It'd be easy for Gotye to think he'd peaked. "Somebody That I Used To Know" hit No. 1 essentially everywhere. It got a Glee cover he was conflicted about. It'll possibly be the biggest hit he'll ever have; it's possible that his greatest life accomplishment has already happened. Gotye can die a fully accomplished man.
See, though, we can joke about this, because it didn't happen. (Just to be absolutely clear: we do not wish death on anybody, let alone the person who's written one of the best songs of 2011/12.) You probably shouldn't have asked the Internet about that last weekend, though, because people had thought Gotye had died based on an obviously fake report--brand-new account? no mention of Gotye's real name "Wouter de Backer"? A 13-minute investigation? Sketchy timeline in general? Veterinary hospital?--posted on CNN's crowdsourced-journalism site and perpetual punchline site iReport, which lets anybody post news reports. (Spoiler for future articles: every time an iReport hoax happens, there's always hand-wringing about whether sites like that, or citizen journalism, or Twitter or whatever, can ever be good journalism. Can we skip that this time? Thanks.)
At 4:32 AM EST, it was reported that Gotye had shot himself in the head with a 9mm handgun. He was pronounced dead at 4:45 AM, and the investigation concluded that the cause of death was suicide. It was confirmed shortly after by family and friends. He was quickly taken to the Central Montmorency Hospital, but died from his injuries shortly after. His family has stated that they plan a closed funeral.
The hoax got bad enough that Gotye himself had to refute it on Twitter. Well, either he refuted it or else he's just really looking forward to the P!nk album/angling for a collaboration. (That'd be great, actually.)
I'm not dead. #Pinkalbumtitles— gotye (@gotye) July 1, 2012
Bandmate Tim Shiel refuted it too.
It saddens me to confirm the news of Gotye's passing - he suffered cardiac arrest while flying a unicorn over a double rainbow. ... Just FYI I'm going to use 'It's what Wally would have wanted' to justify doing all kinds of weird s--- in the next couple of days.
In the opening pages of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Earth is destroyed. Now if that doesn't scream 2020 so far, what does?
In Douglas Adams's 1979 novel, which premiered as a radio series on BBC Radio4 in 1978 (42 years ago—but more about the significance of that number later), Earth is suddenly blown up in order to make room for an intergalactic superhighway. Now, in a year that has—after only 3 months, people—given us a contentious, confusing democratic primary, the death of Kobe Bryant, new and worsening facts about our climate and habitat at large, appalling leadership, and of course the rapid spread of and global shutdowns by the coronavirus (COVID-19), it seems impossible to turn to any source for comfort.
Enter The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: a novel that starts with the global annihilation that we might be heading for and then follows the characters as they cope with new realities, with isolation and loss, an endless information source that brings with it endless anxiety, and an egomaniacal, arrogant, selfish, attention-craving president of the galaxy.
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It's time to study.
Now that you've flooded Instagram with photos of black squares, it's time to hunker down for some real activism.
If you're a white person, you're sitting on top of about four centuries of institutionalized racism. In the wake of George Floyd's murder by police and countless Black Lives Matter protests across the nation, it's time to show up—with your body, with your voice, and with your brain.