Leave it to The Onion to kind of sum up the disconnected thoughts I had on the death today of movie-star-turned-gossip-page icon Elizabeth Taylor, which is going to be the lead story in a lot of American newspapers tomorrow, despite a) that whole war and natural disaster thing taking place far, far away and b) the fact that I wonder if people under the age of 40 have any sense of who Elizabeth Taylor once was...beyond her strange friendship with Michael Jackson.
I mean, I'm an ancient 52 and by the time I was old enough to become aware of her, it wasn't so much from movies -- that was mostly winding down, even way back then -- but because she was all over the supermarket checkout line, what with her many marriages and divorces and what not. She was clearly a great and stunningly actractive actress -- I learned that later in life seeing some of her old movies like "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" -- but even by the late 1960s it seemed like she was becoming kind of a paleo-Paris Hilton, more of a celebrity for being a celebrity than anything else. She did ultimately contribute a lot -- an early fighter for AIDS awareness, for example -- and she'll be missed for that, as well as for the way she once defined glamour, a long time ago.
Still, I wonder if her passing is a bigger deal to the generation of people who edit newspapers than to the generation of people who don't read them.