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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
LOSTATSEA.NET > FEATURES >

October 29, 2003
As an American, I'm easily star struck. I can't help it. It's been bred in me, from television to film to music. If I see someone famous, it seems more important than meeting a new coworker, or your girlfriend's sister. For instance, I saw director Kevin Smith in a comic shop in North Hollywood this past summer, and sure enough, I was surprised, excited, and a bit intimidated. I felt compelled to say something to him and all at once, I realized there was nothing to say... nothing at all. Here's a short, fat man that's made some amusing films standing in front of me with his daughter. I see fathers and daughters all the time, why was this any different?

Really, it's all horseshit... it shouldn't matter either way, because in the end, they're simply flesh and bone like myself- flesh and bone that make for better stories.

Against all my better instincts, it does matter, in some intangible way. So when famous people die, I'm shocked. "Did you hear so-and-so died today?" "No! Not them. I just saw them on Leno!" Pointless banter about people we never knew, but there's something more to this than just simply water-cooler chats or ten-o-clock news stories.

Celebrities become itemized and numbered. They become commodities, more objects than people, and because of that they are taken for granted. I just assume my favorite actors will be around because they always have been, that their next film will be better than the last. And then there's not a next time. All we're left with of this mysterious person is all we ever really knew of them: a collection of sounds or images, a novel or two, a news piece in Rolling Stone.

This brings me to Elliot Smith. I didn't know Elliot Smith, and I've never even heard him utter a single word beyond his music. In fact, while enjoying his craft, I never made an effort to support him in any way.

I knew of him. I saw Good Will Hunting, and an ex-girlfriend had some of his albums. Multiple friends listen to him too, yet I never so much as copied a single album of his, only borrowing one once... and then never listened to it. I just assumed that at some point, I could get around to it later, that Smith would keep creating music and I'd catch up.

Well, color me shocked that he's dead at 34. It dawns on me that I just committed a most atrocious transgression against my fellow man: I took them for granted. But this is just some being I knew from far away, some clipping on a dorm room wall, or a song on a soundtrack. Sure, I took Elliot Smith for granted and that's a terrible thing to do, but what's worse... what's possibly the worst thing, is I take those around me for granted. The people in my life I see or talk to every day, that make it possible to continue on in life, to not end up having to make a decision like Elliot Smith.

I'm not alone in this thought, it's simply not possible. From this, a realization quells my mind, as it should those like me... reach that end by yourself, but consider strongly your bereavement over those never known, and the possibility of losing those known all too well.

SEE ALSO: www.sweetadeline.net

--
David Spain
Based in Chicago, Illinois, David Spain is a contributing writer for LAS magazine.

See other articles by David Spain.

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