Posted by: minnow | January 24, 2008

Why do we care?

Heath Ledger is dead.  The media coverage on certain 24/7 outlets has been around the clock.  It was worse with Anna Nicole Smith and often chronicles the mishaps of Brittney Speers.  Is Heath Ledger just one more in a too long list of celebrities who get their 15 minutes of fame for being over the top and out of control?  Or, is this case different? 

As I tried for the past couple days to get political news and have been inundated as well with the updates on Ledger I began to notice something.  The media seemed very intent on wanting to uncover a scandal.  My son who was only casually watching even commented on how often people were asked if Ledger had a drug problem or if those around him had noticed whether or not he was more depressed than normal.  A big deal was made about a break up with the mother of his daughter.  And, reports exaggerated information about how he was found–on the bed, off the bed, pills scattered, naked, a rolled up 20 dollar bill.  The media seemed to want to make this sad death into something unseemly.  Finally about noon on Wednesday my son asked, “Do you think they [the media] ever regret the stuff they say, the stuff that isn’t right?”  I didn’t know how to answer him.  I just felt sad.  Sad especially for Ledger’s family, having to put up with all the garbage on top of needing to deal with the death of Heath.  But I also felt sad for us–the public.  Are we really so calloused that we want the gossip the media spews at us without regard to how it will impact those involved?  Do we somehow think we’re owed this titillating speculation as fans?  I certainly hope not.  I hope those who have gotten it wrong and by doing so have made Heath Ledger’s death a more painful experience for his friends and family are reprimanded, fine, fired even.  That probably won’t happen but I at least can turn off my television and refuse to join in the speculation.

If anything good is to come from this tragedy I hope we can look into tougher standards on prescription medications that have the potential of this kind of damage.  I hope we can look at the people around us and be more compassionate.  I hope a lot of us turn off our TVs. 

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Responses

  1. […] minnowspeaks wrote an interesting post today on Why do we care?Here’s a quick excerptIt was worse with Anna Nicole Smith and often chronicles the mishaps of Brittney Speers. Is Heath Ledger just one more in a too long list of celebrities who get their 15 minutes of fame for being over the top and out of control? … […]


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