Celebritate mortem

I have never really understood this whole fixation people have with celebrities, especially when they die.

First of all, you weren’t related to them, didn’t know them personally, and their death will not likely have any lasting impact on your life: So why the heck are you crying? I understand that their work may have had some sort of impact, i.e. “That song got me through a bad break-up,” or “That movie always reminds me of a friend who passed.” I get that, but is it really worth that much grief now that they’ve died?

And for the record, most people I’ve asked don’t even have the aforementioned excuses for being sad. Usually it’s: “Oh, he/she was so talented, we’ve lost a great artist,” or “They were so young, it was too early.”

To address the first (I’m going to use a few recent celebrity deaths as examples): Whitney Houston may have been very talented, but what the heck has she done for the last 20 years? She has earned massive amounts of ridicule and scorn, from many of the same people that now sing her praises to heaven, I might add, for abusing drugs.

I know many of you will hate me for such generalizations about the singer/actress, and I understand she hasn’t really spent the last 20 years in a room clutching her crack-pipe, but she hasn’t exactly been out curing world hunger.

Speaking of world hunger, the “too young/early” line is wearing pretty thin on me, as well. When was the last time you shed a tear for the hundreds of thousands of third-world infants, children and young-adults who die every year from starvation or disease? When are they going to get a public funeral or a front page article or a special-release post-mortem dedication DVD? Anybody?

I can understand being upset by the loss of certain celebrities that you might have grown attached to over the years. For example, I was upset about the loss of Heath Ledger. Well before this memorable performances as the Joker and Ennis Del Mar (Brokeback Mountain), Ledger was a handsome, brash romantic lead with quite a knack for comedy. Casanova, A Knight’s Tale and 10 Things I Hate About You are a few of my favorite romantic comedies of all time.

So yes, I was saddened to hear of his passing because it meant he wouldn’t get a chance to continue what was a meteoric rise to the top. I would never get to see him in another movie, see how he developed as an actor, and for a movie-buff, these things are part of the joy of movie-going. However, my tears were left unshed and I had moved on not long after.

Death is never fun, but it’s a part of the cycle. There will always be more celebrities to enjoy and/or worship, so please, save your tears for those who die every day without anyone knowing their name.

Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunjulian.

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