General Question

ragingloli's avatar

Celebrity deaths, why do people care?

Asked by ragingloli (41620points) February 2nd, 2014

Most people never even met them.

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34 Answers

jca's avatar

Because if you appreciate that person’s talent, then you’ll be seeing no new productions from that person any longer. It’s like the person will be frozen in time.

livelaughlove21's avatar

The same reason we care about things like Jennifer Aniston’s new haircut or Miley Cyrus’ relationship with Liam Hemsworth. We’re interested in the lives (and therefore deaths) of celebrities. We watch them on TV, listen to them on the radio, and feel as if we know them because their lives are so public.

Cruiser's avatar

Celebrities are people who touch our lives in cerebral ways ordinary people don’t. We can attach moments in our lives that connect us to this actor/musician/celebrity/writer that is a touchstone in our lives and when they leave us…undoubtedly we feel a sadness akin to losing a close friend.

jaytkay's avatar

Philip Seymour Hoffman was about my age. He was in tons of movies that I really liked (and I don’t see a lot of movies). Hey, those are the movies I would be in if I could be in movies! Same with authors and musicians. That’s the work I would create if I had talent!

So I identify with him. He’s “my people”, Watching his work, I imagine we could hang out.

So I feel bad that he blew it. I’m disappointed he was wasting his opportunity on Earth.

I want him to be OK.

Pachy's avatar

@Cruiser, @jca and @jaytkay—kudos. Wonderful comments. I could not agree with each of you more.

bolwerk's avatar

Mostly I don’t. PSH was legitimately very talented and entertaining, however.

Certainly many deaths are cause to celebrate. The world can do with fewer people like Margaret Thatcher, and it’s fair to say the Lord doesn’t call the rubbish home fast enough. :(

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think as humans we’re programmed to respond to death in some way.

Blondesjon's avatar

For the exact same reason Justin Bieber is so reviled right now.

We place our celebrities on a level separate from the level we occupy. This is how we are able to label them demigod or demon. This is how we are able to feel better about ourselves and our lives.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I would be much more sympathetic to celebrity deaths if they happened by accident.

If Hoffman died in a plane crash, I might care a little.

A self-induced heroin overdose? Nope.

jca's avatar

I don’t think anybody does a drug intending to get addicted. They know the likelihood is that they will, but I think people start by “trying a little” of something. I hear a lot of callous remarks on the internet (not just here) about him dying, people saying things like they have no sympathy because if someone puts a needle in their arm, they deserve to die. I don’t think, even if someone brings about their death by OD’ing, that they deserved to die.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That would depend on the accident, though. If it was an accident caused by their own stupidity I wouldn’t feel so sorry for them.

Kropotkin's avatar

“We’re interested in the lives (and therefore deaths) of celebrities”

Speak for yourself.

“Celebrities are people who touch our lives in cerebral ways ordinary people don’t . . .”

Speak for yourself.

The only thing interesting to me about some of their deaths is how they’re the result of self-destructive behaviours. Despite all the fame and fortune of these people, they often end up being depressed and dysfunctional. I’m not remotely interested in the individuals, and the world isn’t running out of actors and singers.

The celebrity culture is interesting from a more academic perspective, and how people can emotionally involve themselves with people they don’t know privately at all—sometimes to the most delusionally fanatical levels.

marinelife's avatar

We are all diminished by the loss of one.

jca's avatar

I just asked a question on the whole topic of people deserving to die, in Social.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Kropotkin I was speaking for myself. I used “we” as in “people that care about celebrities,” not as in “everyone.” I’m very well aware that not everyone cares when a celebrity dies. Many do, though – obviously.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Why do people care that people care?

Cruiser's avatar

@Kropotkin It is a shame you cannot appreciate the distinction between an actor who possesses skills to portray a character within a story written and directed to provide a moment of escape from the drudgery most of us plow through on a daily basis.

Actors are human and just the same as all the hundreds of other unfortunate souls whose lives were cut short today by their addictions and they do not deserve deity status because they were on the big screen but do not begrudge those of us who appreciate an actor or artists abilities despite their human frailties.

bolwerk's avatar

If you need movies to escape the drudgery of your life, there is something fucked up with your life.

jaytkay's avatar

It’s fucked up if you don’t use books and movies to escape your day-to-day drudgery, and learn about life outside yourself.

All of us have very limited real-world experience. Fiction (and non-fiction) lets us feel what it’s like to be another person in another place and time. Otherwise, we literally cannot know.

Coloma's avatar

Because we all share the same humanity and it goes to show that everyone os only human no matter how great your accomplishments.. Also memories as well.
I do not care nor follow any celebrities but I have many whom I enjoy/ed.

Kropotkin's avatar

@Cruiser I’m sure you’ll cope somehow. Perhaps you can watch a movie or something.

shrubbery's avatar

Celebrity culture is weird and fucked up, but it exists. And these people do reach into our lives in some way or another, even if we don’t know them at all, even if the people we think we know are just completely made up personas for the cameras. You like someone’s work, you admire them, you look into more of their work, you have a connection with them, even if they don’t know it. And they’re not going to know if you mourn for them when they die but it’s something you do for yourself, you mourn the connection you made with them at your end. And it is possible to sympathise with their friends and family who did know them.

filmfann's avatar

These are artists, who collaborate to make a single work of art. PSH was a nice flavor in often very exotic soups.

Berserker's avatar

I’ve wondered that myself. Somehow I can’t seem to bring myself to care about celebrities that have died, even if I liked their work.

In my case, when Stephen King dies, I know for a fact that for years after his death, new books from him will still mysteriously be coming out, anyways…

I mean, when some homeless guy cuts his own throat with a broken beer bottle, does anyone care? Not unless he was family or a friend, and in my eyes, I don’t see why it should be different with celebrities. Then again feelings dictate, just my own mind.

If I get sad when people who I don’t know perish, it’s when death came unjustly, through some atrocity, like a war that killed a bunch of kids and shit.

So why do people care. It’s easy to see why, plenty of good answers here, I just can’t relate to this.

Fluthyou's avatar

I have cared because I’ve grown accustomed to seeing these faces, to seeing their work and rooting for their performances. I’ve also probably gotten a little too invested in their lives but it basically comes down to recognition. I’ve come to recognize and respect them.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
talljasperman's avatar

If our community manager dies than the whole site will quickly fall apart. it would be good to have time to adjust.

Paradox25's avatar

While I generally disregard celebrity news the death of Michael Jackson bothered me a bit. I thought he was one of the most talented singers of all time, and his music really brought back many memories of my childhood. I remember me and my brother trying to do the moonwalk, and dressing ourselves up like the zombies in the thriller video.

I think he got an undeserved bad rap, and I don’t believe he ever molested any children. I just think that Michael was trying to live out the childhood he never had. I find it to be a shame that parents would resort to such low standards just to cash in. This goes to show you just because someone has kids it doesn’t make them any more empathetic, compassionate or caring than childless people.

Aethelwine's avatar

Everyone on my fb feed is acting like their brother died. ugh

I don’t get the celebrity death fascination. Y’all weren’t posting about how great Robin Williams was last week.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Again, why do people care that people care? Seems like one of those things you can easily pay no mind to if you wish.

Aethelwine's avatar

Seems like one of those things you can easily pay no mind to if you wish.

Not if you like to read news articles on the internet, watch a little television, look at fb to see what your friends and family are up to, stand in line at a grocery store or listen to the radio. These are things I do daily and all I hear about is Robin, Robin, Robin. I need to go to the woods for a week to escape talk of Robin.

livelaughlove21's avatar

One person on my FB said that she “could not be more sad” that Robin Williams died. Really? I care that he died and think it’s sad, especially considering how it happened and who he was, but I would definitely be more sad if, say, a family member or friend of mine died. I think people get a little overly emotional about celebrities that they’ve never even met, but I sort of understand why. It’s almost like we know these people (even if we don’t) through their work and watching their careers unfold and getting invested in them and/or their characters. It is kind of like losing someone you knew, and it’s definitely different than hearing about some perfect stranger dying, but I agree that some people are acting like Robin Williams was their homie or something.

Then again, I’ll probably be an absolute wreck when Gale Harold (who’s hardly even a celebrity) dies, and I don’t care how stupid it is, dammit.

Darth_Algar's avatar


Aww, that’s too bad. Although, yes, most of those are things you can ignore. You can skim over FB posts. You can change the dial on your TV or radio. You don’t have to pay attention to other people’s conversations at the grocery store.

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