Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

Summer of Death

It was a busy summer for obit writers around the country. From Michael Jackson, Ed McMahon and Farrah Fawcett to Walter Cronkite, Patrick Swayze, John Hughes and even beloved Taco Bell spokespuppy Gidget the Chihuahua, there were dozens of high-profile passings from May to August '09. While New York magazine and blogger Alex Balk at TheAwl.com can't seem to agree on who first coined the term — New York magazine even half-jokingly included a trademark symbol in their post — the folks over at the New York Times did some research in order to evaluate the term. Its findings? "No more celebrities had died than in past summers ... this summer could come to be known as the summer when baby boomers began to turn to the obituary pages first, to face not merely their own mortality or ponder their legacies, but to witness the passing of legends who defined them as a tribe, bequeathing through music, culture, news and politics a kind of generational badge that has begun to fray."