Thursday, April 24, 2014

Who Would You Save?

The other night, I watched The Buddy Holly Story starring a pre-crazy Gary Busey. Really, it was amazing how not cuckoo he was.

Anyway, the minute the characters started talking about Buddy going out on tour towards the end of the film, I started playing time traveler in my mind. I do this a lot. Like when I read and watched Daniel Deronda - there are some Jewish characters living in Germany, which is fine for the 19th century, but I wanted to yell at the TV that they needed to get the hell out of there.  You know, like you'd yell at a horror movie, only the characters aren't doing anything stupid. It's just that I know more than they do thanks to history and all that.

I've learned from Doctor Who that you can change some things, but not others. You can't kill Hitler for example because so much history hangs off of him. There was a character on Sanctuary who did kill Hitler, but it didn't do any good - he was replaced by a double and the Reich carried on.

But there are some things you could change without damaging the time line, or whatever. While watching The Buddy Holly Story, I started thinking that you could probably prevent that plane crash without causing too much damage. It's only music history, after all. It's not like the crash led to a bunch of safety reforms. And entertainers still get on those dinky little planes and die sometimes, so it's not like the crash served as a cautionary tale that saved lives.

Buddy Holly's music influenced The Beatles, but his death had nothing to do with that. His wife remarried and had kids with someone else - but if he'd lived, they might've divorced anyway.

Maybe Ritchie Valens still would've been a one hit wonder, but he was so young and his family would've preferred to keep him around. Same thing for the Big Bopper.

But Buddy would've kept making music, maybe going on to produce other people's music since he produced his own. In his review of the film, Roger Ebert posited that had he lived, Buddy would've continued to be unique and influential, or he might've been the next Paul Anka or Barry Manilow.

Then again, when Rose went back and saved her father on Doctor Who, the whole of space and time started to unravel. So maybe we shouldn't change anything in the past, given the chance. 

Thoughts? What do you think would've happened if Buddy Holly & co. had lived? Were their deaths so inevitable that their bus would've crashed instead? 

Who from history would you save? And what consequences do you think that would have? 

Given the chance, I'd like to save some victims of the Inquisition and the Witch Hunts. There were so many that saving a few wouldn't affect history.

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