Friday, June 05, 2009

Young Man Carradine

I still remember where I was when I heard Michael Hutchence had died. Some friends and I were working on a student film, and I had gone to my car to read a little bit in the then-current "Wizard and Glass" by Stephen King. The radio was on, and in between songs, the DJ (remember those?) announced that Hutchence was found dead in Sydney, Australia.

I thought, "Wow, I was a big INXS fan for a while, and now he's gone, like a couple other lead singers in bands I liked. That's too bad." It's strange, though, in the years that followed, it was the WAY Hutchins died that followed him around rather than the life he lived up to that point. I don't know about you, but I've heard countless in-laws, hopscotch players, and Sunday School teachers mention the auto-erotic asphyxiation thing, and they couldn't tell you the words to "Never Tear Us Apart."

I guess you know where I'm going with this.

David Carradine was found dead yesterday, in his Bankok Thailand hotel room.
Found hanging by hotel staff, the death was deemed a suicide. He was seventy-two.

But a few minutes later, the story was amended. Apparently, it hadn't been suicide, but something more noble and acceptable--an accident during auto-erotic asphyxiation. His manager confirms it, and the maid who found him described a rope around his neck and his, well, grasshopper.

I'll make no comments about how strange I find it that the latter cause of death is considered more acceptable (if not noble) than the former, except that when I die, I sure hope people know it indeed was a suicide, and not . . . well, something else.Bruce Lee fans hate David Carradine. Tarantino fans love him. I fell somewhere in the middle. My dad was a big fan of "Kung Fu," though I only vaguely remember it. He also talked on several occasions about "Old Man Carradine," David's father. I guess my dad was, in his own way, something of a fanboy.

My friend Jeff and I went to a presentation for KILL BILL at a convention one time, in which David Carradine was a panelist, and verbally attacked one of the geeky kids during the Q & A. I didn't talk to him myself, but I suppose that--besides his appearance at the end of the second KILL BILL--will be my memory of the man.

I hope that his work--and not the way he died--will be part of your memories too (unless, of course, you also saw him tell the dumb kid at the microphone to shut the fuck up).

Rish "Bung Fu" Outfield

P.S. Since typing the above, there have been new allegations that Carradine was murdered, either by enemies he's made throughout his life, by some kind of underground kung fu cult Carradine had gotten involved with, or by the same Bruce Lee fans who also killed the ENTER THE DRAGON bad guy this week. It's pretty bizarre, really, but doesn't change any of the points I was trying to make.

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