On Speculation and Boundaries…
Brittany Murphy died today.
It took exactly five seconds for the speculation to start up about why she would die of cardiac arrest at the tender age of 32, and not quite double that for the snarky comments to seep out of the woodwork. Because certainly if she had an existing heart condition we all would have known about it, since we have that right to her privacy.
What we have, much like the public consumption we have of celebrities, especially women, is a perceived right to make snap judgments about their lives and their health.
Brittany Murphy’s death is tragic on its own merits. She was talented and only 32.
And if there is any truth to the speculation, then she was sick. If she was indeed sick, then we, despite what we think, do not have a right to flaunt that illness about. She was ill, and she lost. And to me, that means something, on a human, and mortal level. There but for the grace and all of that. When I read the comments that speculate about what illnesses she certainly had or what addictions would be necessary to cause this premature death it is like nails on a chalkboard while chewing tinfoil whilst walking on broken glass but not the fun Annie Lennox version with adorably mistreated Hugh Laurie. If there is any truth to it then she was one of us. She was possibly like me and she lost. That scares me at my core. That was one of us in there and instead of having a moment to appreciate the gravity of that we are ripping her apart and we don’t even know. We Don’t Fucking Know.
Also, last I checked it is bad form to speak ill of the dead. But I suppose I am still an idealistic, silly girl to expect people to treat other people with human dignity. I have spent too much time in social justice for that.
If not, then her death was simply a tragic and random happenstance.
If any information is released, we have to wait for it and presume that it is the truth, and if not, we have to go on with what we have.
And either way, it isn’t our business, really.
She died, and that itself is enough. It should be. She gave us entertainment and amusement. She did what she loved with her life.
We should give her a modicum of respect in death.
May she rest in peace.
By Ouyang Dan 21 December, 2009. disability activism, feminism, justice, media and pop culture, social attitudes ableism, abuse, feminism, media and pop culture, problematic attitudes, social treatment, things people say