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Today’s world is filled to the brim with famous people. The children of famous peoples children are famous. Times change, for the worst it would seem, forget the Sermon on the Mount, it is the dumb who will inherit the earth, they already have. Dennis Hopper dies. Sex and The City 2 is released to massive crowds. I would laugh, if it weren’t so utterly tragic.
I have toyed with the idea of writing something about Dennis Hopper since hearing of his death at the weekend, but I put it off in favour of watching some of his movies. A far better tribute I think. But seeing as I have to write something, and it seems to have gone unmentioned on the site… I felt obliged.
The details of his upbringing and early career in Hollywood are well documented, as is his ability to consume drugs and still act the pants off everyone who dared share a screen with him, with the possible exception of Jack Nicholson with whom Hopper partied regularly, including sharing an acid trip at the grave of D.H Lawrence. You can read all you want about his life, mostly in legal documents and in the book ‘Hollywood Hellraisers’ which is excellent.
No matter your own personal take on drug use, it would be impossible to not admire Hoppers ability of consumption. Hopper, along with Fonda and Nicholson changed Hollywood forever with their iconic ‘Easy Rider’, which was then, and remains today the template for counter-culture revolution. A film it may be, but the fact that the stars were beaten and berated regularly by angry hillbillies while making the movie is testament to what it cost to be anti-war, pro-drug, long haired and alive in the sixties and seventies. If you take in to account that they smoked real marijuana in the movie, all the infighting and the attacks from idiots, it is a miracle the movie got made at all.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not that only good people die, it is just that we tend to notice when they do. Sadly, the tide is turning and the desire to mourn every waste of space that happened to become famous is more and more apparent, you need only look at the disgusting way the UK media and public mourned the horrid, racist, ignorant waste of space, Jade Goody when she died. Despite being famous for her lack of intelligence, and then for being a racist, she is regarded as a role model for young women.
One day we will be forced to mourn everyone who dies, when in reality we should just ignore them in death, as we should have in life.
Society has become addicted to celebrity in a way that is far more sinister than it ever was… Now that anyone can become famous through the likes of reality TV, we are bombarded with people who don’t deserve your admiration… People who have been famous for 5 minutes, and who will fade into obscurity. Today Hollywood is over flowing with people like Miley Cyrus, or that kid with the hair-do from High School Musical, people who are the complete polar opposite of the likes of Dennis Hopper, Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty… Real hellraisers who had the talent to back up the fact they smoked, snorted and shagged their way to a level of super stardom that, come their demise, would afford them a long list of tributes written by complete strangers who know nothing more about them than what they read in books or take from their many, many stellar performances which changed not only the actors lives, but that of the people watching.
Two things happened lately, ‘American Idol’ announced it’s latest winner, and Dennis Hopper died. Which one do you think more people cared about most?
Dennis Hopper, actor, director, painter, photographer, republican (not a typo) and undisputed legend of the silver screen died after a decade long battle with prostate cancer at the age of 74.