David Carradine Fans: Shame OR Pride?

Fans of the prolific character actor should take comfort in knowing that Carradine had at least a half-dozen projects in the can at the time of his death. First up is a guest shot on Tuesday’s episode of Mental. – from E! Online’s coverage of David Carradine’s death, June 5, 2009.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Kudos to E! for taking it to the media, so transfixed by the mundane details of David Carradine’s death with their usual auto-erotic asphyxiation bias. It’s no different than the way the media consistently reported on only the soldiers and innocent civilians who died during the early years of the Iraq War, while stubbornly ignoring Donald Rumsfeld’s request that they speak about the dozens of people in Iraq who weren’t killed or dismembered.

The refrain is a familiar one, no? The media misses the story: David Carradine is a star! A questionably-strangled one, but a star nonetheless! He’s in a guest appearance on the landmark television show “Mental”, which I’m told is on the Fox Network. He’s in six films currently in post-production! What would Detention be without the role of Principal Hoskins? I mean, that’s got to be a meaty role- you can’t have detention without a principal!

It only starts there, of course. In Six Days in Paradise, he got billing over Michael Madsen AND George Kennedy!  As Clive Jonis, he dares to chronicle the rain in the epic film, “The Rain Chronicles”. He manages to involve himself in a storyline involving Michelle Yeoh in Su-Qi Er, a movie about a man living during the Qing Dynasty. Chances are, he is that man (IMDB didn’t specify). Not Michelle Yeoh, Miss Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon herself. She’s second in line to… David Carradine.

And let us not forget, he will be in the eagerly-anticipated “Night of the Templar” as Shopkeeper. The movie stars Paul Sampson as Lord Gregoire, “a medieval knight bent upon blood-thirsty revenge”- the best kind, right? And Carradine is likely to be critical in this film- good luck getting blood-thirsty revenge, Lord Gregoire, without a shopkeeper! Where are you getting your instruments of torture without a shopkeeper, Amazon.com?

And yet, with unemployment at 9.4%, and the David Carradine feel-good story of ample work here to remind us that it’s okay to laugh again, the media insists on focusing on which rope was tied around what genetalia, who chokes how long before pain becomes pleasure, and just how justified it is to think a man can do anything he wants in Thailand.

For shame, media. You buried the lead the day they buried David Carradine.

Not to be a sentimental fool, but whatever happened to not speaking ill of the dead?

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: News media, I’ve gotta say. The way you’ve been handling this David Carradine thing is freaking me out a little. The ghoulish and unnecessary details continue to leap unexpectedly out of the headlines of even the blandest websites. WordPress.com, why are you telling me where I can find pictures of Carradine’s naked corpse? CNN news, why are you barraging me with tawdry details while I’m on the treadmill at the gym? CNN! Talk to me about tax hikes and the swine flu! Don’t discuss the history of erotic asphyxiation! Even you, MSN.com. I visit you in search of Bundt cake recipes, and I come away with a recipe for a scrotal square knot.

Granted, the whole situation is freaky, and it strikes me as the kind of tragedy that would really hit a family hard. However, having never met the deceased, I would prefer to be left unscathed. This is where 24 hour news coverage becomes a serious drag, as does the public’s apparent unblinking fascination with the sordid and intimate details of public figures. Not to be a sentimental fool, but whatever happened to not speaking ill of the dead? Apparently it’s more important to have salacious headlines and increased web traffic. The unceasing attention to and strange disapproval of the situation surrounding Carradine’s death could lead an outsider to believe that he was some sort of evil, hated public figure. His movies were good! He died in a mysterious, disturbing manner, but most importantly, he’s dead now, and that’s sad! Can we move on?

I think we may need to give the news media a bit of a breather. It appears to be on overload; popular broadcast channels have too many hours to fill with breaking stories and urgent information. A few concessions from the American public might be in order—perhaps a general agreement permitting live networks to take a few minutes to air some utterly useless footage once in awhile. Really, would it hurt anything if news anchors spent twenty minutes thumb wrestling or discussing their cats every once in awhile? Perhaps the cameraman could go outside to capture a cloud shaped like a duck that one of the interns spotted during her lunch break. If there are no looming cold fronts or impending hurricanes, the weatherman might indulge viewers with a brief tap routine. At this point, I’d rather watch Wolf Blitzer tie and untie his shoes Mr. Rogers style for fifteen minutes than hear anymore horrible details about the unfortunate death of David Carradine.

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