Jason Kottke on death in the celebrity age:
Frankly, I don’t know how we’re all going to handle this. Chances are in 15-20 years, someone famous whose work you enjoyed or whom you admired or who had a huge influence on who you are as a person will die each day…and probably even more than one a day. And that’s just you…many other famous people will have died that day who mean something to other people. Will we all just be in a constant state of mourning? Will the NY Times national obituary section swell to 30 pages a day? As members of the human species, we’re used to dealing with the death of people we “know” in amounts in the low hundreds over the course of a lifetime. With higher life expectancies and the increased number of people known to each of us (particularly in the hypernetworked part of the world), how are we going to handle it when several thousand people we know die over the course of our lifetime?
Our brains were not built to make everything we see on TV and the Internet a priority.
Whether it’s donating to a humanitarian org, keeping in touch with real friends, or “mourning” over the loss of celebrities (read: cultural icon, artist, musician), it can’t all be important to you. You can’t donate to every disaster on every continent. You can’t keep meaningful relationships with 500 Facebook “friends”, and you won’t be able to stay sad over the deaths of more than 5-6 celebrities for more than a few weeks. There’s only 24 hours in a day.
Figure out what’s important and disregard the rest.