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Celebrity Deaths -- and the impact of an 'overly Twittered culture'

Adam Bernstein

Lisa France, a writer and producer at, has this story today on celebrity death of 2009 and why it may appear to some that this year was different from the past.

Minor figures like Brittany Murphy and DJ AM get elevated to rock-star status for various reasons -- the deaths come at a shockingly young age, for example -- but mostly because those who care about their lives are young social networkers who drive tremendous traffic online.

Brittany Murphy had a devoted following but is vastly unknown to a great many film lovers. Which is not to say or imply she was without talent, but her performances drew mixed reviews, her promise was largely unfulfilled and she never said anything particularly memorable about her craft. Yet she gets outrageous attention because of online interest, whereas a proven and talented, Academy Award-winning actress like Jennifer Jones, who died days earlier, gets comparably little attention.

What do you think about the impact of social networking and what CNN's France calls our "overly Twittered culture"?

By Adam Bernstein  |  December 22, 2009; 10:53 AM ET
Categories:  Adam Bernstein , Movies  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Jim Clarke, longtime WJLA ABC News anchor, has died
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I feel the same way as I do about know-nothings and bad boys and girls everywhere who get more publicity for being bad or outrageous than people do for doing good or behaving appropraitely. Besides since the Baby Boomers, the young have always driven the cultural icons and set the tone.

Posted by: ronjaboy | December 22, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I don't know. There's always been a tendency to think that anyone the young idolize must be worthless or untalented. I know people who whined when Elvis Presley's death eclipsed that of Groucho Marx. But young people are going to have different interests than older people: that's just the way the world works, and there's nothing wrong with it.

The beauty of the Internet is that it contains so much and is so user-driven that you don't have to pay attention to any story you don't care about. TV doesn't work like that: no matter how many channels you have, you're still being spoon-fed what other people want you to see and hear.

Posted by: Blurgle | December 22, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

You're overlooking currency, an essential component of newsworthiness. Jennifer Jones' best work was before 1956 and her last film was in what, 1976? That's 33 years ago. She was known to film buffs and people of a certain age, but in an accelerating news culture, DJ AM and Brittany Murphy (or Heath Ledger, as well) resonate much more.

Posted by: psullivan1 | December 23, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

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