When did we start to forget that celebrities are humans? That they are real people with real lives and families, and not characters that are being written and directed. Some of them are held up as heroes; respected, loved and put up on a pedestal. They are seen as bulletproof no matter what happens. And some are seen as villains, who deserve all the bad things that can happen to them. It’s like they’re not real. It’s like watching a tv show with your favourite characters getting karma – good or bad.
I’ve been thinking about this recently following the robbery of Kim Kardashian. I have never watched her show, so literally all I know is that she’s famous for being famous, her late father was mates with OJ Simpson, and she’s married to an idiot. Recently, she visited Paris, where her hotel room was broken into. She was held at gunpoint, locked in her bathroom and millions of dollars worth of of jewellery was stolen from her. She begged for her life. She was shaken but unhurt in the incident.
“Genuinely. People said that a real life human being, the mother of two young children, should have been raped and shot.”
When the news broke, some people reacted in a less than sympathetic way. There were comments on Twitter saying that she deserved it, that she shouldn’t have had that much jewellery on her, that the robbers should have raped and murdered her. Genuinely. People said that a real life human being, the mother of two young children, should have been raped and shot. Her crime is that she is famous for no good reason, and the punishment for that crime is death. Seems legit.
Now, that’s horrible, then I saw this picture:
It’s basically saying that three people should be killed in exchange for three other people to be brought back to life. Now, the three men who are dead all died prematurely. It is very sad that they’re dead. I’ve spoken before about how sad I was about the passing of Robin Williams, and it would be lovely if he was still alive. However, surely people realise that suggesting that some people deserve to die more than others is wrong. Like really, really wrong.
“‘Oh my god, Bowie is dead! Why couldn’t it have been Justin Beiber instead?!’”
This isn’t the first example of this I’ve seen. 2016 has been a horrific year for celebrity deaths. We lost the amazing David Bowie, the beautiful Alan Rickman, the delightful Victoria Wood, and the insanely talented Prince. And when their passing was announced, I saw at least a handful of comments that followed the pattern of “Oh my god, Bowie is dead! Why couldn’t it have been Justin Beiber instead?!” So the insinuation is that just because a musician is not as talented as another one, they are more deserving to be dead!
Now, I’m not a complete idiot. I know when people say that sort of thing, they’re not being serious. I understand that they’re making a joke, or expressing their grief, or something like that. I know that the people writing those words don’t actually think that anyone deserves to die, but their words suggest that they don’t see these people as real. It’s like they’re watching a show, and their favourite character has been killed off, and they wish someone else has been written out. Because their lives are playing out in front of us, they’re perceived as characters rather than real people. But they’re not fictional, and when the words ‘why couldn’t it have been them’ come out, that’s someone saying they wish a person was dead. Why is that a thing?
Be cool. Be nice. And remember, no matter how rich or stupid or talentless a person is, they’re still a person. They are no less deserving of life than anyone else. It makes you look like an awful human being. And no one wants to be an awful human being…. Right?