exactly that

The Times of Your Life

Close-up photo of Corey Haim, a white man with blue-grey eyes wearing a maroon shirt.So, Corey Haim died yesterday.

It was, of course, tragic. How sad, to lose someone who had talent too soon, and who was a part of great things. Even more sad is to know that he struggled, always thinking that he somehow wasn’t good enough, despite all the great things that he had been a part of.

I mean, The Lost Boys and License to Drive were two incredibly fun movies from my childhood that I remember fondly. The Lost Boys was the first bite of my vampire love. He was an icon in his own right.

In true Hollywood Owes Us Everything fashion, the details of his death were everywhere. I am sure I will be seeing the sordid details of his Tragic Last Moments on tabloids in the grocery store checkout for some time, because the tabloids love to pick that stuff up. They have spent some good time pointing and laughing at the child star whom Hollywood deemed wasn’t worth anything anymore. I am sure that the likes of Dr. Phil and his ilk will be making all these great appearances about how he should have accepted some kind of help or another and how they could have saved him. I have already seen that ZOMCC he had PRESCRIPTIONS from a DOCTOR, and we all know that for an addict one should never have THOSE (because drugs are bad, mmm’kay, even if you need them for a heart condition).

And as someone whose self esteem has been crushed from time to time by real assholes who once fooled her into believing they gave a damn, I know that it must have been pretty fucking awful to see the ways that everyone was eager to say terrible things about your every fault line to anyone who would listen. Corey Haim was a human who had worth beyond what was able to be packaged and sold for a quick buck, but somewhere along the line it is possible that even he stopped believing that. I am sure that he was a good person. He had family and friends who cared (even if they were few). He was working again, and caring for his mother who had cancer. He was fighting.

And then he lost.

I think that his best friend, the other half of the famed “Two Coreys”, Corey Feldman, said it best on Larry King Live (via Shakesville):

I appreciate the fact that everybody [in the acting community] really cares and is trying to show their expression of sorrow right now. But at the end of the day, Larry, where were all these people the last 10 years, the last 15 years of Corey’s life? … Where were all these people to lend a hand out, to reach out to him and say, you know, you’re a legend, you’re an amazingly talented, wonderful person who’s really never gone out of his way to hurt anybody other than himself. He was there for his mom and he took care of her. He’s always been a good person.

…In this entertainment industry, in Hollywood, we build people up as children. We put them on pedestals. And then when we decide that they’re not marketable anymore, we walk away from them. And then we taunt them and we tease them. And things like TMZ, outlets like that, where it’s acceptable in society—it’s okay for society, as a whole, to poke fun at, to point fingers at, to laugh at us as human beings. Why is it okay to kick somebody when they’re down? I don’t think it is. And I don’t think it should be tolerated anymore.

…He had nobody to turn to. I was one of the few people he had left in his life. You know, you see these people making great statements and that’s wonderful and I hope they’re all there for the memorial. And I hope they’re all there for the funeral. But where were they during his life?

And that’s something that I believe that everybody in this society needs to hold themselves accountable for. I think that we all need to grow up. And we need to think about every time we laugh at somebody in the tabloids, or every time we poke a finger at somebody and say they’re a joke or they’re fat or they’re a drug addict or they’re washed up or they’re a loser, we need to look at ourselves and say, who am I?

It’s wonderful for people to be remembered in death. It’s amazing to have people remember you fondly.

But where were they during his life?

***

Hollywood, and the people to stare at it in every media form, has this fetish with celebrity death. We have this perceived right to every sordid detail of any death, and we feel that we get to ponder their deaths and why they happened, and that the fact that they made movies or entertainment means that their lives are ours for consumption. But we don’t. Because underneath all of the fame lies a human who still deserves dignity and privacy.

1971-2010

There is a hyphen there. That hyphen represents a lot of years.

Thirty nine years of life where there could have been many instances for all of the people who wanted to remember and love Corey to have that chance. They could have been a part of that hyphen. They could have been a part of showing him that he had worth, that he wasn’t just a guy who was that kid in that movie once. He was a person with talent and worthy of love and friendship.

But instead, all they were a part of was the laughing and careless joking that made that hyphen a more painful place for him to exist.

We fetishize celebrity death and destruction, while ignoring the hyphen, the meaning and the years in between. The bits and pieces that make them the human that no one seems to give a damn about are irrelevant to most of us.

***

Rest in peace, Corey.

Related posts of mine that you might be interested in:

The Public Consumption of Britney

On Speculation and Boundaries

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Comments on: "The Times of Your Life" (1)

  1. womanistmusings4825 said:

    WOW,he really said it all with that comment didn’t he? I felt terrible when I heard that he had died. I had watched the a&e “Two Corey’s” and it was clear that he was such a troubled man who wanted more. He seemed so alone and so sad and no one should feel that way. Feldman was right, where were all of these people when he was alive? Someone always asks a similar question when a troubled or misunderstood celebrity died (remember Michael Jackson) and yet the end result is always the same. We don’t see a vulnerable person as someone who needs help we seem them as something to mock and I think that is because we have been taught that the individual is infinitely more valuable than the community.

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