Monday, November 16, 2020

Life Always Ends Sadly

You can make quick YouTube videos by scraping some photos from the Internet and then narrating from Wikipedia.

I get a lot of suggestions of things to watch on YouTube, and one of them is a series of "The Life and Sad Ending of [Celebrity Name]" videos.  They are kind of interesting in a way, but I realized they are little more than a series of photos in a slideshow, with narration by the video author, who basically reads the subject's Wikipedia entry.  There are many of such videos by various people on a host of subjects - slideshows of scraped photos and Wikipedia entries read word-for-word.  I know this, as I search the subject while I am watching the video and can follow along with the script.

I am not taking a dig at these folks - after all, they got me to watch, right?   And I guess that is the way YouTube and the modern Internet works - you create "content" and get paid for it.  And what better way to create content that to simply scrape some photos and then overlay it with public domain text?   Can't blame them for trying, can only blame us for watching!   Good for them, though, I hope they make a few dollars from it.  I suspect that is all they make, though - a few dollars.

What struck me as funny is that every video has the same story arc - some actor or whatever grows up in a small town, goes to school, gets that "big break" and then stars in a number of shows or movies.  Then, one day they go to the doctor and get bad news - that's a good reason not to go to doctors right there!  They have some sort of ailment and they end up sick and then die.  Often this part of the video is accompanied by photos of the celebrity in an alarmingly frail state.

In case you missed the bus, this is the fate of all of us, pretty much.   You live, you die.   You might get hit by a car or hit by cancer - it doesn't matter.  Life does not go on forever, and there is always a "sad ending" to life.   No one gets out alive.

These videos seem to be implying that all these people came to a bad end, when in fact, they just came to an end, and the end is usually bad.  Death is, if nothing else, uncomfortable, painful, and sad.  It is not like it ends some other way.

I suppose they could title these videos "A short biography of [Celebrity Name]" but the "Life and Sad Ending of" title generates more clicks.   It probably appeals to the schadenfreude in all of us - wanting to see some high-flying celebrity brought back to earth for their comeuppance.   And in many situations, the ending is sad - a journeyman actor who acted in plays, movies, and television, ends up nearly destitute later in life - living in the basement of a relative's home or even that of a fan.

And yea, that is sad, in some respects.  On the other hand, they were celebrities - movie or television stars - how tragic is that?  The fact that you get old and infirm and eventually run out of money - as all of us do, doncha know - isn't really relevant, it is inevitable.

I guess we all want to hear sad stories sometimes.  But I think these videos give the wrong impression.  These folks didn't have tragic lives, no moreso than any of us do.  Life is beautiful, and in part because it is finite.  In fact, as I noted before, perpetual life is life without meaning.   Death is not sad, it is what gives meaning to life!