Wednesday, December 28, 2016
As I sadly suspected would happen, Carrie Fisher has died at the age of 60. I often use the phrase "fixture from my childhood" in these "ululate!" posts, but for Carrie Fisher, no truer phrase can be found. If you were a heterosexual male growing up in the 1970s and 80s, you probably had a crush on the doe-eyed Fisher—or at least on the strong, plucky character who made her famous: Princess Leia Organa from the Star Wars movies. (You may recall that she played an insane-tough-girl parody of Leia in "The Blues Brothers.")
It wasn't until many years later—the 90s and beyond—that I realized Fisher also had brains to match her looks* and her dazzling smile: she turned out to be a fairly prolific writer (Postcards from the Edge, which got made into a movie, is one of her most famous works, and she wrote several other books as well) with a humorously acerbic, cynical, articulate wit. She also worked behind the scenes in Hollywood as an in-demand screenwriter and script doctor.
This one hurts. Fisher was a hilarious nut in the many interviews she gave over the past several years, and that's how I'd like to remember her. It's a shame that we won't see her finish out the new Star Wars trilogy; there's going to have to be some major rewriting and/or recasting: if Star Wars is primarily a chronicle of the Skywalker clan, then Leia Organa was one of the most important Skywalkers. Writing her off as "dead off camera" is just as unimaginable to me as replacing her with another actress. There's only one incarnation of Leia, and that's Carrie Fisher's Leia.**
So it's goodbye, alas, to one of my first-ever childhood crushes, a woman who had looks, brains, drive, and talent. She has quit us far too soon, and all I'm left holding are the empty, unfulfilled would-haves, could-haves, and should-haves.
RIP, Carrie Fisher. I'm very, very sad to see you go.
UPDATE: Fisher's mother, Debbie Reynolds, is still alive at 84.
*Comedian Steve Martin tweeted essentially the same thought as what I just wrote, and he caught hell for it from his fellow lefties who, in their PC fury, felt he was being disgustingly sexist. Not being obtuse, I can tell that Martin's intention was the same as mine: self-deprecation, for it was truly stupid to assume the woman had only beauty going for her, and humbling to discover otherwise (in my defense, I fell in love with Fisher when I was in the second grade; sophisticated feminist thinking was largely beyond me at that point in my life). That's the compassionate spirit in which Martin meant his tweet. The PC crowd needs to realize that you see a woman's outer beauty first before you know anything about her brains or character—i.e., her inner beauty. Seeing is always prior to the discovery of depth. (By the way, the female assessment of men works the same way.)
**Charlie at the YouTube channel Emergency Awesome says that Fisher did manage to finish all her takes for the upcoming Episode VIII, so her footage for that movie is already locked in and therefore not a problem. Leia will appear, in full, in Episode VIII without the need for any CGI trickery to add the actress into various scenes. Charlie also adds that Leia's role in the new film is actually expanded from what it had been in the previous movie. To my mind, this is going to make it awkward transitioning from the second to the third film in the new trilogy because we're going from Leia, to more Leia, to no Leia at all. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, I suppose.