Friday, September 08, 2006

Celebrities exist to…

And the early obits say he was a good man – you can't argue with that. Not today you can't. Not now you can't.

Okkervil River – The President's Dead

Not the best week to be an Australian Icon. All of them are eyeing each other nervously and downplaying their cultural significance. Because they know something you don't. Celebrities exist to remind us that we die. If you think they serve any other function then you're not really thinking it through.

We're just waiting for them to die. Holding our breath. We all die. But celebrity possesses a narrative. Celebrity is larger than life and defined, and summed up after death. Without the death, you've only half the story.

Irwin. Thiele. Brock.

They've fulfilled their function.

Just like Enkidu*.

And it's a tragedy, but we're all heading there, and it's all waiting for us. It's tragic, but that's life, and life needs stories with beginnings and endings (no matter how abrupt or disjointed), so we hold our breath and wait for them to die, and, even when it's a surprise we know it isn't.

Celebrities exist to remind us we die.

*who was really a sort of proto Steve Irwin if you think about it.

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