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Rambling with Conviction

Jamie Beckett

Jamie Beckett
Location
Florida, USA
Birthday
December 21
Bio
Jamie Beckett, is a resident of central Florida, the United States, Earth. Jamie's first novel, "Burritos and Gasoline," sold beyond the author's wildest dreams, earning enough cold, hard cash to take the entire family out to Denny's - twice! His second work of fiction, a novella called "To the Lifeboats," (available exclusively in eBook format) was released in September 2012. Jamie is an author, a city commissioner, and the humble recipient of the Aircraft Owners and Pilot's Association's 2012 Let's Go Flying award. An avid motorcyclist, dedicated airplane nut, and part-time guitar collector, Jamie is putting serious thought into developing some sort of career plan, as soon as more interesting things become somewhat less interesting.

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MARCH 2, 2012 9:57AM

Davy Jones, Andrew Breitbart, and the Rest of Us

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I suspect there were few news readers, or television viewers, who didn't experience a pang of real regret when the news broke that Davy Jones had died. With a career that spanned more than half a century, Jones was known to virtually every American and most Europeans of a certain age. He is ever-young in our imaginations, but oh so human in reality. His death comes as a small shock, and a significant wake up call. Sixty-six seems very young to boomers who are in the same age bracket and every bit as susceptible to the inevitable.

Andrew Brietbart was very nearly the polar opposite of Davy Jones. A citizen journalist on a mission, Brietbart was never considered to be cuddly, cute, or harmless. He was a man with an opinion and he wasn't the least bit afraid to walk into the lion's den to deliver his perspective, even if his take was entirely unappreciated by the audience gathered before him.

While both men died of heart related issues, Jones had to power to break the hearts or raise the spirits of his audience with a nothing more than a wink and a smile. Brietbart on the other hand was seen by a considerable number of his countrymen as not having a heart to begin with. And while I suspect nobody is cheering his death, millions who opposed his ideas feel no inner need to shed a tear at his passing either.

I've got a different perspective. Admittedly I never met either Davy Jones or Andrew Breitbart, however the media attention they garnered over the course of their lives allowed me to know both of them better than I most of the people I work with. They were open books, both of them. And they lived their lives right out in the open, embracing the attention that was showered on them. That's the story, as I see it. The conversation should not be about their deaths, it should be focused on their lives.

Davy Jones and Andrew Breitbart, lived their lives fully, openly, and with remarkable zest. The fact that they died is immaterial. You and I will die one day, too. But will we live as fully as these two did? For most of the unfortunate answer to that simple question is; probably not.

Now there is no need to get down in the dirt with the memory of either man. We don't have to battle over whether one was a truly talented enough singer to be taken seriously, or whether the other espoused views that were contrary to our own beliefs. Those arguments are subjective, largely pointless, and miss the message of their lives entirely. Davy and Andrew lived. They worked at something that mattered to them. They brought their best game every time they played. Sometimes they won, sometimes they lost, but they kept playing to the best of their ability – and they became champions in their own right as a result.

You don't have to own a single Davy Jones record, or have subscribed to Andrew Brietbarts political views to respect either man. They earned the lives they got, and they lived them bigger, louder, more colorfully, and with greater zeal than most of us get out of our best day.

Rather than bemoaning the passing of men most of us never knew personally, we would do well to adjust our own lives to emulate the level of Davy and Andrew we include in our own daily existence. Like them, we will expire one day, too. Unlike them, it's entirely likely that very few will notice when we're gone. Nor should they. Because it's what we do with our lives that defines us, not the age we've attained when our light finally blinks out.  

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Thoughtful piece.
I think that's what anybody's death brings: another opportunity (does that make us opportunistic?) to assess our own lives.
Thanks for this, but if you don't think people are celebrating the death of Breitbart, you haven't been spending enough time here at OS. They are positively thrilled - many of them - that this good man is dead.

There is no hate like leftist hate. (To quote Dennis Prager.)
That was at least part of my point, Barbara. We focus too much on our personal feelings about aspects of lives we truly know little about. There is no death worth celebrating. Not even Osama's death was a reason for a party.

It says something sad and pathetic that people can cheer at the death of a parent and a spouse over something as trivial as a difference of political opinion. We should be better than that. We can be if we choose to make the effort. It's my hope that at least some people will see their reflection in the mirror and realize how truly ugly their hatred of others is. Especially when you consider that the person they hate is nearly indistinguishable from themselves when you look at the bigger picture.
I agree. I was just pointing out that you had mentioned above - and I'm not trying to argue with you really, but you had written, " And while I suspect nobody is cheering his death, millions who opposed his ideas feel no inner need to shed a tear at his passing either." My point is that I don't think you realize - and I mean this with no disrespect to you - that people ARE cheering. They are doing it here on Salon. It is despicable, but true. I am disgusted by them.
That's the Pollyanna in me, Barbara. I'd like to believe our humanity outweighs our partisanship. I'm wrong on that point in many cases, yet I persist in taking a myopic and inaccurate view of human nature in the hope that one day those people who offend you will mend their ways.

I remain disappointed, but hopeful. It's an interesting emotional mix.