Beth Callaghan

Recent Posts by Beth Callaghan

RIP, Soul Men

Since John Paczkowski’s still out of range, Beth Callaghan will be posting Digital Daily today.

In a stunning turn of events over the weekend, both Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes passed away–Mac of complications from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease, and Hayes from as-yet unknown causes.

The immediate impact and response, of course, is displayed on the Web, with the now-customary ritual proliferation of tribute videos on YouTube–at last count, there were 188,000 for Isaac Hayes and 137,000 for Bernie Mac.

Legendary music icon Hayes was primarily known as the embodiment of ’70s soul. As composer of “Theme from Shaft,” he won a Grammy and established himself as the king of old-school cool. To younger generations, he’ll be remembered as the voice of “Chef” on Comedy Central’s “South Park”–a role he played from 1997-2006. Hayes was 65.

Still-rising star Bernie Mac reached prominence in Spike Lee’s 2000 film “The Original Kings of Comedy,” and starred in Steven Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s Eleven” films. His own sitcom, “The Bernie Mac Show,” ran from 2001 to 2006. His cutting-edge brand of humor set him apart from his contemporaries, and often received attention from critics. Mac was recently scolded by Barack Obama’s campaign after a surprise appearance at a fund-raiser for the presidential candidate during which he used crude language. He was 50.

The two had recently been shooting a film, “Soul Men,” in which they were starring alongside Samuel L. Jackson.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work