A “Famously Tragic” Edition

In Advice, Life, People, Social Commentary on January 26, 2008 at 1:44 am

Mona, from Tuscon, writes:

Dear Ally,
Can you help me to explain something? Why why why would the universe take away, not only one teen heart throb, but two??? What cosmic force is causing the deaths of Brad Renfro and Heath Ledger? Who is next? Who is next???

Can you please answer these questions? It will give me the closure I need to continue in life.

Mourning Mona

*   *   *   *   *

My Dear Mona,

In the wake of the tragedies to which you refer, thousands of people are left hopelessly searching the clouds for an answer. And I don’t mean the friends and family, or close acquaintances, I mean thousands of complete and total strangers who clutch their glitter-glue signs, tear tracks staining their faces.
These people’s gutwrenching sadness stems not from sympathy with the previously mentioned friends or family but from the much more important connection that they have formed with the celebrity in question, based entirely on film characters and their own intensely invested daydreams.

It’s either that or that they’re just really upset that they’re going to be denied several hours of mind-numbing entertainment while they stuff their faces with Becel-slathered popcorn.

Not that I won’t miss either Mr. Ledger or Mr. Renfro – the former whose talent, shining through some films more than others, has earned him posthumous likenings to River Phoenix and James Dean, and the latter whose beaming genius in that timeless classic, Tom and Huck, still gives me the same naughty feelings it did when I was a girl…

Have no fear, Mona. I, in my infinite wisdom, have found the answer to your question.

Is it philosophical, perhaps even existentialist in nature? No. Is it the result of the social phenomenon that is “celebrity”? Or of the pressures which that life places on people who are no more emotionally and mentally stable then you or I? No. The long and the short of it Mona, the reason that beautiful, talented celebrities must occasionally lead short and brutal lives, comes down to a simple matter of the social economics of population.

Now, you might ask me if I have any idea what that particular combination of impressive-sounding words means. Which, of course, would be a silly question, because of course I don’t.
But I do have an inappropriately high level of self-esteem which I feel totally entitles me to elaborate as if I were fully aware of whatever the hell it is I just described. And so, let me elucidate.

Anyone who is familiar with Thomas Malthus’ Theory of Population, as I shall now pretend to be, will confirm that Malthus posited that a population cannot survive if over 72% of its beauty and talent are concentrated within 1.5% of the entire number. Each year, a certain number of persons within the celebrity community must make way for the new talent attempting to shove its way through the door.

Examining celebrity deaths in the new millennium, one can see this trend. 2003 was a rough year, as anyone can tell you, what with the loss of stellar greats like Gregory Peck, Katherine Hepburn, and Bob Hope – not to mention the younger Michael Jeter and Gregory Hines, and of course the incomparable John Ritter and Mr. Rogers.
A slam like that naturally left the world reeling (hehehe… puns!) However, take into consideration the blockbuster situation that year: 2003 was the year that such genius films as Love, Actually, The Return of the King, and Pirates of the Caribbean were launched. As time has since showed us, the “clearing of the board” so to speak, which took place that year was necessary to ensure the rise of such monumental talent behemoths as Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley. And so the balance of talent in our North American population was restored (don’t bother me with trivial ‘facts’ about nationality).

While this may explain the reason that Hollywood giants need to die (because, lets face it, with that much money in one place they clearly would have achieved immortality by now), it does not explain a disturbing new trend in celebrity deaths not seen before.
It has occasionally happened that young and talented stars have met with tragic ends, but since the ball dropped on the year 1999 and lead us into the astounding land of 2000+, you may have noticed what was once a relatively rare ‘tragic occurrence’ has become much more frequent. What is the cause, you asked? Well I’ll tell you.

The Y2K Edition?

Optimus Prime.

Yes, he that is responsible for birth in this world of ours is also responsible for our leaving that very same world.

Now, stay with me Mona, because this explanation is about to get a touch hairy and long-winded (I know, it’s not my usual style).

Remember back in 1999 when the hot-topic was this “Y2K” thing? Yeah, we all recall spending that Dec 31st holed up in a nuclear bomb shelter making frantic love to Al Franken, only to regret our rashness when the pale dawn light revealed that no disaster had ended the world like we’d hoped expected. Well, perhaps we were wrong.

I have uncovered incontrovertible evidence which I will not display to probing, ‘honest’ eyes. Suffice it to say that I am now 146% positive that the big Oh-Pee was infected with Y2K on that very evening, and since then his character has been changing ever so slightly – but with increasing speed.

It starts in aught-one with Aaliyah, then the next year TLC is hit. 2003 it’s John Ritter! We got a brief reprieve for a while but then in 2006 both Chris Penn and Steve Irwin were lost. In 2007 Optimus had moved on to Anna Nicole, and it seems he’s started off 2008 with deadly force.

The signs are there, folks. Only last year the true-to-life chronicles of the Transformers were released. Within this documentary one can see signs of a distinct change in Optimus.

Think back to his reality TV shows in the 1990’s when Mr. Prime was a rock of responsibility and innate goodness, and solid lover with whom we all could spoon, with no fear of his exhaust pipe poking uncomfortably into your…
Anyway, the 2007 chronicle shows a different truck – a truck I don’t trust making my Hollywood’s fatal decisions, that’s for sure. He’s absent for much of the action, and then when he does show up… well… it just wasn’t the old OP.

All the evidence leads to one thing: Optimus Prime, driven mad by the Y2K which is slowly taking over his brain, is slacking on his responsibilities, ending the lives of teen heart throbs when he should be maintaining balance.

Mona, it’s up to you. I can believe in you… for seventeen minutes. Good luck, Mona. good luck.
Haley Joel Osment is counting on you – don’t let him down…..!!

Look at those pleading eyes, Mona!


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