Science & Technology

The Age of Dead Celebrities


As the departure of Ted Kennedy threatens to overwhelm the death of Dominick Dunne and as we already begin to forget the exits of Robert Novak and Les Paul, take time to read Joanne McNeil's thoughts on the coming era of the dead celebrity:

In the future, a famous person will die every fifteen minutes. Already it's happening. The ascent of the microcelebrities, the 24 hour news cycle, citizen journalism, and our darkest fantasies all collide on Twitter now. The website's question "What are you doing?" sometimes feels more like "Who died today?"

Every day on Twitter, news of another death. Les Paul, John Hughes, Farrah Fawcett, those big names, but also the editor at this publication, the founder of this startup, the people who we might not all know, but someone you know knew them and they are using the space to remember them.

Sure, Maria Shriver's euology made me sit up straighter and think I want to be like that. But, I mean, was I supposed to be shocked that Eunice Kennedy passed on? I guess it's small talk of a darker sort. You could talk about the weather or whose heart stopped.

Bonus link, because it's an odd bit of trivia and I didn't see it mentioned anywhere: Did you know Ted Kennedy inspired a Styx song?