Over the past five or so years of my life I have observed something extraordinary and damn annoying. That is, when someone who the public apparently despises dies, the public then flips a 180 and seems to become their “biggest fan” for the months following. It’s not that I believe we shouldn’t honour the dead and all that they have achieved throughout their life, more so that one should not simply fall head over heals with this person after their head and hells have been buried.
It all began in the year of 2006. As far as I could tell, Steve Irwin was regarded as a partially mentally deranged weirdo. I had not met one person who liked his on screen personality, leaving me to believe that not much would come about if he passed. That was an understatement. The country instantly fell in love with him, considering him a national treasure. I’m not attempting to defame Irwin, and I do respect all he has done to help conserve animals in Australia and other countries, but this onslaught of fans that soon later catapulted Bindi into the spotlight was just absurd and out of the blue. A little too late, to say the least.
The largest shift in public opinion I have experienced was after Michael Jackson’s death. If I’m not mistaken, and I know I’m not, we all looked upon Jackson as the definition of a pedophile. I’m neither stating whether the allegations were true or false (so his “fans” don’t spam me with abuse), all I’m saying is the public only began to appreciate the talent he possessed once he was gone. His records shot to the top of the charts again, mainly due to the sixteen year old girls running around distraught that they’ll never see their “idol” perform. Sixteen year old girls aggravate me for one main reason; they all appear to conform to whatever is “cool”. WIth Jackson sprung back into a spotlight not as harsh as before, many of these girls become obsessive with him and his songs (most of which they had never heard). It makes me wonder what his status would be if he were still alive today.
The most recent of these fan outbursts came after Whitney Houston passed a few days ago. I do not recall hearing any Houston songs being played over the past five years, with the exception of my cousin and I re-defining homosexual with our moves to “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”, and it raises the question if dying is the greatest promotion of all for pop stars. With Houston currently having three top ten albums on the Australian iTunes Chart, this is the best she has done in years. If I hear “I Will Always Love You” one more time I will crack, just as she did a few years prior. Australia was especially harsh on Houston during her previous world tour, despite that I am sure she would sell out fifty plus shows here if she could return from the dead from her new “fans”.
All three of these public figures have contributed greatly to the world in each of their fields of work, and have all recieved iconic statuses after their passing. All three do deserve this, but it raises a few valid questions. Do we look upon celebrities too harshly? Do we only appreciate them once they’re gone? Just because they’re deceased does that mean we have to overplay their music and pretend the nasty things said were a figment of our imagination? If there’s one person I feel bad for it’s Amy Winehouse. Although her label tried to scam as much money as they could after her death, I feel as though she never got a countries population worth of fans from it.