Monday, December 19, 2005

Regarding John Spencer

Someone asked me why I didn't mention the passing of John Spencer. As big a West Wing fan as I am, and as much as I admired Mr. Spencer, it seemed odd to this person that I didn't note his passing and express my regrets.

I should explain, I guess, a sort of philosophy of mine about this blog, if such a fluffy thing can even have a philosophy.

It always bothered me when someone like Kathie Lee Gifford or the velociraptors of The View would bring their shows to a halt because they simply had to add their voices to those expressing regrets that someone had died. It always seemed to me to be a way to momentarily turn the spotlight on themselves, to make the moment about their own suffering, and how much the loss would impact them. ("He was a great inspiration to me, and not a day will go by that I won't think of him and miss him" etc.)

It always seemed that when someone passes away, regrets are so obvious they should go without saying in forums as inappropriate as morning shows and blogs. Maybe I'm wrong.

Anyway, I don't feel comfortable dwelling on people's passing here, even people I greatly liked and admired (like John Spencer). Otherwise the whole thing is liable to become about people I unintentionally slight... like who gets applause and who doesn't in those "In Memoriam" films at award shows.

That is not to say that I won't, from time to time, write about people when the spirit spontaneously moves me. And when I do, I apologize in advance to those I didn't write about. See? I'm angering people already... And angering the dead, to boot! Never a good idea.

Having said that, I would like to write about a tangential issue raised by Mr. Spencer's passing, which has come up in the trades: how the show's writers will deal with it. One of the trades mentioned that the issue is complicated by the scene from a show earlier this season that flashed forward three years to show Leo McGarry alive and well.

I just want to say, I can't speak for anyone else, but I think only the most churlish Comic Book Guy in the world would hold the writers to honoring the integrity of that flash-forward at this difficult time.

I think, given that they're dealing with the loss of a character they depended on and an friend they loved, we should be very grateful if the writers can just continue crafting the rest of the season in their usual flawless, elegant way.

No comments: