Yesterday the horror and film community lost a one of a kind talent, George A. Romero. Romero was the visionary who originally brought us Night of the Living Dead and thus inspired decades of scares. When we hear the word “zombie”, it’s Romero’s version of those undead monstrosities that shambles through our minds. I personally used that template for my own novels – the writing of which was a lifelong goal achieved. So needless to say, the passing of this legend has lingered at the forefront of my thoughts since hearing the news. George Romero was a legend in every sense of the word and his loss will be felt forever.
It occurred to me that the feeling of losing a legend is something we’ve had to work through on a seemingly regular interval recently. Why is that? Are notable figures and celebrities really passing any more than usual? That’s an absurd thought that is hard to shake because the sense of grief has enjoyed a short cycle of auto-fulfillment. For me the recent hits have been Adam West, Chris Cornell, and of course Carrie Fisher (whose appearance in The Last Jedi will probably have me break down in tears).
We live in a time of worthy idols and ever-advancing technology. Creative talent is everywhere if you’re willing to look beyond the lazy trends of reality television. The legendary talents that graced the silver screen and our televisions from our early years are regularly reinventing themselves or furthering cultural movements they founded. There are so many worthy escapes from the never ending onslaught of ‘hellfire and brimstone’ that current events/politics have become. Indeed, it’s a good time to be a fan of just about anything. So why the hell am I so down?
The internet is the root of our grief here. In its regular shrinking of our planet, the internet has brought everything pop culture into addiction feeding byte-sized (see what I did there?) doses. This over-accessibility of information has taken our entertainment icons and rocketed them to legendary status faster than ever before. It’s a double-edged sword to have information so accessible. Fans feel close attachment to celebrities they’ve never met through social networking and blogs. Obtaining a “fix” for any person of interest is as easy as a few mind numbing taps on a phone screen. The downside of this accessibility outlet is that you may feel less inclined to actually go meet someone in person.
I think that’s what is really tearing me up here… Even with the profound impact George A. Romero had on my life, I never met the man in person. After spending at least two decades worshiping Carrie Fisher for the marvel she was, I don’t know that I was ever in the same state as her. I passed up an opportunity to see Soundgarden in concert because I assumed I’d get another chance when schedules might be better. All my wife wanted to do was give Adam West a hug and we didn’t go because we didn’t want to deal with the con crowds or prices. What’s bringing me down is a profound regret that I didn’t do everything possible to make my fanboy dreams a reality by at least shaking the hand of these legends who’d shaped my life.
Where am I going with this? Who the the hell knows. I’m feeling inexplicably guilty and needed an outlet that, as I previously mentioned, the internet is the place for such things. I suppose the moral of the story is to fight the atrophied fandom modern day has created and get out there. Meet the fans, talk about your passions, celebrate the legends lost while maybe getting the chance to thank the living ones in person.
Thanks for the scares, Mr. Romero. I hear you were a hell of a guy in person and I’m sorry I never got the chance to meet you in this life.