September 01, 2009

Thinking about Icons

Updated: When I rushed this post through production this morning it really hadn't had time to adequetely perculate.

It is apparently a tough time for being an Icon. The media has announced several times the past few months that this Icon or that Icon has passed on to where ever it is Icons go after a long Iconic life.

I think Farrah was the first to go followed shortly by Micheal. Now Teddy. If I was one to see a conspiracy under every rock I might say something fishy is afoot here, someone is offing our Icons. In MJs case that may turn out to be true but I digress.

The fact that we call these people by their first name would indicate that they somehow touched our life but I for one couldn't generate much remorse for the loss of these beloved Icons. I was beginning to think I must be a tad on the un-empathetic side. Or maybe I'm just not Iconish enough to recognize an Icon when I see one. So today I set out to rectify my moral deficiency.

Webster tells me that an Icon is a conventional religious image typically painted on a small wooden panel and used in the devotions of Eastern Christians. No, none of our Icons fit that profile. Or: an object of uncritical devotion : Idol. Now I may be getting somewhere.

1 : a representation or symbol of an object of worship; broadly : a false god
2 a : a likeness of something or b: obsolete : Pretenter, Imposter (Hmmm)
3 : a form or appearance visible but without substance (Interesting)
4 : an object of extreme devotion
5 : a false conception : Fallacy (Bingo)

What a relief! Its not that I am the old cold hearted bastard I thought I was, I'm just not into Idol worship. That said I think we can characterize our modern day Idols as those that gained a degree of fame and notoriety in their chosen fields, but their longevity in the public consciousness is the result of the caricatures they became not necessarily the success they achieved. None of them used their talents or notoriety to move on to bigger or better endeavours.

Obviously in most cases these are severely flawed or damaged human beings whose lives in total call out more for pity than for adoration. For those in the Icon anointing business I would suggest that Icons really need to be on a higher plane than the rest of us mere mortals. That is a tall order. Otherwise save the iconography for the One that deserves it.

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