Normally, when someone of note dies, we try to post a brief clip of them as our completely inadequate attempt at taking a small moment out of our panda-fart-filled day to recognize that life is far too brief; that it can end at any moment. But in the case of Natasha Richardson, things get a little more complicated. First of all, a search for her name on YouTube pulls up nothing but depressingly shitty and shrill gossip web shows featuring stories about her skiing accident sandwiched in announcements about what Ashlee Simpson is up to. Second of all, to be completely honest–because when taking an open-eyed look at the circle of life it is important to be honest, seriously, it is–we barely even really knew who she was before this week. She had a famous name, and it all kind of makes sense now, but we remember very clearly that when she was a celebrity guest judge on the most recent season of Top Chef, we were confused as to why she was there and what made her a celebrity in the first place. Perhaps if we lived in England? The only point we are trying to make with that aside is that it’s hard to memorialize someone that you’re unfamiliar with, and that (again, honesty) in a gruesome, macabre way, we can’t help but feel like the attention this has gotten in the media is akin to a hometown going crazy when the hockey team makes it into the playoffs when two months ago no one gave a fuck about hockey. If that makes sense. Sorry. But people die every day. People are dying right now.
But third, and most importantly, the death of Natasha Richardson is the most shocking and surprising death in recent memory, at least in the year we’ve been writing Videogum, at least in the world of film, television, and the internet, and as such it seems particularly obnoxious and insufficient to attempt to eulogize her on a tongue-in-cheek, burn-your-idols pop culture blog. It is one of those deaths where, like, it’s so easy to imagine her that morning, happily preparing for her day, and that brings up so many weird, half-morbid ideas about fate and inevitability and you start thinking about your own mornings when you happily prepare for something, and the whole thing becomes kind of terrifying in its efficient ability to point out the fragility of everything. Obviously, it’s morally questionable to try to place the tragic-ness of someone’s death on a tragedy-scale, and people die every day who certainly lived far less fulfilling and happy (one assumes, actually, the whole thing is a web of unknowns) lives than Natasha Richardson. But if all deaths are equally tragic in their own way, especially when old age and/or illness is not involved (as if that somehow alleviates the pain of such a loss), then the death of Natasha Richardson is very tragic indeed.
Goodbye, Natasha Richardson. You are in heaven now, happily preparing for your day with the angels.