Shock and Denial: Hollywood Mourns Paul Walker on Twitter

Illustration for article titled Shock and Denial: Hollywood Mourns Paul Walker on Twitter

It's hard to imagine anyone disliking Paul Walker, whose sudden death this holiday weekend seemed so unlikely that a Twitter hoax insisting that news of Walker's death was in fact a hoax briefly gave hope to would-be mourners on social media. Paul Walker — of the easy-smiling, effortlessly-charming Walkers — couldn't be dead, right? That the Fast and Furious poster boy would die in a violent car crash seemed too grimly ironic to come from anywhere but the addled imagination of a Twitter hoaxer.

Unfortunately, Walker's publicist confirmed that he died yesterday, and though we'll have to wait for an official cause of death from the Los Angeles County Coroner's office, the horrifying wreckage of the red Porsche Walker was riding in leaves little room for speculation. Once the news of the 40-year-old actor's death was confirmed through official channels, a flood of celebrities took to Twitter to mourn and express their utter bewilderment:

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There's more at the link in case you feel like wallowing in grief (there's also this unsettling photo of Walker, which was apparently taken mere moments before his death). Walker's next film, Hours, is scheduled for a Dec. 13 release, and word is that he'd just finished filming his scenes for Fast and Furious 7, which is still in production. [CNN]

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  • News of Walker's untimely death may make snarky gossip seem especially tawdry this Sunday morning, but we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into a past when relevant celebrity Lindsay Lohan wasn't mere parody fodder for ultra-violent video games. According to TMZ, the actress has rounded up her lawyer team (led, I'm almost positive, by this gentleman) to take action against Grand Theft Auto V for using her image without permission. The game's cover art features a bikini-clad woman taking a selfie and kinda, sorta looking like Lindzzzz, and there's a mission in the game requiring players to help an actress avoid the paparazzi. CONSPIRACY??? [shrugs] [tears labrum] [sues Lindsay Lohan] [TMZ]
  • Hey, Goop haterzzz — Mama Bear Paltrow (Blythe Danner) thinks you all need to get a life and stop clicky-clacking your keyboards in your effort to insult her baby girl. "I feel she's just extraordinarily accomplished in every area," Danner said recently, "and people don't like that, some people don't like that, people who are bored and sit on their asses all day and just tap away. I mean I don't read any of it, I just find it so disgusting. There is a coarsening of our culture today that is just so tragic." Maybe go outside, haterzzz, and drink in the life-giving radiation from our yellow star (GoopTips™). [E!]
  • Kim Kardashian would like it very much if all the "ignorant" people criticizing her parenting skillz educated themselves: Kim's a busy lady, but that doesn't mean she's an inattentive mom. TRUTH. [Radar]
  • Justin Bieber's pen exploded all over his arm, miraculously creating an "eagle pattern." #jesusbiebs #biebus #jiebus [E!]
  • Biebs also went skateboarding in Australia SANS SHIRT, LADEEEEZZ. [Just Jared]
  • Diane Kruger and Joshua Jackson vacationed in Mexico, where they enjoyed cocktails and being spied on by somebody with a telephoto lens and nothing but time. [Daily Mail]
  • Televangelist Paul Crouch died Saturday after suffering for almost a decade with degenerative heart disease. He was 79. [NBC]
  • "Having my vagina tightened. It was just excruciating," is what Sharon Osbourne said out loud on The Graham Norton Show when asked which of her multiple cosmetic surgery procedures hurt the most. When asked by Colin Farrell for clarification, Osbourne added (without missing a step), "I'll show you later." [People]
  • Country music person Luke Bryan had someone take a picture of him drinking shitty beer while driving his car, but there's a twist: he was driving on his own property, which is totes legal in Tennessee, the state the toilet paper forgot. [TMZ]
  • We need to save libraries, according to Fabolous, because "where else are the homeless gonna get to jerk off at, man?" What about in all of those abandoned Blockbusters? Seems like a viable option. Besides, reading is for dorks. [TMZ]
  • Carrie Underwood gets it, you guys — everyone hate hate HATES that she's in NBC's live production of The Sound of Music.
  • Elwood, that hideous monster dog with patchy rat fur and a tongue that wiggled through his jigsaw teeth like an earthworm, died in the most appropriate place for the World's Ugliest Dog (2007) to die — New Jersey. Elwood was eight-years-old. [CNN]
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Image via AP, Marco Urgate

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DISCUSSION

flyingbuttresses
flyingbuttresses

Right now my Facebook is blowing up with two sentiments:

1) Paul Walker died. That's so incredibly sad. I loved his movies, and he was far too young! This is the WORST.

2) OMG YOU GUISE. I DON'T CARE THAT PAUL WALKER DIED. THINK OF ALL THE CHILDREN THAT DIE EVERYDAY. YOU SHOULD CARE MORE ABOUT THEM.

Sigh. Look, it is terribly, horrifically sad that this man died. By all accounts he was a genuinely nice person and a good father. You don't have to personally know a person to be affected by their death. Is some of the online grieving hyperbole? Sure. But everything is hyperbole on social networking. "BEST CUPCAKES EVAR!" Grief is funny and weird. It can affect you in surprising ways. You can suddenly be incredibly sad over someone's death that you didn't know. You can also not give any fucks. And that's okay! Grief policing should not be a thing. I'm not telling you to be sad he died. Don't you tell me to not be sad he died.

There is certainly something to be said for the way that society idolizes actors and actresses. But this is not the time. Did his death get the press it did because he was famous? Yes. But it still doesn't make someone's shock and sadness over his death any less valid. It probably even enhances it. Society teaches us that movie stars are untouchable. When something bad happens to them, it is usually through their own self-destructive tendencies. They are the perpetually young, perpetually talented, perpetually attractive people that nothing bad happens to. So when one of them dies in a tragic accident, it is a shock. It is a surprise. And no matter what, no matter who they are, no matter how much money they made or what they did for a living, it is sad.

Grief is not a zero-sum game. I have the ability to feel sad about Paul Walker's death and feel sad about the death of children around the world. I can grieve over this man's death and I can grieve over the death of my cousin. I have lost many important people in my life. I have mourned the loss of grandparents. I have grieved over a dead brother. I have lost two parents, not to death, but to mental illnesses and addictions that mean that they will never be real parents to me. I know what it is to lose someone close to me. That does not mean that I get to stand back on my pedestal, sneering down at people saying, "Come back to me and tell me what grief and sadness is when you've lost someone close to you." This is not a competition. Your loss is not more significant than mine. My loss is not more significant than yours. We do not get to tell other people how to feel, how to grieve, how to lose.

A man died yesterday. He was an actor. He was a son, a grandson, a friend, a lover, a father. He was a person. He left behind people that loved him, including a young daughter. He died young and in a tragic manner. And it is sad.