I have no problem recognizing and celebrating the lives and achievements of those no longer with us. Often we (not us, but the media really) like to do this on and around the time when the dead person’s birthday would be. For example, IF Princess Diana was still alive, she’d have turned 50 this year. Well, the problem is that she’s dead, and is not 50 years old.
Now, Diana was supposedly a wonderful humanitarian, and probably deserves the recognition — even that which comes posthumously. But let’s not kid ourselves here. For someone like Diana especially, I’d have to say that much her relevance (especially in America) is a result of just a media push to sell magazines and generate TV ratings with specials. In addition to the power of the dollar, we humans just love our dates and anniversaries and birthdays. We have an obsession with these things, and we especially love numbers that are divisible by 5. Our favorites!
In 2012, while there will be some mention, we know we’re just not going to care as much about Diana hypothetically turning 51.
My question really is, when do we stop celebrating dead people’s birthdays? I’m sure they’ll be some hoopla for Diana’s woulda-been 55th, 60th, 65th, 70th, and 75th birthdays. But when does it end? Will Newsweek and the E! Network make their Diana decisions based on life expectancy in the future? I mean, we’ll probably be recognizing Diana’s 100th birthday, but what about 110th? or 130th? It’s not like she’s going to be any less dead in 2091.