I've watched a lot of funerals this year. Not sure what my obsession has been, but I have been absolutely enthralled by funerals all year.
The late great Senator Bill Proxmire was the first one in February. I stumbled on it and was stuck for hours watching friends and heroes of mine memorialize a Senator that I admired greatly.
I went on to watch many more funerals.
The last one I saw, was by far my favorite. Ed Bradley's funeral was awesome. Jimmy Buffet, Aaron Neville, Irma Thomas, Allen Toussaint, Winston Marsalis and a line up of stars who told me the sum total of a man I thought of as a these years who turned out to be a much greater man, and they entertained me tremendously until I believed a true American hero had gone from our midst without me ever really knowing who he was as a man. Ed was the epitome of cool and the tribute that even hosted a surprise speech by Bill Clinton (I think it was a surprise so they didn't have to invite Bush...) was by far the coolest funeral I've ever seen (well, my Uncle Charles' funeral although more modest than Ed's was also REALLY cool...). My Uncle Charles and Ed Bradley were very much alike. Father's to their communities, cool dudes and jazz fanatics (not fans, fanatics). From a different time and passing that time onto us with love.
Maybe it's because I buried a lot of friends and family this year. My brother, my beloved Uncle Charles whom I adored my entire life, my best friend's father who was such a great man, and several others all close and all unexpectedly gone in a flash.
2006 has been a long year and one I'll be happy to say goodbye to tomorrow night!
I have much needed and appreciated funerals this year in a way I never really understood before. I am finding myself looking forward to them for not only their healing value, but also for their entertainment value. In all the funerals I've watched this year, two things have been a constant...humor and music. For some reason, humor and music are the ways we cope with loss. By remembering the ways our loved ones entertained us and why they made our lives better, we use humor to remind us of the good times and music to soothe our souls.
So when I heard the Godfather of Soul passed on Christmas Day. I was incredibly sad, but also in a bit of an odd way excited. He had a rough life. All that grunting and groaning in his music came from a place we've all been to, but that James Brown lived and that's why he was the Godfather of Soul. He nurtured it, loved it and made love to it and then, gave it to the world. He didn't just give us a part of soul, he gave us it's heart, lungs and gut. His funeral would be no less than magnificent and I was sitting on my bed yesterday and today ready for my healing session.
It would never come.
NO ONE IS PLAYING THE FUNERAL SERVICES!!!
I'm in shock and awe. As I surf the digital cable news stations and the internet, the only sign is a crazy tease here and there on MSNBC news. NO ONE HAS THE LIVE FEED!!!!
Why? We may never know.
Maybe it's because of the death of a President. I acknowledge that President Ford's death is no minor event in itself and I expected it to preempt Brown's funeral on the major stations, but couldn't CSPAN3 have sent a cameraman to what promises to be the most entertaining funeral in a lifetime? How about CNN? Fox News' complete blackout is no surprise, but what about CBS? You know what they are playing on the local Fox network right now? Paid advertising. Ginzu knives shit. Proxmires funeral is being replayed on a network and Ford's funeral has the entire day blocked out on one station for hours while his plane flies to DC and they play replays of CSPAN programs from months ago. Other stations that may have been used for the live feed of the greatest musicians alive paying tribute to the greatest soul man ever, are stuck on old interviews, floor debates that mean nothing today, and fluff programming that means nothing to the soul of America. Hell! I even checked BET, MTV, MTV2, VH1 and it's other station, anything I could think of and it's NO WHERE....
I can't figure out why this is. Is everyone on vacation? Is every cameraman in the country at the Ford funeral? Saddam Hussein was hanged late last night, and they are tiptoeing around the video of that, but it's over, no one's playing it on CSPAN and they can't even make up a story interesting enough to give it much air time. The Bush clan used its Iraqi puppet government to execute the guy who tried to kill their patriarch. We already know the story. No news there (well except for the 1,000's of Sunnis rioting in the streets of Iraq that they can't show...).
Can we PLEASE start looking for Bin Laden now??? Maybe he's just a boogeyman and doesn't really exist. A figment of Bush's insanity thrust on the world like a penis in full rape mode. I digress.....
So why not show James Brown's funeral??? Could it be that the ratings would be higher than Ford's funeral and that's not a number they want to even allow to be created?? Is it that some more important people will choose the Brown funeral over the funeral of a President and that's also news they don't want to create? I don't know and hope that my cynical side isn't right.
I can't come up with a reason. I just know that on this lazy Saturday afternoon, I was looking forward to a funeral. As odd as that may sound, I am disappointed and feel as if my opportunity for grief and mourning for James Brown has been stolen from me by some corporate big wigs. With so many stations choosing not to air the funeral, it almost seems conspiratorial, but that's something that doesn't happen in this country, so I'll let it go as a passing thought.
To the family and friends and fans of James Brown, I want to offer my deepest condolences. He was loved worldwide and even everyday people like me are in mourning today sending our hearts to you....and playing some James Brown music in our homes to pass the afternoon while we clean up the second wave of Christmas (kids opening the boxes their presents are so tightly wrapped in). James Brown has always been my favorite cleaning music...LOL!
Rest in peace Godfather.