Friday, 25 December 2009

Clueless about death

Following the sudden, shocking death of Brittany Murphy, it's nice to see that certain customary traditions have been observed.

First off, the celebrity community has taken to Twitter en masse to express its heartfelt and meaningful condolences, in 140 characters or less. Amongst them, Brittany's ex Ashton Kutcher, who must have inadvertently raised the hopes of countless thousands of people when he tweeted "See you on the other side kid.”

Meanwhile, the press did their bit and upheld another long-standing tradition - turning uninformed conjecture, idol gossip and speculation into news.

Otherwise respected news source NBC claimed that 'what many people who knew the actress noticed most was her recent severe weight loss.“She looked painfully thin, even sick. She looked like she hadn’t eaten in who knows how long, her skin was terrible,” said one person who observed Murphy in recent weeks'. That certainly sounds like expert testimony to me.

The Daily Mail, however, prefers the drugs angle - presumably because it's easier to blame on somebody. Even though the article's four writers admit that 'LA chief coroner Ed Winter, insisted that Miss Murphy's death was not caused by drugs', they tellingly refer to a 'Huge haul of prescription drugs' in the headline of the article. Of course, they could have used the word medication instead, but that wouldn't have been nearly as salacious.

Finally, there are the conspiracy theorists who are finding spooky significance in the fact that Brittany's most recent DVD Deadline has a cover that depicts the actress slumped unconscious in a bathtub - not too dissimilar from the circumstances in which her body was found. Needless to say, the DVD has been pulled and some poor art-worker will be clocking up the hours over Christmas to come up with a less poignant alternative.

It's true that 2009 has claimed a number of people before their time. But the sad truth is that their passing is just as random, pointless and inexplicable as when it happens to us mere mortals.

Death comes without reason or explanation. So rather than scrutinising your tea leaves or booking seats in the audience for Derek Acorah's next seance, enjoy your loved ones while they're here.

Merry Christmas everyone.

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