Mismatched obit pairs

The obits painted an odd picture of our culture this year.

I mean I can see how a culture could produce a James Brown.  I can see how a culture could produce a Gerald Ford.  But James Brown and Gerald Ford? 

It’s almost impossible to think about these two in the same thought.  You have to shift frames and assumptions like crazy.  And sometimes you can’t.   It’s like having one foot on the dock and the other in the row boat when the two suddenly part company.  Mismatched pairs are hard to think.

But Brown and Ford are the only mismatched pairs for 2006.

Aaron Spelling, check.  Mickey Spillane, check.  But Aaron Spelling and Mickey Spillane?

Robert Altman, ok.  Steve Irwin, ok.  But Altman and Irwin? 

Oriana Fallaci, ok.  Don Knotts, ok.  Fallaci and Knotts? 

We are a mysterious people. 


With thanks to Down the Avenue for the December 31, 2006 post "Deaths, Deaths, Deaths" here.

2 thoughts on “Mismatched obit pairs

  1. Virginia Postrel

    It sounds like (conventional) anthropology has trouble coming to terms with the fundamental fact of human diversity, at the individual not just the cultural level. In any population as large as the U.S., it would be extraordinary not to find such variation. What’s notable about our culture is that both can find niches that are both productive and respected. That I find that normatively desirable is, perhaps, why I wouldn’t make much of an anthropologist.

    While we’re juxtaposing obits, here’s a piece I wrote–nearly 10 years ago!–on the David Packard-Edmund Muskie contrast: http://www.reason.com/news/show/29956.html

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