Thursday, December 29, 2016

On Celebrity Deaths

I do suppose there is something to be said for celebrity worship being the tendency of a decadent and dying society. You'll get no shortage of pieces making that point, and there's truth there. But before we choke on our moralistic alleged detachment, we may consider a few things.

These are real people, actually made and loved by God. No matter what they've done, it's still true. The flip side of worship is actually envy. People seem to think that because they have money and fame, we are entitled to say whatever we like, to mock and demean them for things we don't like. There must be a great love of money or self, in order to accept this.

In another way, we overlook the possibility technology affords to expand friendship. I never met Dale Earnhardt or Robin Williams. But their talent and nearness through the gift of technology creates a bond of friendship, however small, that requires acknowledgment.

I recall that Dr. Alan Noble wrote about the difficulty many felt when Kevin Durant, one of the best basketball players on the planet, left his original team and community to play for another team. Instead of saying that people ought not feel betrayed and whatever else, perhaps we should say that the economic realities are not conducive to the bond of friendship. Pro sports leagues and teams are not averse to fostering those emotional bonds, when it serves them. Shared experience and goals create meaning.

I for one don't blame people for attempting to find meaning in people they have never met. We have worked so hard to destroy the things that make for friendship and community that we'll take anything, no matter how remote.

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