How to React to Three Celebrity Deaths in December

(1) Augusto Pinochet. You are dancing in the street. It’s a pity that he died too comfortably, and that we did not get “closure” through the criminal process, but my, it’s great that he’s dead. Let the champagne corks fly.
(2) James Brown. You feel rather sad and wistful, especially if you grew up with that DC Sound in your ears. He had soul, and he was super bad. He may have had a fucked up personal life, but the man was one hell of a performer and his contribution was major. Let us raise our glasses and drink to his bad self.
Here’s a quick James Brown/LSD anecdote. Once upon a time a buddy and I were doing acid. As the drug’s effects were coming on, we listened to the Greatist Hits CD on which the second track is Sex Machine (Get Up). It begins with James Brown proudly proclaiming how he intends to do his thing. Then the music kicks in, — a-pampampampampampampam Get Up, Get On Up — and suddenly you’re in this exquisitely transparent and open texture, a perfect balance between the instrumental parts, with just enough space between the notes, and a bad-ass groove that defies description. Then come the self-referential lyrics about taking it to the bridge, threatening to take it to the bridge, building up an immense tension… it is music that celebrates itself, boasts and braggs about itself, revels in itself. I remember listening, incredulous, astonished at the genius of this achievement. I decided then and there that this was one of the greatest songs in the history of recorded music.
This is, by the way, an example of the Acidmaster’s Paradox. It often happens that tripping on LSD takes you not farther from but closer to the true nature of reality. You may be fucked up beyond reason, yet you are seeing things revealed as they are. I knew Get Up was great, but I didn’t fully appreciate its magnificence until I heard it while tripping.
But I digress.
(3) Gerald Ford. You don’t really give a shit one way or the other. You dismiss the mainstream media bullshit about how heroically he healed the Watergate-traumatized nation by letting Trickie Dick slide. There was a deal, so he dealt. He played the game. Now we are hearing about how he told Bob Woodward — gasp! — that the Iraq invasion was a mistake! Oh, what genuis, what vision! By the way, it was no “mistake.” It was a major crime against humanity for which its authors deserve to hang, not unlike the above-mentioned General, come to think of it.
If you went three for three above, high five.