A lot of great people seem to be dying lately. Naturally you feel bad for their friends and family since their loss is incomparable to our own, no matter how "beloved" they have been to us. But with people like these two guys, it's a loss a whole different level -- these people are special in the way that matters most, they touched all our lives for the better in ways that very few human beings ever can. Maybe some people did more important things or more memorable things, but were they cultural icons? I lean towards answering that question in the negative. That's not a knock on people who aren't icons anymore than I'm trying to place them above the rest of us, my intentions couldn't be any further than that. I'm just saying that our culture is at least as important as anything else in our lives, and certain people do more to create that culture and leave a lasting, identifying mark on it than we could possibly imagine. In fact I feel like beyond us not appreciating these things while we've got them right there in front of us, maybe we can't really understand them until they are gone.
Culture is so expansive and complex that we can't see the important parts until they're gone.
I think even for those who weren't politically inclined knew who Tim Russert was, had heard of and probably seen for themselves Meet The Press. Because I don't believe in ignoring the bad things in life just because you feel like it, part of my process for dealing with the loss of Russet is acknowledging and accepting his many failures over the past six or seven years. I think for a long time he fell victim to the failings of the entire journalism institution that took off their public servant hat, and replaced with with an American flag lapel pin for the better part of the last decade. Applaud the patriotism, but never forget the consequences of putting our own feelings above the publics need for you to still do your job during the hard times.
Russet did that for most of his career, but not lately. It's sad to see him go, but the position he held and the respect that he had was damaging when he stopped being everything we'd like to remember him being.
Maybe less known by name, Stan Winston touched more lives and inspired more imaginations than we'll ever know or understand. His work on creature effects didn't exceed anyones expectations, nor did he ever break new ground. The man literally defined the art form. Do you remember how surreal it felt seeing Jurassic Park for the first time? That was the year that computer generated effects met an even field with physical effects, and movie making hasn't been the same since. He was a part of that, if not the driving force.
They will both be missed. There's nobody waiting in the wings to replace people who have accomplished what they did, and that's what it's about, really. They were great people to be sure, but there have been a lot of great people throughout human history. Being great is the easy part, they'd say. Doing great things is the real test in life; is what makes life worth living.
On the flip side of that coin are people like Katherine Heigl, at least for now. She may wise up and become a luminary in her own right some day, but not until world+dog has taken a shot at her. I had my say, Kevin Levine had his say, then he said it again, and naturally the magazines have to have their say as well.
Legend has it Steven Bochco uttered this famous phrase. He supposedly once advised a showrunner on the relationship between him and his stars:
"The first year they work for you, the second year you work together, the third year you work for them."
Here's a bit of a spoiler before you go clicking away: nobody seems to like Katherine Heigl anymore. As this story slowly dies off, a consensus seems to be building that the reason fans think it really is the writers fault is due to the fact that Heigl is trying to have two careers at once, one on television and one in movies. Her not being around makes is hard if not possible for writers to keep her character in sync with the show and everyone else, since essentially she's just not around enough.
That, and she apparently really does want out of TV in the worst way.