The world’s interest in celebrity is at least a few centuries old. The vicarious pleasures we take in celebrity lives may be a celebration of our own unlived lives. The first noted celebrity – someone whose personal life was open to public speculation – arguably existed in Europe in the 1700s. Since then, mass media has kept the celebrity machine running.
Consuming visuals of lives that appear better than our own is the opioid for the masses. We laugh with them, we deify them, and under the best of circumstances, we identify with their vulnerabilities and emerge stronger ourselves. We place them on the pedestals we aspire to. We also grieve their deaths from deeply personal places.
The matter of celebrity suicides isn’t new–- but are uniquely painful each time they makes the news. Many are now mourning the death of Sushant Singh Rajput, who was a young, successful actor. He went to an engineering college and dared to drop out to pursue his passion. He was, in a way, living the dream many boys from small-town India dream of. He seemed to have a love for life and the universe, which he shared in his interviews and social media posts.
While the media helps keep the celebrity…