Sunday, February 26, 2017

RIP Chez Pazienza

The Resistance lost a powerful voice yesterday. I woke up to read Bob Cesca's post that his partner in podcasting, and my friend, Chez Pazienza passed away last night. No one has said how so far and he was only 47. This is the definition of not fair, and where lots of people will throw around phrases like "no justice, too soon, unbelievable," and so on. As internet social circles go though, I considered him a real friend. I could send him messages and he would reply as though I was a real person and not some anonymous collection of 1s and 0s in the Aether. I miss him already.

Far more eloquent and passionate writers than I have already weighed in on Facebook about Chez' passing. I simply want to be part of the chorus. How can a nobody like me expect to add something original or moving? I was just honored to be a tiny junior fanboy of both Bob and Chez, Listening to them always felt like I was the freshman sort of on the periphery of the cool seniors' table. But instead of making fun of or belittling me when I asked a question or had something I wanted to share Chez listened and thoughtfully responded. That was the kind of guy he was, though he would overgeneralize about how stupid other (republican) people were, one on one respect and common courtesy were the rule for Chez.

Too soon, for sure. I listened and read each of Chez' laments for all the recent passing of artists who made such an impact on and enriched our lives. I never thought for a second that he would be joining them. No justice, oh man oh man. If Chez divided the world into the good guys and the bad guys, as I suspect he really did in a way reminiscent of the great theologian Reinhold Niebuhr whom I once compared him to, then our team is down so many starters and quality backups while the bad guys are all still sitting pretty and sucking the life out of everyone.

Hearing the news this morning made me immediately think of Hunter S. Thompson, not that I have any reason to believe it was suicide or that Chez really had much in common with the Gonzo legend. But Thompson fought the good fight against Richard Milhous Nixon, he lived through Reagan and watched the wave of enlightenment crest in the '60s and steadily recede. Finally, in the wake of the reelection (ho ho) of George W. Bush he had finally had enough and exercised the option of cashing in his chips. Chez experienced 9/11 at a deeply personal level and dedicated a good portion of his life fighting back at those who exploited the tragedy of that day. It would not surprise me in the least to find out that the triumph of cartoon fascism broke his heart.

I re-titled this blog a while back because gloominess just wasn't appropriate, besides I felt Chez had the market on gloominess kind of cornered. What I thought at the time was how much justice and fairness really are human constructs, the universe could give less than a warm squirt of piss what happens to any of us. Tentacles of course are popularly associated with the cosmic horror of H.P. Lovecraft. And the only way to make sense of Chez' passing without delving into conspiracy, which he would have absolutely hated, is to accept that the universe is utterly indifferent. We care that he is gone; but the stars don't.

Not to be sentimental pseudo-religious because I know he'd hate that too, but I hope that Chez is up in a heaven of his liking, hanging out with Bowie and Prince, and all the others he respected and admired who preceded him there. Your battle is over Deux Ex Malcontent, the rest of us will carry on. The good fight was worth fighting when Chez was on Earth and he fought it well; it remains the good fight today and everyday hereafter it will be worth it.

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