Monday, September 14, 2009

No one puts Baby in the corner

Patrick Swayze has died. The star of Dirty Dancing and Ghost succumbed earlier today to the cancer that defined the last 21 months of his life. He was 57, the same age his father was when felled by a heart attack.

I have little interest in the cult of celebrity that worships at the very altar of those who choose to lead their lives in front of the camera. The mere sound of Entertainment Tonight fading in - complete with Mary Hart's voice of faux-concern - is enough to give me hives. But given the pervasiveness of pop culture and the near-universal impact it has on everyone, every day, I find it fascinating to see how the rapid evolution of new media influences how we hear about celebrity milestones.

For example, most people would have heard about the sinking of the Titanic via newspapers, the end of WWII by radio and the fall of Saigon on television. I heard about Diana Spencer's death by the web, and Michael Jackson's passing via Twitter. Same thing with Swayze. I wasn't looking for it: it simply cropped up multiple times as I logged into the service.

I guess we have a new early warning system, and it lives, quite firmly, in new media Be that as it may, I hope this new world of celeb coverage gives his family members the peace and privacy they deserve as they grieve his loss. At some point, you just wish the Twitter feed would simply stop.

Your turn: Where you hear about stuff. Please discuss.

15 comments:

PillowNaut said...

Heard about it from you on Facebook... but that just proves your point, doesn't it ;)

Such a sad loss... GHOST was one of my favorite films.

Thomas said...

I heard about it on Google Reader, but thought it was another one of those fake news stories that have become so popular amoung the Internet generation in recent times. I then saw a news flash on E! and realized that it was sadly true.

Hilary said...

Just heard via mail alert.. took a look at that famous dirty dance on YouTube and then the first blog post I clicked on in my reader was yours. Case in point. :)

Country Girl said...

It's sad about Patrick Swayze. Dirty Dancing is a classic.
And Entertainment Tonight makes me cringe, too.

Pamela said...

Quite often I get a phone call from a daughter.

"Mom, did you hear...?"

I'm usually late up the up take.

quilly said...

I just heard about it from you ....

Mark said...

I definitely get tired of these kind of announcements coming out on Twitter or Facebook. Too many people want to be the first to break bad news to their "friends" and "followers." Like gossip back in high school. I admit, though, I'm fighting an itch to go wake my ill wife and tell her. I think I will, though, because she actually is quite a big Swayze fan.

Here's to his family.

Breeze said...

Yahoo news when I logged into my email. I think in the case of Patrick Swayze it's likely that his family all knew before it hit twitter however when it's a death that is shocking and sudden I wonder how often the loved ones hear the same way we do. Can you imagine Paris Jackson hitting her little Barbie laptop and reading about her daddy dying or Heath Ledger's dad...it's very cold isn't it?.

Breeze

Lin said...

I'm subscribed to news alerts through NBC and received a text message with the news. I was hoping somehow he would pull through. Not only was he great in Dirty Dancing, but I always remember (and smile) the skit he did with Chris Farley on SNL. The audition to be a Chippendale dancer...
Prayers for Patrick and his family.

Catherine said...

I must be old-fashioned - I heard about it on the radio. Where I work, we have an "easy-listening" station on for background music. I sometimes watch the TV news, and sometimes glance at the newspaper headlines before I rush out in the morning, but I don't use Twitter, set my home page to "blank" for speed rather than a news site, and don't have a news feed - all my google reader feeds are friends' blog sites.

vibaku said...

God bless his soul! RIP Patrick I will always cherish you in Ghost! The movie that etched in my head during my childhood years. And the theme song was not going out too.

Amy said...

Very sad to hear the news, I offer my prayers and condolences to the family. He will be missed by everyone.

Thom said...

Rest In Peace Patrick. Dirty Dancing, Ghost and The Beast were my all time favorites. I'm so opposite of you. I love reading about celebs and all. I dunno why...and I don't try and even question it. LOL.

Anne said...

I don't tweet, I don't do Internet news, don't watch TV news, I sadly don't read the paper, either. I get my news from the news radio station to and from work every day, along with traffic and weather. Funny thing is, I often get my news before my paper-reading husband.

jadejohn said...

This is a terrible loss, for his wife-first, then for his extended family and friends, then for Hollywood. He was a great actor and now cancer took his life. Well, life is short and the unexpected does happen!