Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rest in peace, Dennis Hopper

Dennis Hopper has died.

What is it about the quirky, weird guy in a movie that draws us to him? And maybe you aren't drawn to him, but I sure am.

Who can forget Hopper's character, Frank, in the cult classic, Blue Velvet? He was a whole lot of disturbed in that movie, yet who hasn't, deep down in our subconscious, desired to play such an insidious villain in a play or a film? Again, maybe you haven't... but I have.

In my opinion, we can all benefit from exploring our dark side, even if momentarily, just to acquire an opportunity to introduce our Yins to our Yangs. How much fun do you think Susan Lucci has had over forty years of playing the devious Erica Kane, on the daytime drama, All My Children? Do you think Kathy Bates didn't enjoy playing the sadistic Annie Wilkes in Misery, or that Marlon Brando didn't get off a little bit by immersing himself in the character of Colonel Walter E. Kurtz in Apocalypse Now?

Granted, it's probably not advisable to take up permanent residence in that "other side of the tracks" of our personalities. Our kids and spouses might not like us very much.

At least, however, these talented thespians have been granted an opportunity to get some dark crud out of their systems, whereas a lot of famous people have taken the fall by playing up to the straight and narrow so vehemently, they've gotten themselves into trouble by pursuing more covert methods of discovering the other side.

Many of the fallen have come from the clergy. The reverends Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart and Ted Haggard are a few who come to mind as people who just couldn't resist a little bit of "experimentation." And more recently, George Rekers, a high profile board member on the Family Research Council, was forced to resign amid revelations that he hired a twenty-year-old male escort from to accompany him on a two-week trip through Europe.

Mr. Rekers was previously an outspoken anti-gay adoption spokesman in Florida, a state which does not allow gay couples to adopt.

I guess what I'm saying, in quite a roundabout way, is that it's fairly difficult to try to live our lives as if we know what's best in all circumstances. It's okay to acknowledge our dark sides, to show them the light of day. Otherwise, they tend to surface in some ugly fashions. We've got both, so let's just admit it.

Dennis Hopper, I hope you made peace with your dark side. God speed.

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