Dougallmedia's Covid Response


I keep seeing dead people

The last year and a half has been difficult for those who have lost a loved one either to COVID or any other circumstance.  Social distancing restrictions have made it even more so.

For some, being unable to grieve with family and friends, or to go through all the traditional activities associated with laying a loved one to rest, makes the loss all the more painful and unreal.  For others, it’s almost a blessing.  Many people have difficulty talking about death, let alone, going through the motions of a funeral.  The less they think about it, the better.

Ironically, that doesn’t seem to be the case in Hollywood.  In the past 18 months, there’s been a definite increase in the death notices for the entertainment industry.  It’s not that there have been a lot more deaths; more that the industry has been talking about it a lot.  Revelling in it, you might say.

And if anyone can make a public spectacle (not to mention money) out of a death thousands of miles away, it’s Hollywood.

We’re used to big names making the news when they pass.  After all, if they make headlines and marquees (not to mention, millions) over the years while they’re alive, they deserve at least a notation when they’re dead.

That’s often followed by a series of stories focusing on two things:  that person’s past work or character, and the reactions to their death from fellow celebrities.  (The latter seems to be the bigger draw for reporters.)  This double dose of content means the media machine can usually get at least a dozen stories out of it, ranging from print to television.  And the more their names are out there, the more celebrities can cash in.

But since early 2020, a lack of real entertainment news during the various shutdowns has made death an even bigger story.  And it’s also moved the passing of C-list celebrities – read:  teen social media influencers and YouTube performers – into mainstream awareness.

That’s not to say that their loss isn’t a tragedy to those who knew them.  It is.  However, they too are getting the follow-up “reaction” stories from their previously anonymous friends and followers.  (Isn’t it nice that they too can get their 15 minutes?)  Plus, there’s the occasional “Cause of Death” post-coverage that shows up weeks later.

And in case anyone dares to forget any of those losses, every award show is ready to drag out their list of “In Memoriums.”  Producers hire a singer and select an over-the-top musical accompaniment to use as the names and pictures scroll by.  It’s all very touching.

Of course, the next day those same producers are then fileted in the media for failing to mention a half-dozen or so names that didn’t make the cut – and all the reasons they should have.  But what can you expect when you’re trying to time out all those names to match the length of a tearfully poignant ballad?  (Priorities people!)

Fortunately, by then someone name-worthy somewhere else has passed.  Thus, the circle of death begins anew.  And nobody does it better than Hollywood.