As the year closes in these last few days it certainly feels like it, but I don’t think so. Celebrity on the scale we have in the 21st Century is new. Celebrity itself has existed in one form or another since time immemorial, but the current century has taken it to new levels – society can now make people famous for as little as being nothing more than being especially dim or ignorant.
So, what’s happening?
In my opinion we are reaping the inevitable outcome of the post war years. From the late 50’s to the late 70’s there was an explosion in popular culture – films, pop music, television and sport. This also coincided with a wider culture of “medicinal” products that were widely experienced and used (and indeed made a significant contribution to that explosion – Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds anyone?).
So, 60 to 40 years ago, there was a massive increase in celebrity. Although there was a wider age range, the bulk of the people coming through then were in their 20’s. Therefore, they are now in their 60’s-80’s. And guess what – they die. For those that abused their systems with drugs legal (and illegal) they may be dying younger, but even those who looked after themselves they are reaching the end of their natural lives. And that doesn’t even take into account reduced mortality due to cancer, heart disease etc. – which remains with us in significant quantities.
Therefore I think 2016 is perhaps the beginning of a new norm. Celebrities have always died, but with a growing pool of celebrity and the amplification of social media, 2016 is perhaps a pre-cursor of even “worse” years. For those of us who are 1st wave prog rock fans – the coming years are going to be miserable as band after band (who by now are nearly all in their 70’s) shuffle off this mortal coil.
We\’re going to have to get used to it.
Happy New Year!