How Would I Know That This Could Be My Fate

Trigger warning: I talk about suicide in this. And to anyone reading this who knows me and thinks they should worry about me — I’m fine. Really. 

From the Euphoria Morning album artwork. 1999.

I was sad when I heard that David Bowie died. I felt blind-sided when Prince died. It just is sad when people who make music and art that reaches a lot of people die, because collectively we lose something that made existence better.

Thursday, when I heard that Chris Cornell died I felt my stomach drop, but when I found out that it was a suicide, something inside of me broke.

Obviously I didn’t know Cornell. I have no idea what he was like as a person. But I’ve loved his music since I was young. Superunknown and Down on the Upside are two of the most formidable albums for my emotional development, and I continued to follow Cornell’s career, even through Audioslave. I was listening to Euphoria Morning just last week (I still had it on cassette).

But this isn’t about his musical impact. It’s about what I got out of his words.

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To lose their lives out on a limb…

[1] Brittany Murphy died a few weeks ago at the age of 32. I do not mean to exploit her in any way. The speculation surrounding her untimely passing just provides an example of a social problem that I feel needs addressing.

When news broke of Brittany Murphy’s death, there was speculation about drug use and/or an apparent eating disorder. This type of speculation always happens when a celebrity dies. Her husband and her mother did an interview this morning on the Today Show.

Let me say first, I don’t think they should feel the need to speak about their wife/daughter’s death. It’s personal for them and just because Brittany Murphy starred in movies (and, my personal favorite, was the voice of Luanne), it doesn’t mean that the public has to have an explanation of her death that goes beyond the public record/coroner’s report.

During the interview, her family denied that Brittany had either a drug problem or an eating disorder. I don’t doubt that they believed these statements. Brittany Murphy was frighteningly thin at some of her last public appearances, but this could be due to a lot of factors, only two of which being drugs or an eating disorder. I don’t know if either of these were the case, and I’m not going to speculate.

What does bother me is this:

NO ONE in this situation will ever admit that their loved one has/had a drug problem, an eating disorder, or any type of mental illness.

What are we so ashamed of?

There is still an unfortunate stigma attached with problems of the mind, and it’s disheartening. One shouldn’t be ashamed of an eating disorder or a drug addiction or depression or schizophrenia or any such “problem.” Nor should family members try to deny it, for whatever reason. It’s not your fault if someone you love has a mental illness of any sort. Nor does it mean that they cannot live a reasonable life or gain any sense of well-being. They just might need some help.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

The problem is that we see these things as “illnesses” in the first place.

[1]Title taken from “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley… yes, I know it’s in poor taste.

Death by Disney

Stunt death claims 3rd Disney employee in 7 weeks

Maybe “Disney World employee” should be put on the list of World’s Most Dangerous Jobs.

I’m really not trying to make light of this situation. It just feels really wrong to me that someone’s life should end at the hands of a theme park. Most work place deaths occur in the transportation, manufacturing, agricultural and construction sectors.  The fishermen that I have come to know and respect from Deadliest Catch are facing a higher death rate than any other job in the country. (I don’t think that counts military personnel, but statistics from said field aren’t exactly public domain.) People who go into these professions know to some extent what they are getting into and must accept the risk.

But no one expects to die at the Happiest Place on Earth.

People shouldn’t have to die at the hands of other people’s entertainment. Especially for entertainment aimed at children. It’s not that difficult to amuse a child. You don’t need to have employees perform potentially dangerous stunt-filled stage shows to get children to have fun at your theme park, or watch your movies, or badger their parents into buying them your merchandise.

No one should have to die for Disney.

Note: Article shared via AddThis

When All Else Fails, Profit from Death

[1]Do you realize that Michael Jackson died nearly seven weeks ago?  Seven weeks!  And for the past seven weeks I have been unable to go to a single news source without hearing some speculation about custody, autopsies, paternity, burial, Demerol, and a Jackson 5 reunion tribute concert.[2]

Or about how Ryan O’Neal was (supposedly) only interested in Farrah Fawcett’s fortune this whole time.

And now I just found out that Billy Mays was (allegedly) a coke user.

I do understand why the death of a famous person makes the news. I even kind of get why people want to leave flowers at Strawberry Fields.  But I don’t want to hear about any of the rest of this supposed news!

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Please Hollywood, Don’t Do This.

So long as I’m writing pleas, I figure another one can’t hurt.  ABC News is reporting that the much-fabled Jeff Buckley biopic that has been in the works for, well, what seems like longer than Jeff Buckley’s actual music career, has its choice of who is to play Jeff Buckley narrowed down to two actors: James Franco and Robert Pattinson.

Let me admit that I am skeptical of this report. First, it’s inaccurate as it seems to imply that “Hallelujah” was released posthumously, which is false.  “Hallelujah” is on Grace (Track 6), released in 1994, while Jeff Buckley was still alive.  Second, rumors of this film have been floating around for years.  Third, I don’t want to believe it.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against either of these actors.  From the little I know about acting and the work of theirs I have seen, I think either could portray Jeff Buckley.  James Franco is certainly a dead-ringer for him, and Robert Pattinson definitely has the hair for it.  Of course if the singing is not dubbed, then all bets are off.  They’d have to have a Grace-off, winner take the role.

But Hollywood, don’t do this, don’t make another biopic about a great and fabled musician.

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