Friday, January 8, 2016

Ringo Cried (and so did I)

Ringo Cries over John Lennon's Death 

This  video moves me so deeply. Ringo offers such genuine sadness and affection for his lost friend that I am moved to tears every time I view it. One of the comments posted below the video states"Great video. But where was the crying?" and in a literal sense, it's true, we don't see tears rolling down Ringo's cheeks. But, when I see this one I am reminded of some of the earlier movie performances of Dustin Hoffman, who, I suppose, to distinguish himself looked for a distinct 'other' approach to acting and so we see him portray people in the throws of deep emotions not by sobbing  or going into rages, but coping with the situation of experiencing them in the presence of others who are watching, by surpressing them. That's real behavior, or at least one common variety of it, and that's what I see here. Clearly, that's what Ringo is doing as, casting about for something to say while being exposed socially as few humans ever have in this network televised interview by Barbara Walters, he offers up the platitude that "The music was always more important than anything else. To me personally..." But then to finish the statement in a way that would make sense and look somewhat dignified to the humongous audience of witnesses to this awkward moment he finds himself saying "You'd have to ask the other two!" and here we see him stumble, in classic Freudian fashion, into the very truth that the self protective part of him had strategized to avoid. He witnesses himself saying "... It sounds so new to me when you say that now." (that there are only 3  Beatles remaining alive) demonstrating without even knowing it that he has come to yet another level of self acknowledgement that John is gone forever. Within a matter of seconds he reflexively says to Walters and her camera crew off screen "Do you want to stop that now?" meaning, turn the camera off, please. He was attempting to prepare for what must have seemed like an impending reflex reaction of sobbing that would render him unsuitable for a televised interview. This doesn't come, but we are given a fleeting glimpse into his deep sadness.

I was something like 15 when I first became aware of the Beatles and they WERE different. Different in a wonderful way that we kids devoured. Unlike the slick, polished, artificial entertainers we saw our parents watching on Television - unlike Sinatra, and Steve and Edie, and Sammy Davis Jr., they relied on no artifice; their stage persona was who they really were. And they were real friends from the same neighborhood who had learned to sing and play together and who came of age together. In those first glimpses of The Fab Four on the Ed Sullivan Show we saw behind the drum kit a down to Earth, charming, but slightly goofy kid, Ringo Starr, doing his best while caught up in the frenzy of his own unexpected ascendance to super stardom. In this video, though, we see a mature man, someone who has learned well how to be in the public eye and cope with stardom, but whose basic humility and decency hasn't changed since his boyhood. He is world weary, as he should be, having experienced and endured so much and in this moment we see him rising to the responsibility to say "something" and hopefully "the right thing" and doing his human, level best to account for himself and show proper respect for his fallen friend and comrade in arms.

 NOTE: In another video to be found on YouTube titled Ringo Cries for George Harrison we see Ringo in another televised interview. At the end of relating a very short anecdote about the last time he saw George (Ringo had gone to see him while he was laying, deathly ill, in a hospital in Switzerland) tears did begin to roll down Ringo's cheeks. To save face and carry on he says to the interviewer, "God, it's like Barbara Fucking Walters here, isn't it?"

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