Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Rodney Harvey (1967-1998) and the Dangers of Googling (and Other Things)

I was watching an old Australian film - 'Initiation' (1987)) - about a kid from Brooklyn - Danny Molloy - who, after the death of his mother, travels to outback Australia in search of his long-lost father. Danny is warned by an Aboriginal guy of impeding danger, which is realized when his drug-dealing father is injured in a plane crash.

The kid - actor, Rodney Harvey ...

... looked like a mix of a very young Matt Dillon, the latest French tennis sensation, Jonathan Eysseric, ...

... and Brook Shields or Elizabeth Taylor, you know, elegantly beautiful but erotic and sensual.

So I eagerly went for my Google link!

And found the actor had appeared in 'My Private Idaho' with River Phoenix, dated Drew Barrymore ... you might be able to sense where this is going.

First I found a trailer for the film I'd been watching:

And then, to my horror and dismay ...

... I realized Rodney had died of complication due to heroin addiction, aged 30, and been readily transmuted into a cautionary tale in an anti-drugs campaign.

And I began to think about what might have been

As I sometimes think about the works van Gogh might have painted. Or the novels written by Jane Austen and Alain-Fournier, and the poems by Sylvia Plath. The photographs taken by Dianne Arbus.

And about the lives that could have been led by just ordinary people who died young!


  1. Hi Nic,
    do you reckon you could consider a capital A for Aboriginal, just like you presumably would had "Danny...[been] warned by an australian" ?
    Sorry to be terribly boring...and no need to publish this.
    Cheers and thanks

  2. hey shaun. i meant 'aboriginal' as ellipsis for 'an aboriginal guy' like 'a white guy or' 'a black guy' - where no capitals are needed for ethnicity - but then as you say for nationality capitals are used for nationality - 'an Italian guy'.
    guess it depends on whether you see 'aboriginal' as an ethnic or nationality adjective. do first inhabitants see themselves as (nationality-wise) Australian or A/aboriginal? i guess their view here would determine the issue. thanks and take care. nick

  3. well, as an Aboriginal guy i see it as nationality - Australian Aboriginal, and perhaps see others that write it with a capital as respecting the construct of a pre-existing (and continuing to exist) Aboriginal nation -
    and those that don't use a capital locating Aboriginality to an ethnicity subsumed within a nation, stripped of much that a simple capital letter would imply.

  4. hey shaun. good to hear from you again. fusing (or not separating) nationality and ethnicity means capitals - which then is the way it should be for Aboriginals. i'll change the post. for me, my ethnicity seems separate from my nationality, as do most of my friends from Asia and elsewhere who now live here. i guess it's the migrant perspective rather than the first peoples' perspective. cheers too. take care and keep in touch cos it's good exchanging with you. nick

  5. I think capitalizing Aboriginal is appropriate now, since from what I understand that is and was a sense of nationhood residing within the Australian nation, that has been somewhat recognized by Australia. It's also what they prefer, I think. Anyway, moving post and harrowing pictures.

  6. hey jason, yeah you are right that 'the Australian nation ... has been somewhat recognized', but there's lots of work still to be done. when i was more involved with gay politics, i/we realized that acceptance and recognition were often just token and veneer thin in the broader community, and needed to be bolstered by more legistlative reform. real change takes a much longer and tons of education programs to shift deep-held attitudes. good luck with it if you are involved. and hope to hear from you again. take care. nick