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precarious since 1997 | by maryann johanson

question of the day: What is the best way to pay respect at a celebrity’s passing?

And so it begins again. A beloved celebrity is found dead in suspicious — or at least unlikely — circumstances. The media and fans descend instantly, and hundreds are present to watch — and photograph, and video — an ambulance pulling slowly away from the scene. Shrines spring up on the spot, complete with wailing fans. The Internet lights up with commentary, some in poor taste. Cable news goes nonstop on the story, and on retrospectives of the deceased’s career. Teary and shocked tributes flood in from family, friends, coworkers, and fans. And weeks of waiting for a coroner’s report begins.
Very quickly, the media attention starts to feel oppressive, and then lurid.

What is the best way to pay respect at a celebrity’s passing?

It’s hard to imagine, in today’s world, a mass media or a fan culture that restrained itself or worried about matters of propriety at such a moment. But let’s pretend that we can control that. How could things be different? If your favorite actor, athlete, musician, or writer died suddenly and unexpectedly, how would you like to see him or her publicly feted and remembered?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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