Death of a Celebrity

By Jaime Nava

People say some pretty crass stuff when famous people die. It’s often followed by “too soon.” This is supposed to make it okay and still kinda funny, even if we’re not supposed to laugh. Por ejemplo:

“Raise your hand if you thought Peter O’Toole died back in the 90’s. That’s what I thought.”

-Dead Celebrity Jokes

More than likely, though, we find comments that remember the person who died with fondness and touchy feelers.

“Gene Wilder was one of the funniest and sweetest energies ever to take a human form. If there’s a heaven, he has a Golden Ticket. ;^)”

-Jim Carrey

“He was always able to make us smile, and that is no small feat. Rest with the stars, Gene Wilder.”

-George Takei

Aside from the fact that most of us really have no idea who these people really were (notice all the Facebook posts saying “RIP Joe/Willy/Frederick”), aside from the fact that we want them to live forever in our minds a certain way. Celebrities are people. I’m sorry if I sound cold. It’s not my intention. Proper mourning should exist. Yet the very fact that some people could be offended over the idea that our celebrity heroes weren’t perfect tells us something as a culture. The little old lady with no family who dies from heat during a power outage in Missouri doesn’t have George Takei or Jim Carrey saying a damned thing. No, it’s only when it’s musicians and actors kick the big one. And we post and post for what, three whole days?

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Then some quarterback sits during an anthem or some politician says something that stokes other fires that the front page of our mind is wiped and filled with new stories. We will never forget until we do. The truth is that it’s only as important to us as we remember it to be. For Gene’s family, they will mourn and remember long after the rest of us. It’s the same for Prince Nelson’s close family and friends. The same for David Jones’. As a culture, we all forget. We don’t remember and don’t get all that teary eyed because these people were remembered for their movies, music, or some other famous thing. We don’t know their idiosyncrasies. We don’t know what flavor cake they craved for their sixth birthday. We don’t know their fears and their greatest joys. We might pretend to because that’s what actors give us. Ultimately, our tears are nearer to a crocodile’s. I’m sure you remember Josephine Baker. Oh, no? Louise Brooks? Bummer. Any fame that someone may have will eventually fade with them. Why? Because fame that we recognize only lasts with mankind and no further. To God, we are all the same, not Big Shots who eat bullets or crap ice cream, just inwardly focused bags of maggots.

There is one who mourns for the death of every celebrity. He knows them all personally from every angle. No, it’s not their agent. As if. He is the same who mourns for the death of the bum who suffocated on his own vomit. God takes no pleasure in the death of anyone (Ezekiel 18:32). And to God, He remembers each and every one of us like the number of hairs on earth. On the human scale, we’re really not special. To God, we are everything. Selfish forgetters of others are redeemed by the One who will never forget us. To Him, you have more worth than Jim Carrey and George Takei could ever ascribe.

Our mark on history isn’t in books, film, or song; it’s on the Son of God. For you to be remembered, He had to suffer. For you to be remembered, He had to shed His own innocent blood. It is He who writes our name in the book of life. It is He who humbled Himself to the point of death for you. It is He who crushed Satan with His pierced feet. It is He who came back to life for good. It is He who showed Himself to humanity to show that, despite the fact that He was humiliated and killed, He is still alive. It is He who judges the quick and the dead. It is He who is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. It is on Him and nothing else that our mark on history remains. It’s not in wealth or fame. Those things are moth fodder. No, it’s in the Body of Christ. There is true life, and it is offered even to someone as forgetful as you. Get over yourself. Get over the celebrities. Jesus overrules them all. And crazy enough, it’s in His death and life that God will never forget even you.

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