Sometimes it makes me sad that our society has become more receptive to a kind obituary than to giving props to the living. Then again, I think people who are hostile to the grieving deserve a special place in Hell and I do think it is extremely important to honor the dead when they pass.
I found it surreal how many of my friends recently posted that Corey Haim was their first celebrity crush. He wasn’t my type, but his work obviously touched a lot of people. Yet the main feedback he got, while he was alive, was pretty negative. Somehow the way Corey Haim’s accomplishments peaked early made it acceptable for people to mock him when he was down. TMZ never runs an article about how someone who couldn’t hold down a job as a fry cook looked like death warmed over when they went to the supermarket the other day. But, if someone has a few accomplishments under their belt, then rumors of their marriage failing, details of their special sexual needs, and unflattering photos of them double-parked outside the Pinkberry for a yogurt during their time of the month are all fair game.
I am not a public figure, but maybe I wanted to be . . . before the internet came along and gossip media wildly outpaced more traditional entertainment journalism. I sure as heck have no desire to be a public figure now. I know absolutely nothing about Brad Pitt’s creative process, yet it is a challenge to avoid finding out when he is rumored to have had an argument with a lady friend or that his children might be privileged. That kinda sucks. I’d like to see a little less of man’s inhumanity to man and little more focus on what people actually do which matters. Society as a whole will suffer when nobody wants to be exceptional any more, because the price is too great and too inhumanly painful.
Melissa McEwan posted the following as her quote of the day on Shakesville and I thought it resonated enough to share.
I appreciate the fact that everybody [in the acting community] really cares and is trying to show their expression of sorrow right now. But at the end of the day, Larry, where were all these people the last 10 years, the last 15 years of Corey’s life? … Where were all these people to lend a hand out, to reach out to him and say, you know, you’re a legend, you’re an amazingly talented, wonderful person who’s really never gone out of his way to hurt anybody other than himself. He was there for his mom and he took care of her. He’s always been a good person.
…In this entertainment industry, in Hollywood, we build people up as children. We put them on pedestals. And then when we decide that they’re not marketable anymore, we walk away from them. And then we taunt them and we tease them. And things like TMZ, outlets like that, where it’s acceptable in society—it’s okay for society, as a whole, to poke fun at, to point fingers at, to laugh at us as human beings. Why is it okay to kick somebody when they’re down? I don’t think it is. And I don’t think it should be tolerated anymore.
…He had nobody to turn to. I was one of the few people he had left in his life. You know, you see these people making great statements and that’s wonderful and I hope they’re all there for the memorial. And I hope they’re all there for the funeral. But where were they during his life?
And that’s something that I believe that everybody in this society needs to hold themselves accountable for. I think that we all need to grow up. And we need to think about every time we laugh at somebody in the tabloids, or every time we poke a finger at somebody and say they’re a joke or they’re fat or they’re a drug addict or they’re washed up or they’re a loser, we need to look at ourselves and say, who am I?