Friday, July 26, 2013

A Wish on a Shooting Star

The tradition is to make a wish on a shooting star. Well I do have a wish to make, but not on your traditional shooting star from the heavens. It’s more related to the kind of shooting star referenced in the Bad Company song by the same name. The lyrics keep running through my head, Don’t you know that you are a shooting star – And all the world will love you just as long – As long as you are – A shooting star.

I don’t really get into the whole celebrity culture thing, though admittedly I did when I was younger with posters of U2 and Sting in my room.  And there aren’t a whole lot of TV shows I get hooked on anymore. However, my daughters did get me to start watching Glee a few years ago. For me it’s kind of like the Breakfast Club in TV form, where all the misfits (even the popular ones) find a place to be themselves and feel accepted.  Only in Glee, they sing about everything.  It’s a fun show that we like to watch together.

As you probably already know, one of the “stars” of Glee, Cory Monteith, recently died due to a combination of drugs and alcohol. He was 31 years old. For me it also brought to mind the death of River Phoenix, an incredibly talented actor who also died young. I remember feeling so sad at his death.

It set me to wondering about these shooting stars. Of course we will never know exactly what drove them to the choices they made and I know that no one forced them to do the things that they did, but I do wonder about this celebrity culture we have created and where our responsibility lies. I believe it’s worth thinking about. I also wonder about the loved ones they left behind.  

So here’s the wish (wishes really) I would make on Cory’s shooting star. I wish for a culture where we don’t put you on a pedestal. I wish for a world where just because you are a well-known actor, we don’t make you out to be more than just the human being with normal human feelings that you are. I wish we didn’t make it so easy for you to have access to the things you can take that will hurt you. Because I’m willing to bet that our overcrowded prisons are not overcrowded with the people who sell drugs to celebrities or with the doctors who give them prescriptions for things they might not really need. I wish we had a justice system that actually held you accountable for your actions, rather than letting you off easy the first 50 times. I wish that we held ourselves accountable for the pedestals we put you on, and for the way we treat you in public, as if you owed us something just for being famous. Most of all Cory, I wish we didn’t overvalue you and your beautiful self, so that you could come to know how much value your life has all on your own. Perhaps then, you might still be with us today to continue shining that bright light of yours. Finally, I wish I never have to make this wish again.

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