Sunday, December 20, 2009

2009 Celebrity Deaths *Continue* to Add Up

Folks, we were calling 2009 “The Year Celebrities Died” way back in June when two certain celebs died on 6/25, before recent big celebrity deaths and before a long line of deaths to follow. This title of the year is apt, because the number and frequency of such deaths this year is downright disturbing.

Now, it is to be granted that one should not jump to conclusions on such a matter. Suppose you never pay attention to any kind of news, but then one day you decide to start watching the news on TV. Sudddenly you’re going to come to the conclusion that crime is up, murder is up, the world is becoming more dangerous--all this when in fact, it’s not more dangerous than before but rather you never noticed these things before. However, this really is not the case this year. The number of deaths of celebrities we all know and maybe love is pretty high in 2009.

There were deaths before June 25. And there were deaths soon after June 25, in defiance of the “They go in threes” rule. And the deaths just kept coming after this. Oral Roberts had just died when I originally posted the URL In the ensuing five days, Alaina Reed Hall from 227 and Sesame Street died and also Brittany Murphy, who like others was not an elderly person.

So this leads to the question “Is God trying to tell us something?” I think the answer to that can only be No. There is no trying with God. God is not a failure and He either acts in a manner sure to get the job done or not at all; but not everyone will look at these deaths and come to some conclusion that this is somehow a message from the divine.

On the contrary, something like the course of events in biblical history should be kept in mind in this instance. For example, consider the case of Achan from the book of Joshua. Achan took some things that he should not have taken; the result was that his countrymen started dying in the field of battle, and people did not really know why this was happening, until they inquired and God let them know one their people had sinned. Likewise, many subsequent generations of Israelites abandoned their god and took to idolatry; the results were subjugation and death.

So if I were a celebrity right now, I would be wondering if God has not withheld the hand of protection from my community. Dangerous personal behavior, reckless behavior of aquaintances, natural decay of human health and well-being: perhaps now these are given pretty much a full license to run rampant as they naturally can apart from Common Grace.

And perhaps we are no longer protected on account of the transgressions and wrongdoings of both ourselves and our fans and worshippers. Virtual worship and adoration of celebs is nothing new. The attempts of celebs and their benefactors to normalize social evils (through PSAs, movies and small screens) and expect others to accept them is also not entirely new. But maybe now all this stuff has reached a boiling point, just as the evils of the Canaanites of old reaching a boiling point only after Abraham was told that 400 years would pass before it was time for his people to take the land.

The next time I read a liberal blog and see how people holler and complain about the “homophobia” of TV censors who had enough sense of decency to reign in this nobody adam lambert, I should remember that it was my community that did much to bring society to a point where the actions of the censors would even be controversial. Or if I pick up an issue of Tiger Beat and observe that the tween enthusiasm for me and my latest movie approaches a level of religious zeal, I should remember that I’m dealing with people whose priorities in life are less than unquestionable. And I should remember, finally, that not everyone in this life gets what he deserves, if I should stop to wonder why the death around me seems so indiscriminate.


So the odds that any particular celeb will survive until next year actually remain good on average. Still, those who are big and famous would do well to stop and meditate on who they are, on what they are a part of, and on what they do either intentionally or unintentionally.

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