At the beginning of the week we heard of the death of David Bowie, a huge and sad celebrity news story. Tributes poured in for this creative, gifted, albeit rather quirky individual. It seems he made an enormous impact on more than a generation.
A number of other, much smaller, celebrity news stories also caught my eye this last week or so. The engagement of Jerry Hall and Rupert Murdoch, the break up of both Gary Linekar’s and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini’s (formerly Cole) marriage and Prince George starting nursery school. Many column inches and comment have been, and will continue to be, dedicated to these events and all of us, however interested or not we are, will probably find ourselves passing some kind of comment or judgement.
It is interesting to note that celebrities tend to do many of the things that everyone else does – starting nursery school, announcing an engagement or divorce, even dying. These are the everyday things of human life. Not that they are meaningless, quite the opposite, but they are things many of us will experience and yet, for those in the public eye, these normal life events are accompanied by criticism, comment, discussion, questions etc. Although we think we know these celebrities, we actually have no idea about their lives, and yet we, and the media, feel in a position to comment. It is all to easy to judge, to make assumptions, to comment strongly – both in favour or against – about someone or a situation we have little or no real idea about.
As I finished writing this I read a report that David Bowie was cremated quietly and privately, with no service or memorial, family or friends, shortly after his death. I have no idea if this is true but apparently it was at his request and maybe it was his way of trying to limit the comment and speculation about him, his family, or his wishes. Of course, it is quite possible it will have the opposite effect!
The Revd Rachel Rosborough, Rector of Bourton on the Water with Clapton and the Rissingtons