Cult of Mourning

2016 took a heavy toll on our celebrities, as we all know. I think it's unlikely that no one was left unmoved by the removal of someone famous who meant something to them. Which makes it all the more annoying to see comments from people dismissing their grief or thinking that they're clever in pointing out that a year is an arbitrary unit of time, that death doesn't care if it's 2016 or 2020. Well, it matters to us, as humans, who have decided to structure their lives around these units of time.

The most vile comment needs no introduction, as I'm sure everyone knows that I'm referring to the oh-so-odious Katy Hopkins attempting to stay in the public consciousness. I'm sure we've all seen other, similar comments from others. I saw a status of a friend saying that they had defriended someone for that very reason. It seems all too easy for people to dismiss the death of a celebrity, due to their privileged lifestyle, their relative wealth; they're not a 'real' person, unlike the hundreds and thousands that go unmourned every day. And yes, they have no more significant value than any other human being, it's still appropriate to mourn them like a lost friend.

Carrie Fisher helped open people's eyes to mental health, with her open and honest way of speaking about living with bipolar, she helped to make the discussion a sensible, less stigmatised one. Was she entirely responsible for the process we've seen unfold (and continues to unfold)? No, but she was a significant voice, one that has touched a lot of people's lives in many ways. Just sad that General Leia's died? That's fine too. Whatever reason you have to mourn a celebrity, they're all valid. Whether you loved David Bowie, Prince, or George Michael for their music, how they helped define sexuality, or any other reasons, they're all equal in you feeling like you connected with that person, that they had an influence on your life. The Discworlds have taught me so much about the world and myself that Terry Pratchett's passing felt like a physical loss. What's the point of entertainment and entertainers if we can't mourn them when they leave us and celebrate their wonderful lives? If we can't celebrate or mourn them, then let's vow, right now, right here, to never have famous people ever. No one is allowed to be more well-known than anyone else, punishable by death (an unmourned death). Now that sounds like an excellent dystopian novel idea right there...

I don't think that strange form of popularity socialism is quite what Katy Hopkins was going for, so I'm going to go ahead and feel sad for a bit longer (yes, I have been listening to Bowie all week and rewatched Star Wars again recently).