The Talking Dog

December 10, 2005, They lived it like they meant it...

An interesting confluence of events, the near simultaneous deaths of the premier comedian of the 1970's, Richard Pryor, at 65, of an apparent heart attack, and former Minnesota Senator and Presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy, who died at 89.

Pryor was in famously bad health, suffering from multiple sclerosis; at one point, he suffered from burns over 50% of his body in an accident. McCarthy... was 89, and was living in an assisted living situation.

Both represented the promise and the energy released by the 1960's, particularly, the late 1960's. McCarthy was a darling of many a well-meaning student, and his decision to run against sitting President Lyndon Johnson on the issue of the war was part of the matrix of decisionmaking that led LBJ not to run (and hence, led Nixon to win, which has ushered in so much of our recent history... )

And Richard Pryor was just the definition of comedy: numerous Grammy winning albums, appeared in 40 movies, everywhere, and he was out there, willing to use any form of language... obscenity back when it was still shocking (not to mention back when it was funny.) Nothing I can say about him will do him justice, so I won't say anything.

So... at a time when the energy and the promise of the 1960's and even the 1970's seems to be fading... two icons of that era... pass on the same day.