January 19, 2007

"I'm Art Buchwald, and I just died."

Funny. He wants you to laugh. [ADDED: Hope the link works now. MORE: Actually, the Times is making it really hard to link to the video. Go here and then look for the video in the sidebar.]

AND: Here's Buchwald's last column, written to be published after his death. He has surprisingly little to say about death, perhaps nothing at all. He says a little something about life and about dying. He made a decision to forgo dialysis, and he says that decision was his and it was "healthy." He doesn't expound, and I suppose he means for us to find humor of this use of the word "healthy" when the decision would kill him. Not having dialysis was utterly unhealthy, but the decision could still be healthy. A decision is something that occurs in your mind.

12 comments:

Cedarford said...

Another literary notable made the same decision to forgoe dialysis and die at a good old age - James Michener.
His parting message was that he had a rich full life and it was time...

Justin said...

I may be missing something here, but the video at the first link doesn't seem to have anything to do with Art Buchwald. It's also not very funny. I think you got the wrong link.

Maxine Weiss said...

"I may be missing something here, but the video at the first link doesn't seem to have anything to do with Art Buchwald. It's also not very funny. I think you got the wrong link."---Justin

This is exactly why I never click links. ---I don't trust that I'll be directed to where I need to go. I don't trust someone else's judgment.

Isn't it enough that I even bother to visit the site? Must I now be ordered around and go where someone else thinks I should ???

(Hey, would someone please read me the final article?)

Peace, Maxine

Ricardo said...

I think Art meant the word "healthy" to mean "the right decision for him". And I think it was, since he actually got many more months of life than the doctors had originally predicted. Doing things his own way was something that he specialized in throughout his entire life and career, and I'm going to miss his presence, very much.

vbspurs said...

Buchwald died? RIP.

But now the Kennedys are stuck with only Arthur Schlesinger Jr to make fun of during their Hyannis Port clambakes.

Cheers,
Victoria

reader_iam said...

The performance linked below is weird, over the top, and even insane, a little.

I wonder if Art might have gotten a chuckle out of it.

What's It All About, Alfie?

reader_iam said...

Now that I've stopped chuckling (too mean of me, but what's with those big car sketches in the background, anyway?), here's a video having to do with the recording of the actual original version of the song that struck Buchwald:

Cilla Black, Burt Bacharach, et al

Sorry to go on about this, but I'm saddened by Buchwald's passing, uplifted by his approach, and utterly charmed by the fact he was pondering this particular song enough to have made a point of including it in his own, final column.

Thanks for indulging me here.

Joe said...

I always enjoyed his columns. Like Wodehouse, he could poke fun at his subjects without a hint of malice.

Anonymous said...

The Wodehouse link as suggested...

I can very much see Art Buchwald or H L Mencken or e e cummings nodding in appreciation at the remark:

"I could see that, if not exactly disgruntled, he was very far from being gruntled."

This same Wodehouse fellow so understood the emotionally stunted life of the average Englishman:

"At the age of eleven or thereabouts women acquire a poise and an ability to handle difficult situations which a man, if he is lucky, manages to achieve somewhere in the later seventies."

That notwithstanding, I should warn adherents to this fine blog that I fully intend, soon, to whisk our esteemed hostess, Prof Althouse, to some seductive Arab desert encampment and thence to parley some extra-ordinary Anglo-American relations.

amba said...

That would be, "He wanted you to laugh."

amba said...

And maybe he should have said, "Hi, I was Art Buchwald."

Either way, it's the ultimate oxymoron.

Yul Brynner did something similar, but somberer, with his posthumous "Don't smoke" ad.

Maxine Weiss said...

Well, actually.....it's not encouraging at all.

The song is rather depressing. Alfie was a bit of a Doofus--a Schlub.

The song talks about someone who never had true love, and has been on a fruitless search..."only fools are kind" and "I guess it's wise to be cruel"....

You know, at 80 years of age, when it's all coming to an end...if that's where your head is at, ....

....I don't find that very encouraging.

Read the lyrics...that song is rather dark, and not encouraging at all. Certainly not inspirational. Alfie never found the lost love he was desperately seeking.

My funeral song is "Yesterday Once More" by the Carpenters.....and how the "years just melt away".

I know what people will want to hear, and what they won't, music-wise, at my week-long funeral extravaganza!

Even in death, Buchwald doesn't get it.

Peace, Maxine