When Global Associated News reported that Brad Pitt died in a snowboarding accident in Switzerland and then placed a small disclaimer at the bottom that the headline is merely for entertainment purposes, it is almost as if such a thing is fun to do. It was placed with the intention to shock and to earn from such a shocker and then invoke its role to provide entertainment to the public at the expense of a named celebrity. The practice itself doesn’t seem to be a shocker in any way judging from the long list of celebrities targetted by previous celebrity death hoaxes.
There were many other celebrities who have been victimized by similar death hoaxes such as Eddie Murphy, Paul McCartney, and Jeff Goldblum, just to name a few. Apparently, they are all still alive and kicking up to this day. But what is it that makes celebrities such fun targets for this kind of hoax? What else,but their popularity.
Any newspaper will sell like hotcakes when a big name in showbusiness is reported as dead in its front page. The natural reaction of the public is to find out how it happened, where it happened, and why it happened. Before they get to the truth that the death news is simply a hoax and has even been admitted as such, they would have already bought the newspaper.
What is most puzzling about this whole scenario is not that media will find extraordinary news about well-known personalities. It is how some sectors of media take pride in making use of a strategy to sell their ware using bad news about other people and faking it. Is this because a large part of the audience is gullible to whatever piece of information is thrown their way even if they are obviously erroneous? I’m sure the celebrities who have been cast off as dead for a day don’t enjoy such publicity.
There are celebrities and there are icons. Celebrities come and go but icons have etched their names forever in Hollywood history. They will always be referred to every time a subject area which they have managed to conquer is talked about. These people did not purposely set out and aimed for iconic status but rather found their place in it by being the best that they can be in their department.
Audrey Hepburn for one is considered a fashion icon. With her familiar pared-down elegance, she has managed to reach the pedestal by being herself. Of course, the little black dress she wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s proved to be an iconic dress in itself.
Marilyn Monroe is an icon of female sexuality. No other sex symbol continues to capture the interest of the audience even now when she has long gone. She is always a basis of comparison for all the female celebrities who dare to walk in her shadow.
Elvis Presley is more of a music icon who happened to have several movies to his credit. His gyrating hips will always be original. The rest who followed remain pretenders to the throne of the King of Rock and Roll.
Grace Kelly is the fairy-tale icon of Hollywood. An actress who turned into a real-life princess provides hope that this kind of story is not only found in story books. She is also considered a fashion icon.
There are many others who have managed to build an iconic following such as Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Madonna, and Michael Jackson. Many more are expected to follow.