Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Q Toon: One More Voice We Will Never Hear Again

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Dec 28, 2016

This has been a bad year for popular music headliners: an incomplete list of the musicians we lost in 2016 includes David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Prince, Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Paul Kanter, Maurice White, Leonard Cohen, Leon Russell, and, sometime before dawn on Christmas Day, George Michael.

There was a temptation to base this week's cartoon on Michael's "Last Christmas."  Instead, the quotation in this week's cartoon, and the headline of this post as well, come from "White Light," a song George Michael wrote after recovering from a serious bout of pneumonia in 2012.
So I just kept breathing, my friends,
Waiting for the man to choose —
Saying this ain’t the day that it ends.
There’s no white light,
And I'm not through —
I’m alive, I'm alive,
And I've got so much more
That I want to do with the music.
Was it music that saved me?
Or the way that you prayed for me?
Michael's t-room arrest in Beverly Hills in 1998 prompted his coming out as bisexual, and could easily have sunk his career and soured his legacy. But just as there was a tension in his music between the profane ("I Want Your Sex," for example) and the sacred ("Praying for Time," among others),   numerous reports have come out since his death about his philanthropy: proceeds from "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" went to the Terrence Higgins Trust,a London HIV charity; and proceeds from "Jesus to a Child" went to a Childline, a London youth support center.

People are reporting on Twitter personal instances of Michael's charity which he had wanted to keep private. He volunteered anonymously at a homeless shelter, footed the medical bill for a TV game show contestant, and set up trusts for disabled children and adults.

So you can remember his public persona as a sexy, sensual pop phenomenon; or the private individual who saw social needs and worked to address them.
'Cause either way
I thank you.

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