Thursday, January 24, 2008

B-List Celeb I Don't Care About: Dead!

Heath Ledger died two days ago. Noooooooo! The New York tabloids are keeping their usual sense of perspective, reporting on Ledger's death as if flags should be flown at half-mast. At least they're showing more restraint than "nina" from Tbilisi, posting on the BBC's message board:

Heath,I loved you always and everywhere.When I heard about your death I thought I would die with you but I couldn't.I remember once when I asked you an autograph,you smiled sweetly and asked my name.It was the best memory of my life.
i am now devastated.
Please don't say that Heath's dead.He lives in our hearts...forever...
Rest in peace my love

I'm surprised that A Knight's Tale even made it to the Republic of Georgia.

I understand mourning if you knew the man, if you'll experience some genuine loss from his death. But you didn't, and I don't care how many times you've seen Brokeback Mountain or The Brothers Grimm, or if you own the complete series of Roar on DVD, you didn't know him. He made his living pretending to be other people, okay? Maybe, if you stretch, if you pick up on the tics and nuances of individual actors, you can see him as someone whose job it is to entertain you, in the same way your supermarket checkout boy is the guy who bags your groceries. But since you spend your time writing misspelled posts on internet bulletin boards, I doubt that, too. You'll wake up tomorrow, go to work, have lunch, day after day, and eventually Access Hollywood will run story after story on some other instantly interchangeable twenty-something promising actor; the next thing you know, you're dreaming about marrying Casey Affleck or Zac Ephron on a beach in Malibu, nina.

The tabloids will keep up their usual respectful, objective coverage until Brangelina adopts another foreign baby or Britney has a back-alley abortion or something.

I didn't lose any sleep over that construction worker who fell forty-two stories to his death (around the corner from Ledger's apartment, too) ― and you didn't either ― so what makes Heath Ledger so much more worth the hyperbole? Front-page news versus the Post's "Local" section, buried among "Out of Control Psych Hospital $lapped" and "Charges Due in Base-Haul?" A "tragedy" or "tragic," according to... let's see: Nicole Kidman, Rob Reiner, the Australian prime minister, the president of Warner Brothers, and Mel Gibson. Benazir Bhutto's death was a tragedy that threatened to throw an entire nuclear-armed nation into chaos; Heath Ledger's death is unfortunate at best, although we all know it'll turn into an exhibition for Pat O'Brien to cream himself over while he's on The Insider pretending to give a damn.

If you saw Joel McHale's brief eulogy for Ledger on The Soup, he (inadvertently) highlighted what's so ridiculous about the reaction to Ledger's death: "In all our time doing this show, we've never had reason to mention him," which is the classiest celebrity worship possible. That's our standard? He wasn't a psycho douchebag with uncontrollable rage issues? Let's try raising our expectations of people a little bit.