Saturday, February 18, 2012
When a Celebrity Dies
There has been a fervant backlash lately on the internet against the mourning of dead celebrities. Grief in many cases has been mocked and minimalized. This is wrong to me for several reasons. 1.) Despite the fame and hype they hold, the sometimes over bloated effect Hollywood has on our perceptions, celebrities; actors, musicians, etc. are still people. We might disagree at the level of grief directed toward one individual and not another. It might make us wish our loved ones had had such outpouring, or that we ourselves will when the time comes. But, society's flaws should not lead us into mocking anyone that feels a genuine emotion at another's death whether it be a celebrity or relative. There is another time and place to debate the influence of popular culture on our lives. 2.) Those mourning Whitney Houston and others are not simply mourning them. Most have not met her, Steve Jobs or others. People are mourning instead, a memory, an ideal. Celebrities are symbols; perhaps of a better time, our youth, an old love, friendships gone by the way side. A song or film reminds us of this as do those included; specifically the central characters. Art has had a face this past century in perhaps ways it never had before. We relate and hope and strive to live up an ideal created that isn't even always real. We want the fantasy to be reality. Death has a way of shocking us, however, to our core. We're reminded that these perfect people we looked up to almost like Gods to get us through the day were human with more vice because of our fixation. And when they fall we fall with them. Not because we don't appreciate the sacrifices or remember the names of dead soldiers; other innovators we percieve as having changed our world. The celebrity is a greater symbol of everyone behind the scenes crafting something doomed yet beautiful. They are greater symbols for the things we've lost and can't attain, yet continue holding onto in blind hope.