Have you ever wondered why there is so much public mourning for celebrity deaths? Perhaps you’ve wondered what the fuss is about. The recent deaths of Jerry Stiller, Fred Willard and Ken Osmand have caused massive outpouring of grief, even though we have likely never met them or knew them.
Many people still remember where they were when they learned that Princess Diana, Carrie Fisher, Heath Ledger, or Robin Williams died. Some can recount years, if not decades, later what they were doing. This is especially astonishing when most of us couldn’t remember what we did last weekend, let alone a year ago.
Why do these people hold meaning and, just as importantly, why do we feel so sad when they pass away? Is it just some pathetic illusion that we were closer to these celebrities than we actually were? Or does it mean that our lives are so empty and meaningless that we have to feel close to these celebrities in order to bring a sense of purpose to our lives?
While it may seem that way for some, it’s not the case at all.
Here are some reasons why we feel so connected famous people and why we feel so sad when they are gone.
Collective Mourning Connects Us To A Larger Community.
Collective mourning over a celebrity such as posting on Facebook, attending a candlelight vigil, or talking about it with some friends is relatively common. Communicating about whatever made that celebrity famous – whether it was songs, films, or a sports match – allows us to relive those moments and share them with others because our cultural tastes often reflect our values and worldviews.
Collective mourning reminds us that we’re part of a particular generation, whether Baby Boomers, Gen X, or Millennials, and helps us to celebrate the cultural touchstones that define our particular age. For example, Baby Boomers might react more to Elvis Presley’s or David Bowie’s death than they would Kurt Cobain.
We Feel Close To Celebrities
.One reason we feel sad when celebrities die is because they feel like our friends, even if we never met them. Many people feel strongly connected to movie stars, musicians, athletes and others because we see them on television, on the radio or the internet. We often know about their lives, who they are married to, where they live, and what they do in their free time.
Believe it or not, the bonds we form with celebrities are normal. Even though we know logically that celebrities are not really our “friends,” we form a special kind of connection with them. They never disappoint, annoy, or anger us like our other friends do. For good and bad, we hold them up on a pedal stool.
Celebrities Deaths Remind Us Of Our Own Mortality
We may also be upset by the deaths of celebrities because their deaths remind us that we are all human. We all have a fear of dying that we mostly deal with by not thinking about it. We push the thought of our own passing out of our minds. But when death comes to the forefront, we think of our own mortality and it can be unpleasant. It is a scary reminder of aging and death. This is especially the case when it happens to rich and famous people who seem to have all the advantages in the world. If even these people die, then it means we are all destined for the same fate.
There are people who sneer at those who mourn the death of a celebrity. They think it’s stupid to get attached to someone we don’t even know. What these people don’t realize is that it is perfectly natural to feel sadness over the passing of a famous person – no, we are not shallow or narrow-minded for feeling grief. As we have demonstrated, it is a part of the fabric of our DNA.
Celebrities are an important part of society. They do more than entertain us. They are the glue that binds us all together. They are what we talk about with friends, read about in the news, and the people we cheer on. And so when a celebrity dies, we should allow ourselves to showcase our grief.
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