It seems like the internet is full of outpourings of grief about what can only be called strangers. Yes, they’re famous. We might have seen interviews with them. Or even read their books, watched their TV shows and bought their movies. But we didn’t really know them. All we knew was the carefully curated glimpse presented in the pages or on the screen. So why do we take it so hard when they leave us?
I think one reason is that, like it or not, public figures are replacing the role of community elders. Think about it. Do you know the names of the elders or leaders in your local community? Are you even on first name terms with your next door neighbours?
Most of us are more likely to turn to our favourite book, song or movie when we need solace or advice. It’s not surprising that we then feel a bond with the writers or actors who’ve created the art for us. So it’s natural to feel a sense of loss when these creators, these unwitting confidants and mentors pass away.
Maybe we shouldn’t be so dismissive of those grief-stained tweets after all.