Dick Clark died this morning at the (senseless) age of 82, apparently of a heart attack. He was a TV icon and deserves tremendous amounts of respect, especially for continuing his appearances on New Year’s Rockin’ Eve following his stroke in 2004.
I cannot tell you how stoked I am that that particular tradition has come to an end, however tragically.
Yes, I’m aware that’s incredibly insensitive. I’m not saying I wanted him to die, per se. But his appearance on the show, brave-faced though it may have been, was weird and incongruous after the stroke. Hey, it’s New Years, everyone’s having a blast spending time with friends and living it up, and now to our aging stroke victim correspondent so that you can all stare wide-eyed at the freakshow we wheel out every year at this time, and be sure to ponder your own mortality and the fragility of life while you’re at it.
I’m not against Dick Clark. The dude was an icon and deservedly so. I’m not against stroke victims, either: his carrying on of that tradition was indeed brave, and if nothing else, brought a massive new sense of stroke awareness to the world. It was just completely the wrong time to annually do so. Have him do prime-time interviews or something, or just let him show up the first time after the stroke and retire gracefully to be an advocate for awareness and research. The complete and utter lack of sobriety (both in the inebriation sense and otherwise) of the occasion just highlighted the tragedy, year after year.
Imagine if you were at a St. Patrick’s Day party, drunk off your ass with green beer stains all over your shirt, desperately trying to grope your spouse or significant other (or just a random passerby, whatever), and everyone is partying and the music is awesome and the place is packed with cool people having the best time of their lives. And then the music stops, and the place goes silent as the TVs all switch to the federally mandated viewing of Stephen Hawking, in his chair, no longer able to work the infrared reader that allows him to type things into his voice box. And all you can do is stare. You have to stare. The beer has gone sour in your mouth (or maybe it was just Coors), someone is weeping off in the corner, and you just desperately wish he’d go away so you could finish with your drunken groping.
That’s my point. I hope ABC can let him rest in piece and don’t feel the need to install a webcam in his coffin so they can keep rolling out the live cam every year.