This morning I heard an NPR reporter mention in a reverent tone that The Dark Knight features Heath Ledger in his last acting role. To that I say, “Big deal!” I resent feeling like an idiot for not knowing who Heath Ledger was before he died.
In order to cope with this resentment in a mature manner, I will dis’ readers who would lionize the man. But first …
- I admit The Dark Knight sounds pretty cool. I’ll probably see it (although not necessarily on the big screen).
- I know it’s common courtesy when speaking in public about a dead person to employ a reverent tone. This goes double if said dead person was relatively young, like say 29 — and goes triple if the deceased shared a birthday with my son #1.
- I admit to often being out of it when it comes to certain aspects of popular culture. For example, I doubt I could name more than 20 recording artists who have achieved substantial commercial success post-1989. Steely Dan doesn’t count.
- I know the authorities established it’s not Ledger’s fault his acting career was abruptly shortened.
- I know he was nominated for an Oscar for his role as Ennis Del Mar in the Oscar winner for best picture of 2005, Brokeback Mountain.
- I know, ladies, that he is — er, was — a hunk and his trademark was his deep voice.
But c’mon, Heath freakin’ Ledger? Give me a break!
We’re not talking about a Bogart or a Chaplin, DeNiro, Hoffman, Pacino, or even a Thomas Cruise Mapother IV. Not even close. Ledger’s acting career spanned a mere 16 years. From what I’ve read, it doesn’t sound like he was targeted for greatness on the levels of the guys I mentioned.
So can everyone please put a lid on the Heath Ledger obsession? A lid, you know, like the lid on the coffin that contains the man’s body. (Actually, I don’t know what was done with his body. But if it was put in a coffin, that coffin is no doubt a hunky one and if it could talk, it would have a deep voice.)
I think I feel a bit less like an idiot now— though some readers might argue I should feel more like one.
Despite the title of this post, I’m not barring commenters here from mentioning Heath Ledger (the title is, of course, a clever play on words I couldn’t resist — precisely for its cleverness). But I will predict, with confidence: Heath Ledger will not be the subject of another post on this blog.