So, Carrie Fisher is dead. Another in a long line of luminaries and heroes taken by what has been the shittest of years. I never liked Star Wars. Apart from the musicality of it, it never had any attraction to me. But then, that was never the biggest reason Fisher should be venerated.
I just came from Twitter, where the highest of horses frolic with the wildest abandon. I love Twitter, but often it can be a place of unadultered venom, of moralistic superiority and sneering hatred. And thus I saw people connecting Fisher’s adoration with that of Western Society in general – because it’s easier to dismiss something meaningless to you when you can insult it through other means.
To dismiss someone using the totality of another concept is to wholesale ignore their achievements and failures, regardless of context. Thus, Carrie Fisher was one of the biggest advocates of mental health the world has seen, a clever and funny woman who also did much for the mainstream recognition of bisexuality.
She’s a woman who has helped many, helped me, and will continue to be a source of inspiration to many for many years to come. Her identity is intrinsically linked with that of Princess Leia, a feministic hero if ever there was one; and with that, yes, probably that of Western Society. Oh well.
If you’re looking for nuance, you won’t find it with the concept of heroism. Heroes are automatically a bastion of goodness, by their very nature of being said hero. I don’t believe that anything is sacred; certainly, criticism is an important part of life. But this criticism has no point, no aim.
You can draw comparisons, say that the tears over Fisher should be replaced with tears for refugees or Syrians or anyone you desire. Nothing is concrete or right in grief; it is raw emotion, powerful and often unformed. One of my personal heroes was Jo Cox.
When she died, many people drew from their own ideologies to redirect the grief surrounding her death. Look at the Daily Mail – rather than being shocked at the brutal murder of an MP, they ignored the white nationalism behind the killing, redressed the balance, posited their own beliefs. It’s a brilliant technique.
The death of someone like this will obviously bring with it attention, a macabre lectern to crow beliefs and moralisation from. Thomas Mair killed Jo Cox because he wasn’t able to get a council house. Carrie Fisher’s death is irrelevant because Syrians are dying.
I don’t know if it’s right. But what I do know is that if it is right for one party, then it must be for the other; and that in itself is a troubling concept. Heroes must all be villains. When you’re the centre, someone must dislike you – they must have to. But that doesn’t matter.
Nothing is sacred – and then, everything is. If you can’t have a little respect, then at least think beyond your own preconceptions. Carrie Fisher was a good woman, a woman who did a lot of things for a lot of people; and yes, she was damned good in Star Wars. People loved her – accept that and move on. RIP Carrie.