She was loved (Annette), hated (Maggie)

I have no recollection that the deaths of Richard Nixon (1994) or Ronald Reagan (2004) generating anywhere near the same level of vitriol as Margaret Thatcher’s passing.

I was feeling as though I wanted to write about a couple of recent deaths, but I needed an angle. Then it came to me.

Annette Funicello, who appeared on the Mickey Mouse Club, was my first TV crush, as I have previously noted; I was hardly the only one – e.g., see Ken Levine’s piece. Heck, my wife said she had a little crush on her. And it wasn’t just my generation: Cheri remembers her as well.

I watched Annette in a number of Disney programs, and almost certainly in Make Room for Daddy with Danny Thomas. Here’s a story about her in Salon. And enjoy this Parade magazine photo flashback.

But the best love letter to Annette I saw was from Chuck Miller, who even included a clip of the Disney comedy called ‘The Monkey’s Uncle,’ where she performs the title song with the Beach Boys!

Almost everyone loved Annette.


Margaret Thatcher was another matter. I had mixed to negative feelings about her tenure as Prime Minister of Great Britain. I agree with these complaints about her: presiding “over the Falklands War with Argentina, provided critical support to the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, and famously labeled Nelson Mandela a “terrorist” while backing South Africa’s apartheid regime.” She opposed the reunification of Germany, while, at home, was a union buster.

Arthur from New Zealand, by way of the US, wrote: “They say if you can’t say something nice about a person who’s just died, you shouldn’t say anything. Not very useful advice for a blogger.” Meanwhile, Shooting Parrots from the UK damned her with the faint praise of thanking her for the way that spin has become an end in itself.

These were mild complaints, though, compared with these: The woman who wrecked Great Britain and A terror without an atom of humanity.

Apparently, Margaret Thatcher inspired a whole unique genre of British culture: “We can’t wait till Margaret Thatcher dies”, years ago, including songs by several musicians. Now that she is deceased, Brits have sent “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead” into music charts.

There have been American politicians who were reviled by certain segments of the population. But I have no recollection that the deaths of Richard Nixon (1994) or Ronald Reagan (2004) generating anywhere near the same level of vitriol. I have two not mutually exclusive theories about this: 1) the world has gotten even nastier in the past decade, and 2) the politics in the UK is more rough and tumble; if you’ve ever watched the debates in Parliament, with the Prime Minister in the thick of it, you’d know it’s measurably different from the way US Presidents are generally treated.

Certainly, it must have been difficult being a woman in a very male-dominated field, as the movie Iron Lady made clear. I thought that film, picking up her story in her dotage, was rather unfair, even though finely acted by Meryl Streep, who got her well-deserved Oscar. Speaking of unfairness, I found it very distressing that she has repeatedly been referred to by the c-word; amazingly sexist.

I should note that Mikhail Gorbachev said that she helped end the Cold War. You can read Parade magazine touts her accomplishments.

Racialicious’ take on Roger Ebert. I must say getting the Westboro Baptist Church to fuss at his funeral must be a badge of honor.

Evanier has more about Carmine Infantino.