Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! The Hallmark holiday ideal for lazy partners and people who do not give a fuck is this Sunday, which means Pissing Contest this week is all about love. Or whatever. Last year, we asked for your V-Day horror stories, this year, I want to hear about the time the holiday actually worked out. Did you get engaged? Did you win the lottery? Did your third grade crush cho-cho-choose you? Death is nigh, so feel free to get as sappy and romantic as you’d like.
But first, let’s take a look at last week’s winners. These are the celebrity deaths that shattered your world.
citronella12, you are KILLING me:
Mr. Rogers 😭 He died a couple days after my beloved cat and it was too much. The Mr. Rogers documentary kills me, I cry every time I watch it, I can’t even talk about it without crying. “Children need to know that they don’t have to do anything special to deserve to be loved.” UGH.
I’ll start off by saying RIP Christopher Plummer. What an icon.
But the celebrity death that really got me and I still think of a lot is Amy Winehouse. I was waiting in line to see an exhibit at the Met - for Alexander McQueen, no less, another tragic loss - and my phone blew up with texts. My friends and I were gutted. I was a massive fan of her music - it was the soundtrack to my early college years - and she was so monumentally talented, yet obviously beset by equally monumental demons. Herfather and her trash boyfriend/husband/whatever Blake really enabled her addictionsand even profited off of them. It still feels like they killed her. Her music was so intensely personal and moving and it still speaks to me today. And she had a once in a generation voice. Lord that voice! Throughout the mid-2000s the way her problems were treated as tabloid fodder to be mocked and laughed at horrified me. She was a person that needed serious help and it was turned into a running joke: Oh, look, Amy is fucked up again LOL. It felt like she was on some type of road to doing better right before she died, so the lost felt sudden and deeply unfair - she probably had so much left to say and give the world. Like losing a close friend. I still think about how much I’ll never get over that. If you’ve never seen the Oscar winning documentary about her life stock up on tissues and watch it.
Anyway I like to remember her when she was at her best like here. Just stunning. RIP.
CorporalTrim’snewaccountbecausethecomputerbroke, this was heartbreaking and lovely:
I’ve always maintained that I can’t get too upset about, or involved with, the lives of the artists whose work I love. I love the work, and while there might be something to the idea that the work speaks something true about who they are, these are not people that I know. I’m really resistant to the idea of fandom beyond a certain point; it feels presumptuous and like one shade away from stalking. So I’ve been saddened by artists’ deaths, and shocked sometimes—I wasn’t a major Beatles fan but I remember John Lennon’s murder and the sense that it left a hole in the world somehow. I missed Leonard Cohen because I was a lifelong and deep fan, but it was his time.
I still really, really miss Gord Downie. If you’re Canadian, particularly if you’re a Canadian in your mid forties to early sixties, you probably get what I mean. If you’re not Canadian, you probably don’t know. Gord Downie, frontman of the Tragically Hip, was Canada’s great rock star/poet in a way that not even Leonard Cohen (who really belonged to the world, and was in no way a rock star) could touch. He was brilliant and funny and humane. He was my age. He was the soundtrack behind meeting my husband and enjoying grad school and road trips and my innocence and feeling like the world was good. He wrote the one song that can still make me cry—in 1991, the Hip album Road Apples was released, including the song “Fiddler’s Green,” about Downie’s young nephew who died of a heart condition. Soon after I started dating my husband, in 1991, his five-year-old half-brother died as a result of a heart condition, and he just played that song over and over again.
Gord died of a fucking brain tumour in 2017. The Hip is still part of my everyday soundtrack, but every once in awhile I’ll be listening and a song will just wrench me.
tonight, living in a fantasy, I also thought of her:
The first one that really got to me was Aaliyah. Her music was fun, though it wasn’t really my style. But when she died, it really sent me on a loop in a way that was surprising.
She was 22 and only 4 years younger than me. When you’re young you feel like you’re going to live forever, and she died in such a stupid accident that totally could have been avoided. And my dad had died only a year and a half before that. At the time, the realization of the impermanence of life was a bit overwhelming.
I was also broken up by Prince, George Michael and David Bowie, but they’d had years to achieve greatness and do their thing. Aaliyah was just too young.
Help your fellow Jezebel readers believe in a little thing called love in the comments below.