Sunday, September 3, 2023

RIP Jimmy Buffet Inc. LLC

A lot of people are mourning Jimmy Buffet today.  Don't feel sorry for a Billionaire!

I mentioned before about Parrotheads - Boomers who spend their dreary lives in a cubicle or some other drone job, and then go wild on the weekends at Jimmy Buffet concerts or hanging out and drinking syrupy sweet Jimmy Buffet Margaritas or having a "Cheeseburger in Paradise" while staying at  Jimmy Buffet Resort and Casino or even the Jimmy Buffet Trailer Park, before retiring from the drone factory and moving to a Jimmy Buffet retirement community.

I kid you not, all of these things exist - as well as his fleet of airplanes, boats, yachts, and so on and so forth.  And there is much more I didn't mention - Jimmy Buffet beer, Jimmy Buffet liquor, Jimmy Buffet clothes - this guy has more licensing and endorsement deals than an NBA star or Harley Davidson.

Of course, more power to him - he figured out how to turn his "wasted away in Margaritaville" and his apparent laid-back persona into a lifestyle that millions can latch onto - and bring a bit of light into otherwise darkened lives.  For some folks, this is all that keeps them from a pit of despair.

But as much as he sells his "laid back" lifestyle, you will find that Jimmy Buffet Inc. is not so laid-back when some schmuck decides to open a bar and call it "Margaritaville" in homage to his favorite star.  They will swoop down on you faster than McDonald's will, if you decide to open a diner and name it after yourself (and your name happens to be McDonald!).

I have enjoyed listening to his music in the past.  I bought a five-CD set, as I recall, of his greatest hits.  And I went to one Jimmy Buffet concert, but I kind of felt like it was more of a marketing experience for Boomers than a musical event.  They no longer let you party in the parking lot -  you have to go in and buy their "Land Shark" beer instead.  I mean, they have a business to run and bills to pay.

I've been to Disney World a couple of times, too.  And while I enjoyed it, I am not a "fan" of Disney Corporation as some people are.  You know, the folks who have Disney stickers plastered all over the back of their minivan, and the mouse ears on the antenna, and the annual pass sticker.  They will bore you for hours about the "secret tips 'n tricks" to enjoying your Disney experience and "beating all the lines!"  Same shit, different corporation.

It is no different to people pledging their lives to Chevy trucks or Harley-Davidsons.  People actually get corporate logos tattooed on their bodies..  What's next?  Bar codes?   It's OK to just like something without being a "fan" of it.  Fandom is a dead-end, personally, and can backfire in a big way when the fan you pledged your life to, ends up being less than you thought, or worse yet, does something horrible, as routinely happens with celebrities.  When that happens, it puts fans in the awkward position of defending dog-fighting or pedophilia. And some do, too - they can't admit they were wrong - a position many Trumpers are finding themselves in today.  People who live their lives in the reflected glow of celebrity are sad and depressed people who don't believe in themselves enough to be their own fan.

I don't hate Jimmy Buffet.  I don't even know him.  The laid-back persona they sell on television may be him, or just an act he puts on, like those podcasters who get outraged on cue, because outrage sells.  I think we are all mourning the loss of that persona, and if that was the real Jimmy, then RIP.  But there is another Jimmy Buffet, who is a Billionaire head of a corporate marketing machine.  I am not sure I would like that guy, although I can admire his business acumen.

Of course, life goes on after death - look at how the Elvis Presely estate (or that of Micheal Jackson) keeps chugging along, decades after death.  Jimmy Buffet Inc. will keep going, and despite a massive hurricane, the new Margaritaville complex on Ft. Myers Beach will continue to be built, and no doubt more casinos, resorts, trailer parks, and retirement communities will be built as well.  That is, until one day, no one will remember who he was and one by one, these businesses may fall by the wayside.

I recall as a kid being given some "Fess Parker" candies on Halloween.  They were old and stale and as a kid, I said, "who the FUCK is Fess Parker?"  But apparently a decade earlier he was quite famous for playing Daniel Boone, and someone licensed his name for candies and they sat around for a decade before I lost a tooth to one of them.

Maybe something similar will happen to Buffet - whose name doesn't resonate as much with the post-Boomer generations.  In fact, I suspect they will say, "Ick! My parents liked him!  Gross!"

Well, that is, until they rediscover him one day, ten years from now, as they visit an old, run-down Margaritaville resort and think it is cute and kitchy and "retro" much as many today felt about the rat-pack era or Trader Vic's and the whole Tiki movement (which itself is tangentially related to Buffet).

Of course, other celebrities refuse to die, which no doubt flummoxes their heirs.  Bob Dylan steadfastly refuses to die, but then again, he doesn't own a chain of amusement parks or anything like that.  But you can be sure his legacy will live on and no doubt, some heir will license his likeness and profit from the estate for generations.  Hey, it worked for Elvis.  Celebrities really never die - they just fade away.

So anyway, RIP Jimmy, whoever you are.  Your music brought a bright spot in many dreary lives and entertained us all.  You had a good run, though, so I won't shed any tears over your death.  You lived a life that most folks only dream about - and many do.