Slowly but surely we are entering a very scary time, where every day someone you know will be announced dead. Are you ready? With the recent death of Ryan Dunn – one of the stars from the infamous cable TV show and movie series “Jackass” – we’re reminded of the pending age of “celebrity death.” We’ve lost a number of big celebrities and innovators over the past few years — from Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson, to Leonard Stern and Anna Nicole Smith. The number of celebrity deaths we can expect in the coming years is going to simply explode. And this is going to be the direct result of technology. Thanks to the growing number of TV channels and shows, YouTube hits and unlimited level of connectivity that makes stars, pseudo-stars or persons of interest out of pretty much anyone, the number of people we now know and look to as “celebrities” is reaching remarkable heights. We have never been so connected to so many prominent people in society before, and the more people you know, or know of, the more frequent you will begin to notice people dying. And there’s nothing we can do but prepare ourselves for the news. Soon enough the daily news, Facebook walls and Twitter feeds will be packed full of word that someone who had inspired, entertained or motivated us has passed. Celebrities we once grew up watching will disappear into surprising blog headlines and obituary pages for national papers. To quote the blogger Jason Kottke: “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.” This year alone we have lost Ryan Dunn, Clarence Clemons the saxophonist for Springsteen’s E Street band, Jeff Conaway, Gil Scott-Heron, Randy Savage, Dr. Who sidekick Elisabeth Sladen, director Sidney Lumet and bassist for TV on the RadioGerard Smith, just to name a small few. How are we to cope when every day we are reminded of the fragile state of our existence? Will having a more direct and digital access to death help us to live life fuller, or will we become increasingly numb to such news, using our apathy as filter whenever we are online? Or are we going to start picking and choosing who and how we mourn? What do you think? Is there anything we can do about the pending age of celebrity death?
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