It’s a sadder, stupider world without Lou Reed in it. That’s something I still dwell on sometimes. Poets don’t live forever, and neither do rock stars. In fact, both have a habit of dying young. Nobody could accuse Lou Reed of flaming out or not living up to his full potential. He put in decades of great work. But if Lou isn’t immortal, neither is anyone else, and that’s scary. Nothing puts the fear of God into me like contemplating the mortality of people who ought to be immune to the usual metaphysical realities. Of course, being remembered far and wide is its own kind of immortality, and there’s some element of magic in it, or magical thinking, to go on venerating someone who no longer actually exists. What are the philosophical implications of collectively preserving the memory of one person while unknown numbers come and go without leaving a trace even within their own immediate circle? That’s a heavy question, especially in a world where cats on the internet are given more personhood than entire groups of people. It should make you weigh who you allow to have the most impact in your life. And I’m having a minor existential crisis because I realize, not for the first time, that it means more to me whether or not Lou Reed exists than basically most of the people I’m related to, or have contact with, or have met. I don’t really particularly care whether or not most of my relatives exist in the physical plane (immediate family excepted, of course, Mom I know you’re reading this) but it truly, deeply bums me out that Lou Reed doesn’t.


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