The Emmy Awards tribute to Cory Monteith had created a surprising amount of controversy before the awards show even aired. Some, like Jack Klugman's son Adam, accused the ceremony's producers of glorifying someone who died at his own hands. And then, Jane Lynch got up onstage and told it like it is: her Glee co-star wasn't perfect. He was a drug addict who died because of his addiction.
It wasn't your typical tribute. Memorials tends to speak in glowing terms of the deceased.
But in telling the truth about how Cory Monteith died, Lynch did something better.
She made the tribute to Cory mean something more to the world than just a chance to remember a good actor.
As Lynch said:
Cory was a beautiful soul. He was not perfect, which many of us here tonight can relate to. His death is a tragic reminder of the rapacious, senseless destruction that is brought on by addiction.
Tonight we remember Cory for all he was and mourn the loss of all he could have been.
And there it is, folks: why mourning Cory Monteith in front of a world's audience made sense.
Klugman's son had accused the ceremony's producers of playing to a "youth-centric culture that has an extremely short attention span and panders to only a very narrow demographic."
Lynch's tribute to her Glee co-star was the very opposite. It was a warning to the youth of America, an arrow straight to their hearts: life is short; don't screw around.
Monteith's death wasn't part of the natural course of things. He wasn't an elderly man who'd contributed decades of work to the entertainment industry, only to die peacefully of something related to his age. Is he someone today's youth can relate to better than someone who hasn't graced a television screen in years? Perhaps, but that's all the more reason why the Emmy's tribute worked. There was a stark difference between the tribute to Monteith and those to Jonathan Winters and Jean Stapleton that preceded it.
Winters and Stapleton had done much, gotten far.
They were old.
And their tributes were uncomplicated by talk of "imperfection" and "addiction."
Cory Monteith died before he got to do most of what he could have done. His youth, his superstardom, was not enough to save him.
And to cement just what it was we lost, Lynch offered a reminder that there was more to Monteith than just the drugs:
All that warmth and that charm, that open-hearted quality that we loved in Cory was no act. This gifted and wonderful young man was worthy of your love.
If you were lucky enough to know Cory as we did and witness firsthand Cory's goofy, breezy sense of humor, his natural instinct for inclusiveness and his unbridled sense of generosity day in and day out, I promise, you'd have loved him even more.
What did you think of the tribute to Cory? Was it appropriate?
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