Sunday, June 28, 2009

How Things Go Sometimes

Nearly forty years ago a genuine musical genius/icon passed away, victim of a demented assassin. John Lennon's death was reported on CBS by none other than Walter Cronkite, who certainly knew of Lennon, but was clearly bemused by the outpouring of grief that followed his murder. Cronkite was not far from retirement by that time, but it was still nice, even somewhat comforting, that he was on the job while so much of the world was reeling from so senseless a loss.

Michael Jackson had his time in the sun, and is certainly an icon of sorts, but it's hard to call him a musical genius. And his death, while startling, is not remotely the tragedy that Lennon's murder was. Worse, his death is the latest thing to go up in lights at the top of the marquee of the trashy circus the news media has become. There's no "Uncle Walter" to provide sanity, much less dignity, to the proceedings.

It's ironic that both Lennon and Jackson died just as they were coming off hiatuses from performing and recording. We'll never know where they might've gone if they'd lived to see their comebacks through. But "Uncle Walter" Cronkite, as of this writing, is still with us, having enjoyed one of the longest retirements of any well-known TV anchorman.