Sunday, July 12, 2015

Nil nisi bonum

"Don't speak ill of the dead."

That's an old phrase that most adults are aware of.  I guess the easy answer to why it exists is that the dead can not defend themselves, they can't speak for themselves. Maybe it's one of the things that keeps polite society polite.

There has been a well deserved out pouring of nice words about the actor Roger Rees. He just passed away after a long and distinguished career. He deserves each and every accolade.

What he didn't deserve was the opprobrium heaped upon him during his recent stint in the Broadway musical, The Visit., the show he would be in until just weeks before his death.

Broadway denizens connected to The Visit, and all those not affiliated either, read the internet Broadway chatboards as a matter of course. These mostly vile places are populated with anonymous and mostly ill-informed dolts that can freely spray their venom about most any subject they like with no pretense of accountability.

During the recent short lived run of The Visit, Rees suffered the brickbats of these clowns on a daily basis. These buffoons, some of which switching over to strongly praise Rees after his death, were relentless in their scorn and disdain for Rees.

Actors, athletes and politicians must surely be used to this kind of treatment. It is part and parcel of their chosen profession. They stay in the kitchen in spite of the heat. But it doesn't make it right, and it is demeaning of all, particularly those, and I use the word loosely, critics.

Not speaking ill of the dead may be fine for a well mannered posthumous appraisal of a person. Maybe better still would be not speaking ill of the living, as it would lead to much more goodwill in the here and now.   

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