Don’t miss the last NYT Mag of 2008. A great collection of rembrences of those who past this year that evades the language of obituary to focus instead on a less-examined facet of a life, or illuminated a new way to appreciate the contributions of that life. I particularly enjoyed ADRIAN NICOLE LEBLANC’s tribute to George Carlin. I loved how she conveys the essence of a Carlin bit in 30-odd words:
Class Clown,” his 1972 album (still considered a masterpiece among comedians), included “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” the legendary bit about the way Americans avoid words that convey reality.
And to know how much support he lent a 15-year-old would-be-comic tells us more about him than an aside about his short-lived sitcom on FOX.
Liz Miele, who is now 23, was 15 when she wrote to 45 comics seeking advice. Two responded: Judd Apatow urged her to study English. Carlin called. He told her to keep writing, always. Four years later, they met for a soda in the lobby of the Carlyle, where he opened his laptop and showed her how he organized thousands of idea files. She sent him progress reports, and he cheered her on until two days before he died.
Read the whole magazine if you can. To think about how others are remembered for their lives gives us some direction as we reorder our own for the new year.