That doesn’t mean you get to be a jerk about it. We get it, we do. The calendar arbitrarily changing to 2017 isn’t magically making everyone immortal. That doesn’t mean that 2016 hasn’t been a horrible year for many of us when it comes to celebrity deaths. Many icons died this year, and on top of that the year has a whole has been pretty crappy for many people.
When it comes to celebrity deaths people don’t mourn because they actually knew the person, they mourn because those people helped them know themselves. Carrie Fisher was a hero to many a woman with mental illness and addiction and a sign that it can get better for you. David Bowie and Prince were heroes to men who don’t fit the typical view of masculinity. Alan Rickman was a prominent member of a franchise that has literally spawned activist movements and according to studies actually makes its readers better human beings.
That’s also not to mention the other ways this year has been exceptionally crappy. Fascism is on the rise at home and abroad with Nazis literally becoming a prominent political force in the U.S. and other right wing populist factions gaining followers abroad. Looking at you France, Brexit. And with that increase in fascism comes the real fear that traditionally oppressed minorities will have their lot in life made even worse than it is at the moment. One only has to look at certain political platforms to realize why people are afraid.
So yeah, when people are mourning celebrities and saying “F*** 2016” they’re not thinking that when we arbitrarily decide that this is definitely a new year and a distinct unit of time that’s real instead of just a method for our human minds to be able to compartmentalize and not shut down at the idea of the immensity of time that no one will die, what they’re saying is that “This period of the Earth orbiting the sun has sucked because of these reasons and that’s why I’m sad.” They don’t need your sanctimonious “I’m sure no one will die in 2017.” or “Time is arbitrary and so 2016 isn’t what’s killing people.”
Because yeah, we know.