Today I read about the deaths of two people who made my life more difficult than it would have otherwise been, not that we ever met.
Helen Gurley Brown, the editor for Cosmo, who singlehandedly taught women to hate their bodies for over 30 years, died at 90 years old.
Carlo Rambaldi, the creator and puppeteer for Spielberg's E.T., the first fictional character to ever terrify me, died at 86.
I see there's a lot of debate about whether or not Brown counted as a feminist. On the one hand, she was one of the first to celebrate a single lifestyle rather than assuming every woman's goal was to get married. On the other hand, she started the trend of women's magazines focusing exclusively on self-improvement and relationships. I recall hearing her quoted at one point in claiming that if a woman wasn't beautiful, she wasn't trying hard enough.
However I feel about her message, she was an impressive businesswoman in a time when women weren't credited for having the brains or temperment to succeed in business.
Mr. Rambaldi's passing isn't making much of a splash. He's a special effects artist from an earlier time, one swiftly passing out of fashion in favour of computer animation. However, I still recall the first moment I saw E.T. The creature shuffled out of the shed, its long skeletal fingers grasping the candy. It looked like a living, breathing creature and I believed every second of it. Rambaldi's skilled artistry is what created that illusion. Jaws looks fake when seen without an adrenaline rush. E.T. still looks real to me and I'll admit that I still have a little flash of instinctive apprenhension when I see a picture. A little flashback to that terrified child in the theatre.