Sure, it’s easy to pretend that so and so’s death doesn’t bother us… “who cares” we may say with a shrug…”I didn’t know them personally, they’re just celebrities.” Then there are those who just don’t understand the obsession with celebrity to begin with, let alone the outpouring of sympathy when they pass on.
Why is it that all these “fans” appear at the time of their death? Where were their tweets before?
I guess this is just a part of the age old tradition of “You’ll never be more famous than after you die.” Think of famous painters, many never even saw their own success…or celebrities that died young and had so much more success ahead of them (ala Amy Winehouse). This is part of what bothers us, we want more of something that can never be…no more art, no future albums or films, the talent has been muted. It’s a shame, but this is only one reason why their deaths bother us.
Another reason why their deaths gnaw at us isn’t because they’re strangers, but they are quite the opposite…they’re a part of us, we’ve gotten to know their souls through their art…and I truly believe that art helps us raise children. Whatever we view or listen to growing up becomes a part of us. So when these not so strange strangers pass on…they take a little piece of us with them.
2016 has been a rather terrible year thus far for celebrity losses…
I was heartbroken when Bowie left, why? Because he was my Goblin King…I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve watched Labyrinth and sung his songs. He gave me this whole other magical world for me to venture into. In a lot of ways I credit him for all the imaginative bones in my body.
Alan Rickman’s passing left me weak in the knees. I have seen nearly every film he’s been in, but his best characters were always slightly cynical softies. Through his craft he taught me that people have layers, they’re not always as they appear. I mean did he not play Snape to perfection? Some people can have secrets all lives, so how can we truly know them? The important thing is to try and find good in others, and so I shall Metatron, and so I shall.
And yesterday…Prince…another iconic, irreplaceable creative genius…
I lost it…
Why? I asked myself, why am I so overwhelmed by this? I wasn’t his most loyal fan, and I certainly didn’t know every bit about his life. What I did know was that he was so amazingly different. I love and appreciate artists who stand out…and that was it…I had answered my own question…I wasn’t just upset that Prince had died, but that creativity seemed to die with him…there would never be another like him, or like Bowie, or like Rickman…this sort of finality was really crushing.
The one positive I can pull away from these losses is that somewhere in time there will be someone inspired by these legends who will bring us something new again.
In case you missed the losses so far this year (and there have been many), here is a comprehensive list: