Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Let's Not Overhype Heath
Well, I've heard of Ted Heath, former British Prime Minister, and Ted Heath the bandleader. I've also heard of Adrian Heath, the Everton striker of the 1980s and Heath Robinson, the drawer of fabulous contraptions. And having a working knowledge of accounts, I also know what a ledger is. But I must admit that until last Sunday evening, when I read an article about him in the newspaper, I had never heard of Heath Ledger. Three days later and Ledger (above) is dead: at the age of just 28. The death of anyone at such an early age is tragic, but am I the only person who feels that the media reaction to the young actor's death has been completely over the top? Ledger's death was the main story on Radio 5's news bulletins last night, even though I'd wager that the vast majority of the station's listeners had never heard of the man. It's not enough to say that an up-and-coming actor had died at a tragically early age: no, we are informed that Ledger was a 'great actor', an 'amazing talent' and so on and so forth.
Compare the attention given to the comparatively little known Heath Ledger over the past twenty four hours, with the way the death of Deborah Kerr, a truly great actress, was covered when she died last year. Kerr's death, far from being the main story, was relegated to the final item on the BBC1 main news bulletin that evening.
We live in an age of hype, where those who haven't really achieved very much are
lauded in a ridiculously o.t.t. way, whereas those who have, like Kerr, are often forgotten.