by J.D. Oxblood
I’ve trolled the sources and, as usual, the best coverage comes from the AP.
It’s a sad day in the world today, as we mourn the passing of one of our favorites, one who made our days a little more pleasant, whether it be from reruns of “Kung Fu,” the forty-second viewing of “Kill Bill,” or even just those fab derivative Yellow Pages commercials. That voice, the voice alone that made the first “Kill Bill” so… enticing, knowing that was Dave-C fondling that sword and never seeing his face. And for children of the 70s, who goaded our friends on the playground with “grasshopper” and “until you can take this Jolly Rancher from my hand” or “until you can walk on the sand box without leaving a footprint”—this man is a part of our Jungian psyche, both an archetype to inhabit and a Campbellian hero to emulate. It’s a sad day.
And then there’s the question of the cause of death.
For reasons that I will certainly not divulge in these pages, I know more about suicide than the average bear. It’s downright disturbing how schooled I am in the subject matter. Contrary to current popular opinion, I don’t consider it shameful. It is a god-given right to take one’s own life, considered an honorable death in some cultures, and quite frankly, not unique to the human experience. (e.g., elephants, arguably the most sensitive creature on the planet, have been known to die of grief—an event that could be interpreted as a sort of suicide.) When you absolutely, positively have to get off this fucking planet immediately, there is a way. Most of us are too proud, stubborn, or cowardly to do the math. The real question here is, did David do it on purpose? We’ll probably never know, even if the cops figure it out. And let’s face it—the cops in Bangkok are so corrupt as to make Guiliani look like Ghandi. Well, David, if you offed yourself deliberately, our apologies. We’re sorry that we failed you, that this planet held nothing more of interest to you, and that the faux-spiritualism that you inhabited so well in your work as an actor did not manage to fill the void in your heart.
The question everyone is asking themselves, though most people have too much tact to ask it publicly, is: Did Carradine pull a Michael Hutchence?
Was this an accidental death as a result of autoerotic asphyxiation? Here’s where I have to chime in. You’re in BANGKOK. As someone who has spent a considerable amount of time in Bangkok—and finds it an amazing, dizzying world-in-itself of fantastic food, unbearable aromas, fascinating and enraging people from all over the world, and temptations of every variety that would inevitably lead Jesus himself to the realm of Lucifer—let me tell you: you can find it there. Whatever your pleasure, you can find it in Bangkok. And if you happen to be a successful international movie star, you def got the means, so without a question, YOU CAN FIND IT THERE. You can find a couple hot Thai girls to choke you to unconsciousness while a third strokes you off. Or, if you prefer, find a giant bruiser of a man to choke you, or a couple of them to wrap a cord around your neck hoist you clear off the ground while you do the manual work yourself. This may not exactly be on the menu at every massage parlor and gogo bar, but dig it, in Thailand, you can always order off the menu.
Shit, when you think about it, even if you just flat-out wanted to die, you could get that in Bangkok, too. An American passport is worth serious money on the black market—even if immigration might look at you sideways when trying to enter the country under the name “David Carradine”—and paying someone to kill you isn’t the weirdest thing to happen in Thailand—not by far. This is a place where one dumb asshole decided it was better to admit to killing Jon Benet Ramsey for immediate deportation than wind up in a Thai prison for pederasty. If nothing else, since suicide is, in its inimitable manner, the most selfish act capable of man or beast, getting someone to kill you clean and simple is a little more considerate to your friends and family, not to mention the poor chambermaid making dollars a day who has to find your corpse hanging in the closet like a forgotten suit—still sweaty from last night’s wedding party—waiting to be sent to the cleaners.
On the flip side of all this speculation, I will say that the man chose a great place to die. Bangkok is, above all else, magical and beautiful, and if it were the last place I saw on this planet I would consider myself lucky. Amen.
Whenever anyone dies, we think of ourselves. We are sad because OUR lives have been impacted negatively. As we don’t know what lies on the other side of death, it is unfair to pass judgment on the dead or the gods, inappropriate to call the event sad or untimely or unjust. We can only speak for ourselves. And in this case, I’ll put it the way the locals in David’s last known location would put it. David Carradine’s death is, quite simply, mai sanuk.
Kiss kiss, Caine.