24 January, 2008 at 1:17 pm (benjamin)

I dreamt I woke up this morning to find the strings from my venetian blinds wrapped around my neck and a thug from the Joker’s clown gang crouched by my bed. “They can’t all look like suicides,” he said. “Some have to look like accidental death or home invasions.” Then I woke up, and resisted the urge to clasp at my neck to see if the cords were really tangled around my throat.

Like Bryan, I don’t know why I have been pursuing the new reports of Heath Ledger’s death with such relentless fervor. I’d only even seen him in 10 Things I Hate About You and The Brothers Grimm, and he was not a ping on my Hollywood radar. I think the reason it — “resonate” is the wrong word, but I’m going to use it anyway — has resonated with me is because I read an Associated Press story after Brad Refro’s death about whether certain young celebrities and their trepidatious lifestyles necessitated the preparation of early obituaries. I don’t think that Ledger would have merited such preparation, nor do I hold much truck with the Rule of Three with celebrity deaths (inspired, I assume, by the Valens/Bopper/Holly crash), but thinking about the potential need for young obituaries and then reading one has left me with a need for details, as if specifics would provide me with a perspective that would allow me to not think about it again. And certainly to stop dreaming about it.

One last thing: for those who haven’t see it, this is a flier from the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, calling for a picketing of Ledger’s funeral in order to gleefully send him off to Hell for participating in Brokeback Mountain, claiming his death as a victory for God, and saying that this performance, this sin, is the only thing “relevant or consequential” he ever did. My first instinct was to picket the picketing with a simple Let He Who Is Without Sin… placard, but I prefer Jon Sung‘s idea: “a bunch of people dressed as Batman and the Joker beat the living shit out of [the WBC] in full view of news cameras.”

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