Gabbing Geek Box Office Report: Not Every Icon Is Observed In Passing

Well, here we go again.  I’ll give you a think piece, then you can have some numbers.

Man, the only thing Gabbing Geek has ever done that’s more pointless than the movie box office is when Ryan subs in to report the Broadway box office.

Yeah, I went there.

The Gabbing Geek virtual office was chatting around the time Gene Wilder passed away about what makes a person an icon.  Personally, I wasn’t sure Wilder qualified.  As much as he was an immensely talented actor, I just didn’t think he was much of an icon.  He played one iconic role, but wasn’t himself an icon.

But then this past week came word on the passing of playwright Edward Albee.

RIP, Mr. Albee. 1928-2016
RIP, Mr. Albee. 1928-2016

Was Albee an icon?  Actually, despite what I titled this article, I’m not completely sure of that, but I would consider him one before I would Mr. Wilder, and that’s no slight on Wilder either.

But while everyone seemed to be down on Facebook over Wilder’s passing, as Wilder deserved, I only saw one mention of Albee’s passing that caught my eye.  And it came from someone we pick on rather frequently around here.

Watson can be surprisingly literate when the mood hits.
Watson can be surprisingly literary when the mood hits.  You should hear his analysis of the Brothers Karamazov.

Albee was a playwright for decades, but not one to make the news very often.  I took a grad class once in modern American playwrights, and the professor in charge loved Albee’s work, so that’s most of what we read.  Though best known for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?, a play showing all-out psychological warfare between a married couple over an imaginary son, much of Albee’s work depicts upperclass New Englanders engaged in lives of quiet desperation and spiritual emptiness.

The overall lack of reaction actually didn’t surprise me much.  Albee was not part of the pop culture scene, and heck, I was actually a little surprised he was even still alive.  Albee’s art was a form that carries itself, speaks for a time, and is a record for the inner lives of its subjects.  But I remember when The Learning Channel actually did a 100 Greatest Americans list from online voters, and an awful lot of the names were not only current celebrities and politicians, but many had died within the past six months.  People have a short memory for greater culture, and that’s a bit of where Albee fell.  Even people who know Virginia Wolfe might not be familiar with his other works.  I wouldn’t have been if I hadn’t taken that class.

I don’t think that’s a flaw to our modern culture or anything.  I’m sure it’s always been that way.  But it can be frustrating when a great man of letters passes and a large swath of people fail to notice.

And now the box office.

  1. Sully, $22 million.
  2. Blair Witch, $9.65 million.
  3. Bridget Jones’s Baby, $8.2 million.
  4. Snowden, $8 million.
  5. Don’t Breathe, $5.6 million.


Defender of the faith, contributing writer, debonair man-about-town.

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