Grieving for Celebrities

Joann Wolwowicz

The internet is a great place to find out what people’s true feelings are on a topic. Social media sites such as Facebook, twitter, tumblr, and blogs allow people to vent their true feelings on everything from rude people to famous people (maybe even rude famous people). This is part of the reason that UNH memes has become so popular; it gives people ways to express their feelings (whether founded or unfounded on something substantial) and to share it with other people who may or may not have the same feelings.  (What to read more about the UNH memes? Check out Matt’s editorial right above this. It’s something worth reading.)

With everyone posting their opinions on the internet, often enough you come across something (such as a UNH meme) that was generated to get that point across. It may be a picture with some writing on it or maybe just a picture that comes along with a story for people to read, like, and repost to get the message all over the internet. The one specific opinion that I want to focus on is the one that usually come out whenever a celebrity has recently died. You have probably all seen them on Facebook or the other social media sites: pictures of those serving in the military or other armed forces. These pictures often contain the names of those servicemen and women who also died the same week as the celebrity, but no one knows there names or that they died for this country.

The general idea is that when a celebrity dies, the world stops to mourn and is greatly affected, while there are other young men and women dying on a daily basis in service to this country; no one thinks about those people who die. (At least that is the general idea when it comes to these pictures.) I saw them pop up when Amy Winehouse died and now more recently when Whitney Houston died (and countless other celebrity deaths). They are all over the internet, creating quite a wave of conversations on the matter. So what’s my opinion on the situation? I understand both sides equally in this case; I just wish that everyone else did as well, because in this situation, both sides actually do have a point.

I greatly support our military services and all of the other armed forces that fight for this country every day. I wish more was done to remember them, especially since so many do die in the service of this country. It would be a truly wonderful thing if this country would rise up and member these people as much as it tends to do when a celebrity dies. That sort of support is needed, especially for the family and friends of these service men and woman. So, hence I understand the argument that these people do not receive the mourning of this country as other people do. As individuals, they are not known to everyone; however, they are heroes to this country and for that, America mourns its heroes. So in that case, these pictures of these heroes should come up more often, and not just when someone everyone knows dies.

On the other side of this debate, I understand the national attention a celebrity’s death brings, especially if it’s someone who is a great influence in industries such as music, movies, or art. It is these people that inspire people all over the world with their works of art and talent. Millions of people know who they are and have at one point or another been touched by them, whether it was significantly or not. I agree that the media attention in these cases is ridiculous and drawn out for weeks, but there are people who do grieve just as much as other people. Celebrities (as funny as it sounds to all of us) are people too. They live and they die. But when they die, more people just want to know about it, because they have a physical connection with them (kind of…in a way). However, I do admit that some people take grieving for celebrities way to far…especially if they had never met them in the first place.