Category Archives: Death

>Just A Thought: Elizabeth Taylor

>

I haven’t been able to get the death of Elizabeth Taylor out of my mind, reading all sorts of tributes and stories and rumors about her life, her death, her funeral, and her will.

One of the best stories, and I’m so hoping it’s true, is that Elizabeth Taylor was actually 15 minutes late to her own funeral! Apparently, it was a habit for Taylor to always be 15 minutes late to everything, and she had it stipulated in her will that she arrive at her own funeral a quarter hour after it had started. A sense of humor even after she had left us.

But she was much more than that.

A lot of people talk about Princess Diana being the most famous woman ever, but now I think they might be wrong. I mean, Taylor was international news from the 1940s through to 2011, and, no doubt, way beyond that.

She was the most photographed woman, one of the most talked about, joked about, feted, honored, trivialized, sensationalized, and idolized. There was no one before her, and I cannot think of anyone like her.

One thing I found shocking was that she was survived by four children, ten grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. I knew she had children, though I didn’t know it was four, and I never even thought about Elizabeth Taylor, Grandmother….Great Grandmother.

How is it that this women, this idol and icon, who was famous for almost seventy years, photographed over and over again, kept her private life private–at least as far as her children were concerned? We knew about the marriages, the lovers, the illnesses, the ups and the downs of a decades long career, but her family was private.

That says something about her. And it says something about us that we let her keep her family to herself.

And then there were her friends, many of them gay, and most of those closeted. She kept their secrets all of their lives and all of hers. She had been told a story by James Dean about how he was molested as a child, and he asked her to keep it a secret, and she did, long after he died, and until she, to, had passed.

One of her greatest friends was Rock Hudson. And when  he died of complications of AIDS–one of the first, and most well-known, in a list that is far too long–she didn’t stay silent. She spoke out against the disease and what it had done to her friend.

She became an advocate, hell, she became the advocate for AIDS research, helping to found amfAR, and speaking out to everyone and everywhere, from Congress to the White House–helping to create the Ryan White Care Act–and everywhere in between.
She could have quietly donated money and let that be that, but she chose to stand up for us, when a lot of  us could no longer stand up for ourselves, and for when others wouldn’t stand up for us. Or even with us.

And now she’s gone.

I picture her, arriving in Heaven–or wherever she might be–being embraced by Rock Hudson, and all of those we’ve lost to the AIDS crisis, those men, women and children that she spoke about, and fought for, and loved. If there ever was to be a heroes welcome in Heaven, this woman deserves it.

Up there, and down here, too.

Advertisements

8 Comments

Filed under AIDS, amfAR, Celebrity, Death, Elizabeth Taylor

>Stop. Just Stop.

>

The shooting has been everywhere; it’s all over my TV, all over the web, on every front page and everybody’s mind. I try to wrap my head around the idea that someone can shoot someone in the head at point blank range, for any reason, least of all different political views, or simple dislike. I try to wrap my mind around the thought that someone can simply open fire and shoot at anyone and everyone in sight.

And I wonder, how many fingers pulled that trigger that sent a bullet through Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ head, that discharged bullets that killed US District Judge John Roll, Gabe Zimmerman, Gifford’s director of community outreach; Dorwin Stoddard, a pastor at Mountain Ave. Church of Christ; Christina Greene, a student at Mesa Verde Elementary; Dorthy Murray and Phyllis Scheck.

I know there was one gunman, and maybe an accomplice, who will achieve no sense of notoriety by having their names or photographs mentions or shown in this space, ever, but there are more to blame. More people around this country who have been spouting hate, and promoting violence as a means to get their viewpoint heard. 

Teabaggers who’ve said that any means necessary should be used to take back the country. Take it back from whom? People with a different idea? Why is there this need for using such hate-speech against a rival political group? Why is violence the answer they seem to promote so often? I am not a fan of Teabaggers, or of most Republicans or most conservatives, or most religious wingnuts, but I would never suggest violence, never suggest death be the answer to my problem with other people.

And, while we hold the Tea Party even partially responsible, let’s also lay some blame squarely at the feet of Sarah Palin. I don’t use her name here often, as I refer to call her the Mama Grizzly Bore, but today, her name must be used, because she has blood on her hands.

When you use words and phrases like putting someone in your ‘crosshairs’ exactly what do you think that means? Crosshairs. Guns. Violence. When you ask that your followers reload, instead of retreat, what are you telling them? Take up arms. Shoot. Take up arms, and take the lives of people with whom you disagree, even if one of them is a nine-year-old girl, and others are grandmothers.

This has to stop. We cannot become a nation where violence is the means to sway the vote, and gain momentum for our cause. This has to stop. It’s time for people like the Tea Party, and their minions, and Sarah Palin, and her minions, to accept responsibility for their words. 

Words have power; words create violence; words incite. Whether the words are aimed at the LGBT community, or a Muslim community center, a liberal, or a conservative, the words must stop inciting violence.

Different is good. Differing opinions are good because they create dialogue. But putting someone in your crosshairs, and threatening to reload, sends the message that violence is the answer.

It isn’t. And it’s up to us, all of us, liberal and conservative, Democrat, Republican, Independent, whatever political affiliation, religious affiliation, non-religious affiliation, gender, ethnicity, orientation, color, age, education, socio-economic standing, to stop this speech.

Stop it.
Or start getting more body bags.

13 Comments

Filed under Arizona, Death, Gabrielle Giffords

>Another Golden Girl Heads To The Stars

>
Rue McClanahan died today.
Another cheesecake delivery to Heaven, please.

Rest in peace, Rue, and thanks so much for the laughter.

4 Comments

Filed under Celebrity, Death, Rue McClanahan, The Golden Girls

>Courtney Love Is Dead?

>

Courtney Love has died. A victim of a Hollywood murder so heinous I can barely say it aloud.

Courtney Love was murdered by….Courtney Love.

See, The Artist Formerly Known As Courtney Love no longer wants to be called Courtney Love. In an interview, she admits: “Courtney Love is dead. We’ve all decided we don’t like her any more. We love her when she goes onstage, but I don’t need her in the rest of my life. The name Courtney Love is a way to oppress me.”

She has also apparently decided that the new name, TAFKACL, is a bit to hard to pronounce, so she will subsequently be known as Courtney Michelle; Love’s birth name is Courtney Michelle Harrison.

I could be wrong, but I liked Courtney Love. She was fun at parties; she always had the best drugs; her Tweets were illiterate joy. My most fun nights were spent waking up in a pile of vomit in Courtney Love’s guesthouse bathroom. That’s how you knew the party was good. But this Courtney Michelle mother-effer sounds like a tired old porn queen.

Courtney Love is dead.

To me.

3 Comments

Filed under Birth, Celebrity, Courtney Love, Death, Funny, Uncategorized

>Rest In Peace, You’ve Earned It

>

She wasn’t really a household name. She wasn’t Rosa, or Martin, or Bayard, or Malcolm, but she was important. And now she’s gone.

Dorothy Height, a leader in both the African-American and the women’s rights movements, died on Tuesday at the age of 98.

During her lifetime, Dorothy saw much, and stood up for, and fought against, many things. At the time of her death, she was president emerita of the National Council of Negro Women, an organization she led for forty years.

  • In 1929, she was accepted to Barnard College. Shortly before classes began, however, she was called into the dean’s office and told she couldn’t enroll at Barnard because they’d already met their quota for Negro students. Dorothy Height took her Barnard acceptance letter to New York University where she was admitted at once, and earned a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s in psychology.
  • In the 1930s, Dorthy Height stood up against lynchings, when most people, and nearly all women, were afraid to speak.
  • In the late 30s, Dorothy Height called attention to the exploitation of black women working as domestic day laborers; these women stood on street corners, known locally as “slave markets”, in Brooklyn and the Bronx, where they were picked up and hired for 15 cents an hour by white suburban housewives who cruised the corners in their cars.
  • In the 1940s, as the executive leader of the YWCA, she helped to integrate their facilities nationwide.
  • In the 40s and 50s Dorothy Height was president of Delta Sigma Theta, an international sorority of black women.
  • In 1963, Dorothy Height sat on the platform with Martin Luther King when he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. Though she was one of the organizers of the march, Dorothy Height was not invited to speak; only men spoke that day.
  • In the mid-60s, she helped institute “Wednesdays in Mississippi,” a program that flew interracial teams of Northern women to the state to meet with black and white women there.
  • In the 1970s, along with Gloria Steinem, Shirley Chisholm, Betty Friedan and others, Dorothy Height helped found the National Women’s Political Caucus.
  • In the 1980s, Dorothy Height created “Black Family Reunions,” which were sponsored by the National Council of Negro Women. These reunions were held in cities across the United States; hundreds of thousands attended the first one, in Washington in 1986.
  • In 1994, Dorothy Height was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton.
  • In 2004, she was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal President George W. Bush.
  • In 2009, she was awarded a place of honor at president Obama’s inauguration. Upon her passing, the president said: “the godmother of the civil rights movement and a hero to so many Americans.”
Dorothy Height did so much, and oftentimes worked twice as hard. See, she was what you might call doubly-impaired: female and black. Many women’s groups did not seek out her advice or council because of her race, and African-American organizations didn’t use her because of her gender.

But that didn’t stop Dorothy Height.

And she wasn’t concerned about being overshadowed by men during the Civil Rights movement; she wanted progress not the limelight, saying, “I was there, and I felt at home in the group. But I didn’t feel I should elbow myself to the front when the press focused on the male leaders.”

During her life Dorothy Height received nearly forty honorary doctorates, from institutions including Tuskegee, Harvard and Princeton, but there was one honor, the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree, that meant more than all the others combined. In 2004, 75 years after turning her away, Barnard College designated Dorothy Height an honorary graduate.

Rest in peace, Dorothy.

5 Comments

Filed under Civil Rights, Death, Dorothy Height, Hero, Uncategorized

>Patrick Swayze

>

Patrick Swayze died this morning at the age of 57.
A family spokesperson said:
“Patrick Swayze passed away peacefully today with family at his side
after facing the challenges of his illness for the last 20 months.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Celebrity, Death, Patrick Swayze

>In Memorium

>

2 Comments

Filed under Death, Democrat, Edward Kennedy, Politics