Joker this, Joker that. Joker, Joker, Joker. I'm already reading buzz that Heath Ledger is a shoo-in Academy Award nominee, presumably for supporting actor, although from the way it's going he's the lead in this film. I haven't seen it - and probably won't - but suffice it to say I'd hate to be one of the other 4 actors nominated against him next February. There's no way a voter is going to give anyone else the award. So, my advice if you're looking for success ... die.
Death is strange business. In April, local baseball legend John Marzano died in his home, presumably of unknown circumstances. Yesterday, the coroner's report came out that said "postural asphyxia contributed to by blunt trauma and ethanol intoxication," said Jeff Moran, spokesman for the medical examiner's office. Moran said he could not elaborate. I can. Ethanol intoxication is being drunk. It's the leading cause of death among children (of all things) and contributes greatly to blunt force trauma, as you can imagine.
He couldn't (or wouldn't) elaborate because he didn't want to say that John was drunk and fell down the stairs. We're not supposed to speak ill of the dead, so people like Ledger and Marzano will be canonized, at least for the time being, until a tell-all book comes out that tells us what bastards they were. That's fine, of course, because supposedly a sufficient amount of time will have lapsed before we are told the truth.
The film I always go back to is "The Right Stuff." It's about the Mercury astronauts and the selection process that led to them being chosen. Two people in the film are depicted as "bad guys" - Lyndon Johnson and Gus Grissom. Both of them were dead long before the film was produced. The others are presumably saints because we don't hear a word about what jackasses they were. Whether they were or not is immaterial. We'll never know until they're dead.
When a celebrity or loved one dies, our thoughts generally go to the positive things, regardless of whether or not we argued or fought with them while they were alive. We'll remember the good things and fond memories of our time together. It's human nature or polite behavior, I'm not sure which. Later, it's left for a biographer like Albert Goldman or a filmmaker like Oliver Stone to examine the negative side and remind people what a horrible person we were.
I suppose, if we're lucky no one will ever write a book or make a film about our lives and the people around us will not read coroner's reports or go to a theater and watch our crummy lives exposed to the world.