Death Becomes Us or How To Properly Mourn A Celebrity

Oct 9, 2011Breaking Newzzz

We mourn, therefore we are.

We are a mournful bunch. We sob uncontrollably at certain people’s deaths with true conviction. Each death, be it a mogul or a celebrity or a nobody for that matter, is a sad day indeed, especially for those left behind. But in light of some of the recent nationwide mourning-fests, I wanted to stop, pause and mourn the mourning. When Steve Jobs died this week, and the outpouring of sadness began pouring onto Facebook, my immediate reaction was, “Yes he was a visionary, only too bad he didn’t make a commitment to the United States and keep as much production here as he could rather than opt for China.” My sister thought I was being insensitive, but I stood firm in my belief that his genius is surely remarkable, but pardon me for not going into mourning for someone that helped corrode our nations productivity level, which negatively impacted our economy.

Remember when Tim Russert died? I thought, “Am I missing something here?” And I watched Meet the Press religiously. The outpouring of the nation’s grief was mind boggling. Surely there were more people mourning his loss than those who watch the damn show. It went on for days. Could you imagine if we begin to start mourning the loss of every celebrity or on-camera talent with such pomp and circumstance? I’m talking news people, sit-com stars, one-hour dramedy actors and reality stars, too? That may very well minimize how we react when our own family members die, because we just cannot spend that much time sobbing. “Oh, dad died? I hear George Lopez has a kidney stone. Well, he’s had kidney failure, this is serious!”

I was in Los Angeles when Ronald Regan passed away. There was nothing but his funeral on all the television stations for several days in California. Even HSN was pre-empted. It was the only time in Morgan Fairchild’s career that she was the top story in the news with so many cameras on her. Well, she was like the only celebrity at the damn funeral… and we are talking about LA after all. There was just so much of Nancy’s head shaking that we could stomach and Morgan was the better visual. You can imagine the control booths at that funeral, “Camera two, cut to Morgan, she is lifting her tissue”.

When Michael Jackson died, you’d have thought that another tower went down. Now, yes, the King of Pop was beyond iconic and brilliant but weird in the last decade of his life to the point of no return. That is until he died when suddenly all was forgiven including the child molestation charges and he was re-instated into his royal status. What I am trying to decide is how should we, as a nation, decide to mourn the loss of celebrities? What is the barometer of whether we mourn big time versus just a “Tsk, tsk” while shaking our heads. Perhaps we should come up with a sliding scale of some sort. We could use the IMDB Starmeter to help determine the level of grieving. Or perhaps the President could appoint a new Grief Committee, where the sole responsibility is to determine how deeply we mourn for others outside our immediate family and friends, to keep that level of mourning in tact. High. You realize this could go horribly wrong, seeing how we praise celebrities the way Muslims praise Allah. And between aging and drugs, we could be up for a series of sad losses in the coming months.

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