Celebrities Wanted, Dead or Alive

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Journalists are extremely unpopular. They are almost as unpopular as lawyers, which is not fair, considering lawyers get paid obscene amounts of money, thus compensating them for the abuse they must endure, whereas journalists have been known to quit their jobs and go on welfare in order to make more money.

I generally defend journalists and the media when I am witness to an attack on them, but sometimes I too must shake my head and say, “Why are we so lame?”

The particular lame quality with which I am currently frustrated is the tendency to make a big deal out of things simply because there are celebrities involved. I am not talking about the paparazzi shows like “Entertainment Tonight” and “Extra,” where the pseudo-journalists spend their time stalking celebrities and reporting on the most mundane aspects of their lives, perhaps as an attempt to cover the fact that they have no lives themselves. No, I am talking about mainstream news media who think that something is more noteworthy if a famous person is connected.

The most recent example of this media trend is the case of Bill Cosby’s son, Ennis. As you know, he was killed by an as-yet unidentified man during an apparent robbery attempt. Now, I am of course very sad for the Cosby family. Like most Americans, I’ve always liked Bill Cosby and considered him to be very talented and funny. And I hope they catch the man who killed Cosby’s son (where was O.J. that night, anyway?). But hasn’t the media beaten this horse long enough? Ennis Cosby was only the SON of a celebrity, and the media has still gone nuts with it.

Many people are killed every day. The fact that it was Cosby’s son makes it SLIGHTLY more interesting, but not as interesting as the newspeople seem to think it is. I have heard or read something about it literally every day since it happened.

My grandmother died a few days after Ennis Cosby. She was not murdered in cold blood; she died after a ten-year struggle with poor health, including several strokes. She was not a celebrity; she was a grandma. Ennis Cosby overcame dyslexia and had a promising future; my grandma raised six children, supported her husband with his small business in our town, was a faithful member of the LDS church, and for the last ten years managed to enjoy life without the use of her right arm or leg. Which of these two deaths was more “important” is relative. In Bill Cosby’s eyes, I’m sure Ennis was more important than my grandmother, and I know Ennis’s death didn’t particularly matter to me. In God’s eyes, they were equal. God was no more upset by the trials and tribulations of one than he was the other.

The point is, whenever anyone dies, no matter how famous or “important” they are, it only directly affects a handful of people — friends and family, mostly. Others may feel sorrow over the loss, but their lives are not significantly changed by it. So why do we insist upon making certain individuals’ deaths more noteworthy than others’? Every person’s death is sad to those who loved him or her. Ultimately, the death of Ennis Cosby, son of a celebrity, does not affect the world any more than the death of Joanna Merrifield, grandmother of a BYU student. We should remember that all life is valuable, all life is sacred, and all people are important.

This was the first opinion/non-news piece I wrote for The Daily Universe. I think I make a good point, and that I make it fairly well. You may feel free to disagree, though. That's the nice thing about our country (America).

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