Ithaca Blog

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Beastie Boy

Much as we hate to write about dead people, as they become so prevalent as we age, we got to say something today about Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys.

We loved the Beastie Boys the moment we heard them, in 1986. We weren't supposed to. Our friends didn't. We played their CD at work and were made to take it off. It was stupid and vulgar.

That's what our white, college-people friends thought. We are white, too, and also went to college, so no offense. But we lived in DC at the time, and worked also with young African-American guys, and they considered the Beastie Boys funny and real.

Adam Yauch was maybe the most gifted one. He was smart in a way that my black friends saw, and white friends didn't. Years later maybe they did, when Mr. Yauch did exemplary work on behalf of the oppressed population of Tibet.

I admired him mightily for that, too. But I also liked the beats, the voice, the jokes.

And I liked him because he was a city-o. Brooklyn. Edward R. Murrow High School. A few years younger than me.

A few years younger than me. Dead of cancer of the salivary gland. Of the salivary gland?

The lesson is, I guess, take care of yourself, and enjoy life while you can. Do good work and be creative, even to the point (especially to the point?) of being different, or even outrageous. Don't be afraid.

And:  as per my old white DC friends: fuck 'em if they can't take a joke. Farewell, Adam Yauch.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

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