This year is not murderous.
A lot of celebrities have died this year. It’s the reason so many people have been calling 2016 a bad year. A lot of inspirational people who created inspirational things died of various reasons, but the one thing they did not die of was “2016.” This year is not some sentient being that is out to murder idols and kill people in an out-of-control death spree. It’s a year, and lots of people die every year. That a lot of celebrities happened to count among that number doesn’t make this year any more malicious than others.
If I sound callous, it’s because I harbor a dislike of celebrity culture. That actors, musicians, athletes, or anyone else in the social spotlight are somehow more deserving of grief and mourning than anyone else. Yes, the things they produced or participated in have great value, whether it was music that moved you or a film that inspired you or an athletic moment that made you cheer. But I don’t think it makes their lives more valuable nor their deaths more shocking. They’re people. People die, and the year didn’t kill them. It was old age, or substance abuse, or years of fast living taking its toll, or all the other things that make our stories come to an end.
And 2016 didn’t “kill” the people who died of old age. It was their time to go. That’s sad, but not a tragedy. Hell, if I make it to my seventies or eighties and my achievements are recognized by my peers and fans around the world, I’ll consider that a happy ending to a long life well-lived. We should all be so lucky at the end of our lives.
Death is a tricky subject to talk about when you’re trying to look at it objectively. Deaths of celebrities can be even trickier to talk about when their passing has not affected you, but you know others are feeling genuine loss. And if you are among those actively mourning a celebrity passing, try to take solace in that even though they’ve gone, the work they’ve created has not gone with them. It remains here with us, to inspire and move us, and to remember them by. We should all be so lucky as to have that kind of legacy at the end of our lives.
By the time I write another blog entry, 2016 will be done. I’ll be glad to see it go, but not because it seemed like a celebrity-killing hitman. 2016 was a bad year for all its negativity, immature politics, unearthed xenophobia, and dangerous nationalism. The laundry list of celebrity passing hasn’t really affected me all that much…
…okay, maybe a little.