Mudcat Café message #1725829 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #90789   Message #1725829
Posted By: alanabit
24-Apr-06 - 03:40 AM
Thread Name: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
I am getting quite interested in this discussion, which is a better one than I feared would come about at first.
Danks has posed some questions about the way that people become icons rather because of the way that their personalities are perceived than because of their artisitic achievement. He has got me thinking about that. I am tending to the Don Firth school of thought - if I have read him correctly - that Cash became an icon rather because of what he represented about the music. That is not quite the same as the music itself. It takes a cool, critical head to separate the artist from the work.
I actually have a problem understanding the iconic status of Marilyn Monroe. She made a couple of entertaining films without ever nearing the accomplishment of a Katherine Hepburn or even Jodie Foster. The reasons she became an icon did not have much to do with her achievements as an actress.
For me - and these things are always personal and biased - Cash represented the best things about the world he came from and the music he played. For me that is enough. There are probably more than twenty Johnny Cash albums, which I would never listen to twice. I suspect the same is true for Danks. If the best of Cash's work is so important to you, that you are able to forget the less striking stuff, he is going to be an iconic figure to you.
It's a fair question.