Your Boo-Hoos Ain’t Like Mine

Death means more for pretty people.

This is my unasked for and unwanted advice to anyone who didn’t know actor Paul Walker personally, yet feels a deep sense of grief and loss over his untimely death as if they did.

Get over it. 

Paul Walker was a good-looking guy. He made some movies that some people liked and they made a lot of money. He didn’t win any acting awards and wasn’t nominated for any. And he damn sure wasn’t no James Dean.

It is because of his movies, specifically the Fast & Furious franchise, that we know the name of Paul Walker at all, but that’s reason enough for the outpouring of grief.

A little perspective here?

Walker’s death is no more tragic than any other death. It’s only more notable the same way it will be when Snooki or some other reality “star” kicks off Pointing this out is not being dismissive.   It’s a simple truth:  death means more when you’re pretty and famous.

It’s always easier to mourn “celebrities” than it is just folks. Our sympathy is finite and we tend to feel bad when its someone we “know” dies. I’ll feel bad when a Muhammad Ali passes away, but Ali was a star who changed the game. Paul Walker?   He was a pretty face in a business lousy with pretty faces.

Paul Walker and Vin Diesel are both being out-acted by this table.

“A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.” Stalin said, but even a single death is not a tragedy unless it’s unusual or the person was famous. Otherwise, we just shake our heads and keep it moving.

I’m aware there are losers making stupid jokes about the eerie coincidence of an actor who made movies where cars sped around and crashed through airplanes died in a car crash and it probably wasn’t five minutes before the  first tasteless memes about Walker’s death went online. It’s the Internet. Hating on stuff is what the Internet does.

I’m not hating on Walker.  Burning to death in a car crash is bad way to go out.  I feel sorry for his daughter and his fans.  But I don’t feel worse for Walker for his violent demise.  Most celebrity deaths are not “special” events simply because they were celebrities.   Everyone dies eventually and while some deaths are more tragic and have greater significance than an old person passing away in their sleep or a baby in their crib,  the only deaths that truly impact us are the people we know.   Don’t confuse sympathy for the dead with personally identifying with them.

Honey Boo Boo and the Duck Dynasty crew are famous because they’re on TV, but that doesn’t make them important.  Many of these “celebrities” have done very little worth celebrating.   Confusing fame with significance is a mistake.   The difference between stardom and talent is you can be a star and have no talent.  Walker was a movie star, but he wasn’t exceptional when acting was factored into it.

This is the acting requirement for The Fast & Furious films;  Drive car.  Look intense.  Don’t show up Vin Diesel.  Drive car fast.  Drive car faster.  Repeat.

It’s sad he died, but is it any sadder than the people killed in that train derailment in New York or in a car bombing in Baghdad?    It’s no less tragic for the family and friends of Roger Rodas, the driver of the car Walker died in, but he’s been reduced to a bit player in the story.

Anyone shook up by Walker’s death should feel equally bad when its someone not handsome or a movie star.  But I already know what the response will be to that line of thought.

Was he famous? Did he make any movies? Was he anybody special?

No? Well, then don’t bother me about nobodies and let me get back to mourning my close personal friend, Paul Walker.