I'm going to have to be delicate here, because I'm going to write about the late Brittany Murphy and her death, something that is obviously tragic and very, very sad. But an event like this also brings up one of the most infuriating and narcissistic qualities of modern human beings. Namely the way that we incorporate celebrity tragedy into our own lives when we really have absolutely no connection whatsoever.
Ms. Murphy's passing is a sad thing, no question. When I found out about it, I felt for her family and husband and her friends. I thought that, when I had seen her performances, particularly in 8 Mile and Sin City, she had an odd little spark that was interesting and showed some talent. It was, in the most serious sense of the word, a shame. And if her death was, as rumoured, caused by complications stemming from anorexia, that that is an issue that Hollywood as a whole needs to do something about.
But then I moved on. Why? Because I didn't know the woman. I saw her in some movies. I didn't know her, and it's completely crass of me to share my "feelings" about her death considering there are people out there right now who did know her and love her that must be going through hell. So why would I do it? Well, to make myself feel important, maybe. Or make myself feel like I'm somehow part of the scene. But I'm not not. And using the death of a stranger to do so makes me pathetic, doesn't it?
I know some of you may be thinking that I've written more than a few obits for the famous over the life of the Nerd Report, but I insist that there's a difference. What I hope I've done with my obits is write an actual obituary; they aren't about me or my feelings (with the exception of Paul Benedict, who I actually met once or twice) they are about the life and legacy of the artist.
Even other celebs are guilty of this. Eonline has this story about how some celebs are "tweeting" their feelings. First off, "tweeting" something like that has to be to most moronic and inappropriate way to voice a reaction that has yet to be invented. To use that method to detail your intimate feelings about the death of a friend is insane. Literally. But some celebs (I'm looking at you Kevin Smith) claim not to have known her at all and still have things to say. Look, I get you're trying to make a gesture about a colleague, but it's really got nothing to do with you.
We need, especially in moments like this, to actually muster up real feelings and real empathy and a real sense of others. Sometimes the best you can do is simply feel for their family and keep quiet.