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The Tribute to Dead Celebrities

February 11, 2016
(image via wikimedia)

(image via wikimedia)

Somebody famous died a few days ago, but it was a celebrity I had never heard of before.  The television news ran a two-minute segment on this celebrity’s achievements and lamented how this celebrity had died too young.  A bunch of bloggers wrote tributes.  This celebrity’s name trended on Twitter for a few hours.  People who (probably) never had met the celebrity seemed sad.

I don’t know.  I have never felt an emotional connection with celebrities. I’ve emotionally bonded with stuffed animals, sock puppets, and even members of my family.  But I’ve never felt  connected with a celebrity, not so much that it affected me when that celebrity died.  When a celebrity dies, I say (or think) “That sucks.”  And then I go on with my day.  I’ve never felt like writing a tribute to that celebrity on my blog, tweeting about the celebrity, or going to that celebrity’s funeral.

I have nothing against the tribute to dead celebrities.  I read other blogger’s tributes if I’m interested in the dead celebrity.  Sometimes I’ll watch the tribute to a dead celebrity on the television news.   Maybe I’d write a tribute if the right celebrity died (“right” isn’t the correct word, but you know what I mean, I hope), but it takes me too long to gather my thoughts.  By the time I’d finish writing the tribute, the period of social media mourning would be over and nobody would read my tribute.

That might be a bad reason to not write a tribute, but I hate writing stuff that nobody reads.  My first year of blogging (maybe more) was filled with writing stuff that nobody read.  That was a lousy feeling.  I’d spend hours writing long posts that nobody would read and then I’d think, “Why did I spend so much time on that?”

I’ve never written a tribute to a dead celebrity, but I’ve never written a tribute to my deceased relatives either.  Several of my deceased relatives deserve a tribute.  Maybe all of them do.  Maybe instead of writing a tribute to a dead celebrity whom I’ve never met, I should write a tribute to relatives who have had an impact on my life.  Fewer people would read a tribute to a relative than a tribute to a celebrity.  Page views matter, but my blog numbers aren’t big enough that the difference would be all that much.

There have only been a few times when I’ve felt anything when a celebrity died.  I was in ninth grade when John Lennon got shot.  That was a big deal, and we talked about it at school, but I was too young to be passionate enough about John Lennon to cry.  The most common reaction was: “Now The Beatles will never reunite!”  Then we blamed Yoko Ono some more for breaking up The Beatles.  That seems kind of shallow, but what else would you expect from ninth-graders?

A few years ago, two celebrities died on the same day, and one of them received far more attention than the other.  It was weird, hearing fans of the lesser-known celebrity complaining about the lack of media attention because she had passed on the same day somebody more famous died.  I’m pretty sure the semi-ignored dead celebrity didn’t care.

If you don’t like the recently deceased celebrity, the next few days after the celebrity’s death can be brutal.  If you hate the dead musician’s songs, the tunes will be stuck in your head.  If you didn’t like the celebrity’s movies, friends/co-workers will be reciting quotes.  If you despised the deceased politician, newscasters will proclaim how wonderful the politician was, despite doing horrible things that would get normal people like us arrested.  We can’t say that we dislike the recently deceased celebrity; that would be rude.  We must restrain ourselves for a while, at least one week or until the next celebrity dies, whichever happens second.

I can see why some people connect with celebrities.  Celebrities (while they are alive) often say that they love us (at concerts, award ceremonies, or even book signings), but I doubt their sincerity.  Celebrities usually leave a few minutes after they tell us they love us.  If a woman ever told me that she loved me but then left me forever a few minutes later, I don’t think I’d believe she really loved me.  Even during the most gullible phases of my life, I don’t think I’d have believed her.  I can’t write a tribute to somebody who says he/she loves me but doesn’t.

Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems like more celebrities than ever are dying.  It’s probably because it’s easier to become a celebrity.  Maybe that’s why I had never heard of the dead celebrity from a few days ago.  There are so many celebrities that a normal person can’t keep track of them anymore.

I’ve met only two celebrities face-to-face.  One of them hit on my wife, and the other one yawned in my face.  I don’t think I’ll write a tribute to either of them, even if I outlive them, which I might not.  If I have the opportunity to write a tribute to them, though, I hope it’s not for a long, long time.

*****

What do you think?  Have you ever written a tribute to a deceased celebrity?  Which celebrity have you emotionally connected with?

 

From → Pop culture

14 Comments
  1. I’ve written 1 tribute for a celebrity: David Bowie. I never felt so emotional over a celebrity before, though, so I can definitely see where you’re coming from 🙂

    • I know several people who cried over David Bowie. I didn’t know what to say to somebody who was crying over a celebrity.

      “I’m sorry for your loss?” It just didn’t seem appropriate.

      • I didn’t know what to do with myself either! I think a lot of people must have that one celebrity who means more to them than the rest and David Bowie was the one for a lot of people. It’s probably got something to do with when you came across them and the emotional connection you had with their music etc.

  2. I tend to be a quiet mourner even when I know the person. So I get your lack of emotion when a celebrity died. I still get confused by people going on and on about how x celebrity changed their life. I don’t get that. Entertained me, sure. Changed my life? Um, No.

    • I wish I was a quiet mourner. I’m a quiet guy, but when I mourn, I sob and it gets messy. I’ll do that for people I care about but not for celebrities, at least not yet.

  3. Well, sometimes I am sad when celebrities pass away because I will never see a new movie with them or hear a new song from them. But really crying over them? No. Leave the true grief to the people who knew them as a family member or a good personal friend. Because most of them are afterall fathers, wives, cousins, daughters…to somebody.
    And about the tribute writing: Why not write a tribute to somebody you know personally while they are still alive? It gives them a chance to feel happy about it. We don’t hear or read enough nice things about ourselves these days. And maybe your tribute will come with perfect timing, when that somebody needs it most. 🙂 I hope you’ll have a good day!

    • I like the idea of tributes for people while they’re still alive, especially if they’re not celebrities. Celebrities get enough tributes. Non-celebrities should get celebrated too every once in a while too.

  4. I felt sad when Michael Jackson died, and David Bowie but mostly because they had done such a great job of entertaining me and I’ll miss their output. I didn’t cry because, as you said, I didn’t know them. I haven’t cried for people I personally knew, so I’d feel silly crying for someone I never met.

    I did write a brief tribute to David Bowie, mostly talking about how his music affected my life. I’ll be sad when other entertainers die, but probably won’t cry about them either no matter how much I’ve loved their musical output.

  5. The first celebrity death that had any impact on my life was Elvis. No one in my life had died up till that point and it was my first introduction to our lack of immortality. As one goes through life, one becomes slightly enamored of certain actors and actresses (or rather a character they play resonates with you and the actor/actress gets the attention). Which actress said the men in her life married Gilda and woke up with her and that is why all the marriages failed? Since Elvis died there have been many whose passing I noted but none that I actually felt terrible about until Lewis Collins died in 2013 and then I felt my own mortality rushing to its close. Too many of those celebrities dying lately are my age and I grew up with their fame in the background. They were part of the wallpaper of my life and acknowledging their passing with a sense of loss is a normal reaction but my journal entries/blogs are just my own personal venting and I don’t think anybody has ever read them…how would I know? How do blogs/journals work? I use them like emails to friends…they write something interesting and I write back. It is good that an answer or a reader is not what matters but that I can just vent and empty my mind of whatever is taking up space. If my friend writes back and a dialogue opens…it is true it can make my day.

  6. I did write a post for Bowie and thought it was sad he died, but I didn’t cry over him – I watched a documentary about him once and he didn’t come across well (pretentious, to be honest) but I did love a few of his songs and they were impotant to me when I was a teenager. The weirdest one over here was when Peincess Diana died – our entire country went into meltdown over that. It was tragic she died so young, but the over reaction was very, very odd.

    • I think a lot of countries went into meltdown after Princess Diana died.

      • Perhaps you’re right, though I’m not entirely sure why. I always thought she was an arch manipulator, especially with the press – no doubt wronged, but certainly by the end, strong enough to give the whole House of Windsor a run for their money. She did good things and died tragically young, though, and that is enough to confer her an air of mystique, I’m sure.

  7. I remember when a fashion designer that my mum worked with died. It was Jean Muir, she wasn’t that famous but she had been on TV and I really felt like I was connected to everyone on TV. I think I was five.

    Then I cried when Robert Palmer died because I felt I’d lost a part of my childhood.

    But, I never truly mourned anyone famous before or since Amy Winehouse. For some reason I connected with her on a level that was exceptional and meaningful. I don’t even know why, but I loved her. I really loved her, like she was a friend. When she died I grieved wholeheartedly and it lasted for weeks. And I still think about it now, and recently I wrote this, which is an acknowledgement that that feeling still exists. http://odettebrady.com/2016/01/19/happily-married/

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