In a rather heartfelt episode of PBS Idea Channel, host Mike Rugnetta very eloquently and somewhat ardently explains why it’s okay to mourn celebrity deaths online, why some people feel it’s inappropriate and what makes people feel close enough to celebrities to mourn their deaths.
The answer to the question posed in the title of this video is yes. Yes, it is ok to mourn a celebrity death online and yes, it’s ok to do each component activity. It’s ok to mourn online and it’s ok to mourn celebrities. …If you would prefer to grieve privately that is your right and no one can follow you there is no one correct way to mourn…being a person in the world is allowing oneself to be affected by a multitude of things, with it many things will have great impact and some of those things will be larger than life entities in the public eye. If you want to deny that artists, heads of state, entrepreneurs and performers can have great emotional aspirational philosophical or intellectual impact on others we can disagree fundamentally and then this conversation is over, but if you allow that such a thing is possible, you also have to allow that such impacts can make people feel like those public figures helped them become themselves. This is why it’s sad that David Bowie died and why I’m allowed to be sad and tweet about it. I didn’t know David Bowie, but at times remarkably like David Bowie knew me and what’s more important at times it felt like he knew who I wanted to be. Same is true for people who mourned Oscar de la Renta, Amy Winehouse, Andy Warhol Glenn Frey, Harper Lee, Princess Diana and John Lennon at their passing and forever after. Losing a creative hero is like losing a great teacher someone who knew things about the world you didn’t but showed them to you in this inviting way that encouraged you to become yourself.