This Day in Death

2.4.16: Earth, Wind & Fire Co-Creator Maurice White – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 1:54 am February 10, 2016

 MAURICE_WHITEGotta hand it to the guy: They told him a suit made out of pure ivory wouldn’t be comfortable, but he wouldn’t budge. Sometimes a man just has to feel like he’s encased inside a giant mastodon tusk.

 

Maurice White, co-founder of legendary funky, souly-type band Earth, Wind & Fire, has died after a protracted battle with Parkinson’s disease. Also dead: usage of the Oxford comma in band names. As far as I’m concerned it doesn’t get any more soulful than proper grammar, and I, a white guy who was born in the 80s, would know a few things about soul.

The springy, elastic soul-pop of “Shining Star,” which White co-wrote, earned them their first Number One, and paved the way for hits like the joyful “Sing a Song,” the percussive and brassy “September,” their swinging cover of the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life” and the robotic disco of “Let’s Groove.” Rolling Stone included the group’s sweetly smooth 1975 single, “That’s the Way of the World,” on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

It seems to me that after White’s death, coupled with the very recent deaths of musicians Glenn Frey, Jimmy Bain, David Bowie, Dan Hicks, Paul Kantner, and others, it’s officially time to bury (tee hee! Death pun!) the “they always die in 3s” hogwash you people won’t stop clogging up my social media with.

All of those deaths have occurred in just the first five or so weeks of the year. And those are just the musicians you, Joe and Jane Jockstrap of Mooseknuckle, Indiana, have heard about. It doesn’t include musicians who may be extraordinarily famous in genres or parts of the world you don’t think about, or exceptionally-talented yet largely unknown musicians, or the huge contingent of notable non-musician deaths. Do you really think the giant space lizard that decides who lives and dies is catering its decisions to what you specifically know about? Nothing revolves around you, and I’m here to add some Galileo-level perspective to your myopic diet of selfie soufflés and… I don’t know, hashtag hashbrowns, maybe. I’ll come back to this part some other time.

What you’re really experiencing is a phenomenon known as apophenia. Simply put, your brain is forcing you to see nonexistent patterns, even if it requires tossing out evidence that disagrees with said patterns, because accepting the reality that shit just kinda happens without any kind of grand scheme is too existentially terrifying for your brain to process. The human brain: Just pretty much doing whatever for five million years.

So what’s the harm in holding up bullshit statistics if they make you feel more comfortable about the inevitable black sprawl of total inconsequence that is your death? Well, for starters that comfort is dishonest, and therefore evasive. You haven’t made peace with your mortality, and are actually actively denying it by denying how arbitrary death is. Secondly, since notable people die literally every day, deciding which three “count” is a shitty and judgemental thing to do. That kind of distinction should only be left to qualified and astonishingly square-jawed deathbloggers ahem hem.

And that’s how one little change in your life can make you a better, less cynical person. Next time I’ll explain how you can help enforce local parking ordinances by stealing hubcaps from parked ambulances. Hey, that spot is metered, big shot!

 

Source: Rolling Stone

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