The word, “Celebrity” is defined simply as “the state of being well known.” It makes no distinction between positive or negative reasoning for the celebrity. In 2016 there have been a lot of deaths of people who fall within the “Celebrity” title. Since the people who have passed on have been from a higher caliber of celebrity – it seems as if the actuality is even larger than the perception.
All around the world there are constant terrorist attacks; towns and cities being destroyed and millions left homeless with countless dead or maimed. This upsets the general population and they call upon their leaders to “do something.” A charity is begun, a hashtag recycled and the general population, despite the ongoing murders, destruction and pillaging; feel as if they have made an impact with their dollars or their tweets.
This past week Carrie Fisher, better known as Princess Leia from Star Wars movies, suffered a fatal heart attack. The next day, her mother, Debbie Reynolds, known for her leading role in “Singin’ in the Rain,” died after suffering a stroke. Earlier in the week, George Michael, a celebrity for his musical talents, died in his sleep from an apparent heart attack.
So, let’s do the math here.
In the final two weeks of December alone, over 500 Syrians were killed in a war being fought by the government, ISIS, Russian forces, Kurdish forces and other outside and inside forces.
All together since 2011 there have been over 500,000 deaths and millions of people displaced, in Syria alone.
Terrorist attacks have been constant around the world sparing no country or people. Who is behind those terrorist attacks? Islamic extremists. They have caused the world to literally turn itself upside down trying to capitulate to them.
This is just one country that I am bringing up – if I went through every country in the world and the heartaches they endure it would go on forever.
So what’s my point?
People have been upset lately about the outpouring of emotion towards the celebrities who have passed on. They are upset due to the disproportionate responses to mass murders and individual deaths. Looking at this from a distance – they are correct to be so upset.
For the majority of the people who enjoy culture such as watching video entertainment, reading books or listening to music – they adopt the actors, writers, composers and performers into their lives. They become a mainstay. When we watch television or go to the movies – the actors and actresses then subconsciously become acquaintances of ours.
We watch sports and become enamored of the players doing things that we wish we could be doing – young, playing a game and being paid millions of dollars to play it.
Singers on stage – songs they wrote being sung by thousands simultaneously. They play one note on the piano and the world knows which song is coming up. Strangers sing the songs together and a camaraderie is born which can never be taken away.
But then – a baseball player in the peak of his career dies in a boating accident.
An actress, who is in a resurgence of sorts, dies of a heart attack and her mother, a legend in cinema, follows the next day.
David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Prince, George Michael, Natalie Cole, Maurice White and so many others who got us to sing, dance and to dream.
Garry Shandling, Gene Wilder, Gary Marshall, Abe Vigoda, Doris Roberts among so many – who got us to laugh.
Elie Wiesel, Pat Conroy and Harper Lee – along with so many others – who put into words the pain they each were subjected to; yet always with an optimism and caution that impacted the world.
So many other passed – and we felt the loss. We felt it deeper not because they were more important lives then the faceless millions displaced around the world. But because they entered our lives through the unlocked door left open for them to walk through.
They entertained us, wowed us and inspired us to dream. They separated us from the daily news cycles showing the horror around the world. They provided a respite from reality. They became, whether they accepted the fact or not, our friends. It’s the same reason why when we see these celebrities in real life – it kind of blows our mind for a second or two. You want to say, “Hi” because you would always say hi to a friend. But they have no idea who you are and will most likely back away if they were approached.
So, in the end, my reason for writing this is to say; no we do not value the lives of the celebrity over the lives of the strangers. When a stranger dies we do not feel the impact because we did not know anything about them. When a celebrity dies we feel an impact because they did something for us that we needed to be done. They made us sing, made us dream and got us to dance.
May 2017 bring a true peace to this world and everlasting life, love, health and happiness to all.