Archive for June 5, 2009

David Carradine, R.I.P.

Posted in Musings with tags , on June 5, 2009 by xxxicana

word_kung_fu Today I mourn the loss of another pop icon, David Carradine.   Of course, he was best known for his portrayal of Shaolin monk Kwai Chang Caine in the TV series Kung Fu and later as Bill in Tarantino’s Kill Bill flicks.

Ok, call me hokey, but I grew up watching Kung Fu and was really into it.  Tarantino was totally into it as well — after all in Pulp Fiction, Jules decides to leave his hitman lifestyle to “walk the earth. . . like Caine from “Kung Fu.”

Yeah, Kwai Chang Caine was one bad motherfucker — just walking the road, meetin’ people, playing his new age-y flute, and dispensing mono-syllabic bits of cracked wisdom.  I ATE IT UP!  [personal confession, I trained for a very short time at a Shaolin Kung Fu dojo a few years back].

I know, I know, this kind of show was guilty of stereotyping Asian peoples . . . but I think it also provide generic US society with a model for conflict resolution that fit the times.

Lessons from Kung Fu:

1.  Be in the here and now.

2.  Do not initiate violence, and avoid it if possible.

3.  If all else fails, whale on their asses with fancy roundhouse kicks.

4.  Perseverance matters — sometimes you have to sit in the rain for a long time to prove your worthiness.

I am relieved that Carradine’s death may have been accidental; an auto-erotic session gone bad.  Hey, the guy was 72 years old!  He survived some real hard living and every moment of it was etched into his face.  I gotta respect a guy that could still be into kinky sex in his 70s . . . but CANNOT fathom suicide.  Oh, it’s just my Catholic upbringing . . . suicide is the only sin that cannot be forgiven.  But it is also philosophical.  Except in really extenuating circumstances [terminal, painful illness], I reject suicide as cheating and the ultimate selfish act.  Yes, I realize that there are some that would disagree with me . . . including the Sylvia Plath fan club.  But that’s how I see it.

So, David Carradine, thanks for the many years of cheesy “oriental[ist]” performances.  May you find a beautifully illustrated copy of the Kama Sutra in your next plane of existence.