Thursday, January 31, 2008

St Heath Ledger: Patron Saint of Workers Martyred by the Clock?

While we do not know what the facts are around Heath Ledger's death, we do know that he died surrounded by prescription drugs, and that he was taking them to manage insomnia and anxiety caused by the inflexible demands of his job.

The fact is that for all the glory, kudos, and high pay, Heath Ledger was just another worker who had to be drugged to keep up the regular output that "the shareholders" demand.

Since it's past midnight, DH, an insomniac herself, has no time to summarise the argument that Capitalism is powered by the invention of linear time, the control of the clock, and the theft of workers's time.

But, just guessing: Heath Ledger had, like many (most?) creatives, irregular biorhythms. Perhaps like many (most?) creatives, his prodigious talents relied on mood swings, the bars of excellence are so high that we must borrow prodigiously from future exhaustion to achieve todays heights.

But when the corporation demanded its due, Heath Ledger faced the same choice as all of us. Regulate your biorhythms to fit the needs of Moloch, or go on the Disability Pension. (should the money run out, or the millions be invested in the wrong shares)

Perhaps the prospect of living on $250 a week didn't appeal to him? Perhaps he didn't wish to be scrutinised fortnightly to see if he was "really" disabled, or just faking it to live a life of luxury and ease at the taxpayer's expense.

What's in a Name?

Heath: as in the Bronte's or Shakespeare's Heath, the place of wild untamed dangerous creative forces, the place where madness lay, but also the unenclosed commons.

"This was not 'no-man's land', but was populated by many small-holders, subsistence farmers and masterless men and women, 'living out of sight and out of slavery' (according to Winstanley, the anti-slavery campaigner). The commons was ... [a place where] the people's ideas (not ideas in the mind, but ideas that shaped daily life) of what work is and what a worker is, of the relation between work and need, work and nature, work and time, were also obstacles to the establishment of a money economy."

Ledger: a blank page on which profit and loss statements are written.

What's in a name? What tensions lay coiled in that juxtaposition

Just the tensions we all face...
Wild Heath, Yorkshire,
marginalised by the Enclosure Acts

.... and the Ledger that recorded it all ..

And so to bed, for what dreams may come, and besides, tomorrow, Centrelink waits for no man...


Ann O'Dyne said...

I have read that his mother really named him 'Heathcliff' ... and I wonder why none of the press has mentioned that:
since he was making a film at the time he died (director Terry Gilliam) that the CAST DOCTOR might answer a free questions.

Any big production has a Cast Doctor employed to keep everybody going, so producion is never delayed by sickness.
That where all the drugs came from.
He was having regular massages, so it is clear that he was trying everything to keep going.
RIP dear Heath

Ann O'Dyne said...

few 'few questions' oh fer chrissakes.