition and/or religion. In some corner of our minds we wonder if the dead might still be around in some form or other. Think about how many people have seen or at least believe in ghosts, UFOs, etc. etc.
 
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