Tom Clancy died last week. And in reporting his death, TV as a whole glossed over one incredibly obvious detail: Tom Clancy wrote books.
It was at once astonishing and unsurprising. If going by the impeccable journalism of Entertainment Tonight and similar ilk, I'd be left to believe Tom Clancy was an estranged relative of Harrison Ford, since I was presented with more clips of Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger than any images of the author himself or his books.
I suppose it's to be expected from lowbrow outlets like that, but I at least expected the evening news to offer some half-decent tribute to the man's life and career. Nope, just play a couple clips of The Hunt for Red October and move on to discussing Miley Cyrus and the remaining square inch of her anatomy yet to be waggled in front of cameras.
It was a similar story when Elmore Leonard died, sadly. A whole lot of movie clips, very little mention of books. I'm left to conclude people who work in television are ill-equipped to discuss authors. Without film or TV adaptations of their work from which to splice clips, the news of such luminary wordsmiths passing on would be relegated to the news crawl at the bottom of the screen--if that.
I've never read a Clancy novel, but even I'm aware the man was one of the most popular and influential authors of the last thirty years. And that's just the novels. Never mind the movies. Never mind the video-games. Christ, I heard more about Rainbow Six the game than I did about Rainbow Six the novel with word of his death.
So, rather than find a DVD copy of The Sum of All Fears or dust off the ol' Playstation to load up a game of Splinter Cell. I think I'll do something that I bet nary a one of those vapid pricks in Hollywood have done in a dog's age: I'm going to read a Tom Clancy novel.
And that's a far better tribute to the man's work, to my way of thinking, than anything TV had to offer.