Why We Mourn Celebrity Deaths

geek, love, musings, Uncategorized

Bulletin: Debbie Reynolds has also passed away, a day after her daughter Carrie Fisher passed away. Debbie was 84, Fisher was only 60. It’s just two more names to a very long year and roster of celebrity deaths.

For most of us, we’ve never met these people. We’ve never shaken their hand or even had a glance from them. We haven’t had meals and we haven’t had coffee or any type of human relationship. Yet we mourn them when they die. We cry and we hold onto relics and we tweet and share and mourn. All around. It’s not the same is it would be for a grandma or a friend, but we care and our hearts ache.

It’s odd. In all reality that we care so much about people we know only from movies or books or television. People that are almost god-like that dance and sing for us. It’s not a normal intimacy, yet it breaks us when they’re gone.

However, it’s nothing new either, when rulers died and today when they die thousands cry and attend candlelight vigils and show up for funeral processions. This has happened for as long as there has been written records and it has happened all over the world. When someone we recognize as a person we “know of” or celebrate, then we care just that bit more.

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Funeral procession for Queen Victoria in 1901

We celebrate our close relationships and we celebrate those that are disconnected. Think of celebrity weddings and engagements. We celebrate because they give us a feeling of connection or inspiration or drama, maybe theatrics, maybe laughter.

For Fisher, it was Star Wars, she was Leia and the things that character did were loveable and fun and millions looked to that character,  year after year and generation after generation.

Reynolds was a dancing queen and someone that touched generations with her movies, comedies, and poise.

We love a feeling that is attached to celebrities and their artistic contributions. We have emotions around people that play a part  because that’s the whole point of art.

Leia was a “Princess” that fought the bad guys, was beautiful, and had time for romance in her own terms. She broke down stereotypes and led underdogs to success. The feelings surrounding first time viewers are seen in my 9 y/o step-daughter just now becoming a Star Wars fan. We all had those moments too. Those moments of awe and inspiration, carried forward by a performer that we loves and adored.

Debbie Reynolds was not only Debbie, but she was Kathy in my grandma’s favorite movie, Singin’ in the Rain, which we watched hundreds of times in my house growing up. The movie is amazing, and the dancing spectacular, but the emotions of my grandma and of loving dance and of music and comedy are all there on the couch with me.

The story goes on, but with each death we recognize we have something attached there. Even with artists that I didn’t know  well, such as Prince, there is an important acknowledgement to his musical contributions. His music shaped people and genres and the loss of someone so young and talented is very sad.

We attach our loves, hopes and dreams to characters and performers and artists, that when they die we see our own immortality. Our own failure to fight death and disease and sad accidents. And we mourn because they were friends, they journeyed with us for a time in our lives and made us feel something. They were a part of our own life and our own path and maybe changed how we felt about the world.

It’s not a silly thing to care that they have passed on and no longer can share their talents, because they’re real emotions and ideas. And as we send on those celebrities and maybe family members that also passed, let’s just imagine them all getting to have a final picnic, having a dance, maybe a cocktail, and going onto whatever is next. I like to imagine my grandma and Reynolds are having a good laugh right now.

 

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_____Updated November 26, 2016———–

SO 2016 is really the worst…..due to president-elect Trump and a group of his followers. We have had neo-nazi support from alt-right goons. KKK support for the cheeto. All of which he hasn’t fully disconnected from….because he’s an extreme narcissist that takes any attention he can get. (But he gets mad at the theater kids, see below)

He is hiring a staff that will not be resisted by a republican controlled congress, and they are all climate-deniers, torture supporters, creationist ass hats. There beliefs aren’t even the problem, it’s that time and again they have and they will continue to remove funding and support from programs that have actually brought me a lot of comfort the last few years.

The president threw a fit over the cast of Hamilton addressing his VP, because they asked REAL questions. (This only made me love the musical more, which may be one of a few GOOD things about this year, was my introduction to its magic).

Then let’s talk about the disaster with the DAPL and the horrors that is Standing Rock. Which isn’t a new protest mind you, we’ve been shitting on Native Americans since at least 1492 and here we are….people with power…mostly white men with money and power, stomping on and ignoring people that are poor and often marginalized. They often don’t even have a voice in these matters and their protest is actually a chance to demand some attention to their struggle. However, the way that protesters have been treated through this whole event is nothing short of a human rights violation. One protester lost her arm!

Not to mention the Cheeto has his thumb in every fucking pie, because he’s a business man, and as “in the game” as any white man with power can be. This includes the stock companies that are investing in the building of DAPL. Which means he has financial assets attached to this, and he also has said time and again he’s about oil and fossil fuels and fuck anybody that gets in the way.

Where else do I go? All the things Trump has said even in the last two years is horrifying. And media (even good media) is trying to just keep up, which also fuels the former reality-star and his actions. It’s what he wanted all along…. he never wanted to help people or run a country. He just wants the attention and the fame. He won at that. But that means the rest of us, us working class people, and our children, and everyone that is not a man in their 70s and white and a millionaire.

Media is trying to normalize what is quickly reflecting every fascist movement in modern history.

Watch this if you don’t understand:

Because when we pander to fears, when we use hateful language, when we make false promises just to gain power, when we don’t value even the people that work for us….we end up with monsters like Trump and that is the most horrifying.

I go back and forth on wanting the year to end and not because 21 days in the Cheeto actually gains power. Even since he got elected the stories of attacks, statements, graffiti and hate-crimes has been a constant onslaught.

Personally, I have not had a good year.

Many people have had a shitty year.

I’m not alone but for all of us having a shitty time things suck. REALLY suck.

I have had to quit 2 jobs for reasons beyond my control and that were, at times, frankly absurd.

One of my closest friends lost her HOME- a house she had bought 48 hours before- to the flooding in Baton Rouge. Then her boyfriend ended things. Then her dog got sick. Then her car crapped out….she’s having a blast. (The car is better now)

My year sucks for several reasons. Jobs that don’t pay well. Jobs that aren’t working well. Managers that don’t communicate. Struggling with depression. Struggling with student loans. Struggling with missing my grandma (she died last year but I still hurt). I’ve been picking up the slack where other people fail, step out, or flake out….I don’t want to go into detail. But my stress is at a level I haven’t experienced in 5 years, when over 10 people I knew died due to everything from old age, car accidents and suicide. One always hopes things get better and for five years it did…now….I feel totally cast out to sea.

But we stay hopeful. Because we are beings that stay hopeful. We try and we fight and we pray and cry and hope…we hope so much. Because I honestly don’t know if any of us would stay living if we didn’t have that mechanism. Being we’re intelligent beings, we understand more than is probably good for our emotional well-being. And if you are in the Western world you probably don’t know how to deal, except by hope, a beer and some choice prayers to the universe.

And we have to remember this: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/history/2016/07/is_2016_the_worst_year_in_history.html

and that others have survived worst….

Yet we still feel bruised, and scared, and depressed. The fact I already struggle with anxiety, PTSD and depression adds to trauma that anyone would have. So it’s a fun journey.

I suppose we’ll all figure it out eventually.

Also, can I say it really sucks to have a bunch of people you greatly admire dying.

Alan Rickman

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Gene Wilder

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David Bowie

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Harper Lee

Elie Wiesel

Florence Henderson

Leonard Cohen

Muhammed Ali

You get it.

So we mourn our losses and carry on…hopefully to a planet we can live in and a country we can live with. (It may take 4 years)

Why this year has been the worst

musings