Entry: I see dead people Tuesday, February 12, 2008

People die all the time. I discovered this at a relatively early age, I think, when my grandfather passed away, and I have vague recollections of the funeral. In some ways it's a shame I don't really remember the service, but on the other hand, I have some wonderful misty memories of spending time with him. He taught me how to draw ships in perspective. My uncle died a lot later. He was a very like my dad, and I can see some of myself in what I remember of him, particularly his interest in politics. And there was my gran, who died on her 80th birthday. It was from her that I inherited my unusual fondness for martini.

Still, when most people die it isn't deemed particularly newsworthy unless it's notably tragic or unwarranted. Unless they're famous. Celebrity changes people's perception of strangers;someone you've never met dies and it's especially tragic because they've been on television or in films, or graced the pages of tabloids.

So far this year there have been three "big" celebrity deaths reported in the UK, each as tragic as the other, but as inevitable as any other death. Heath Ledger's death was surrounded by a furore of unnecessary speculation - was it suicide? did the masseuse make non-emergency calls? When reporting Jeremy Beadle's passing, the headlines read "King of Pranks" on the same newspapers who once reported him as the most hated man in Britain. Roy Scheider died on Sunday, and most reports condense his lustrous film career into "the man from Jaws." It seems that the assorted media resort to the lowest common denominator in their attempts to sensationalise stories, as they've always done. At the end of the day, one man died accidentally and two men died of protracted illnesses.

It's a terrible shame that they died before they could bring more to the world, but we would better serve their memories by enjoying what they did bring. I for one will probably have a martini tonight.


April 3, 2008   06:03 PM PDT
Yeah.... sigh
February 12, 2008   06:06 PM PST
Yep. You're right.

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