Disclaimer Ra Ra Piece: my opinions aren’t those of the other Divas.
So anyone and everyone has probably heard about Roger Ebert, famous film critic, tweeting about Jackass star Ryan Dunn RIGHT after he died. No seriously, like hours after he died. If you didn’t get the full scoop because you live in a cave or something, here’s a link. The news hit the presses that Dunn’s car hit a tree in Pennsylvania, Ebert’s reaction shortly thereafter was:
“Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive.”
Okay, let me get this straight right off the bat: I hate Jackass the show. I hate the movies. I hate stunts that make people (yes, even volunteers) unhappy for other people’s enjoyment. You can tell me that these guys sign up for the pain and the gross and whatnot, but it still makes me really uncomfortable that an adoring American public gets their jollies watching other people doing disturbingly stupid, detrimental things. I think it says something about our society, and I don’t like what it’s saying. HOWEVER. That’s not what my post is about. My post is about Ebert’s tweet and why I don’t think it’s okay.
Go ahead and tell me that Dunn was drinking and driving. Point out that he was shitfaced and drove 130 mph and he’s a selfish cock for getting behind the wheel, especially with a passenger (who died along with him). Yep, you’re right. You’re right that he fucked up and he fucked up big. Here’s my problem with what Ebert did: Dunn doesn’t give a crap what Roger Ebert is saying about him right now. He’s sorta too dead to care, and if you believe in an afterlife, he’s gone to the big Jackass Castle in the sky where there’s lots of big boobied babes and beer. The people who are going to take Ebert’s comment to heart are Dunn’s friends, family, and fans who already have to cope with his death. It’s taking their hurt and going “Yeah, fuck that guy you’re really sad you lost.” Ebert’s not punishing Ryan Dunn, he’s punishing the people who are going to miss him.
I’m not cool with that.
Neither, apparently, are the Jackass fans, who took it to Ebert’s Facebook page. The whole shit-storm got so bad that Facebook temporarily suspended (as in for one hour) Ebert’s page until the frenzy died down. Ebert’s response to Facebook’s intervention?
“Facebook has removed my page in response, apparently, to malicious complaints from one or two jerks.”
“Facebook! My page is harmless and an asset to you. Why did you remove it in response to anonymous jerks? Makes you look bad.”
One or two jerks? I dunno about that. I think that might be underestimating Dunn’s sway by a few million. A friend of mine has a youtube account where he puts some of his favorite clips, as people are wont to do. Months ago – way before Dunn’s death – he’d posted a bit with Dunn doing or saying something funny. This clip had a couple hundred hits and a comment or two, but it was pretty small potatoes. Within hours of Dunn’s death, it had 20,000 views and HUNDREDS of comments. My friend’s email got flooded because fans were coming out of the woodwork expressing their sadness over Dunn’s loss. That’s not “one or two anonymous jerks”. That’s boatloads of people, and I’m pretty sure Brody’s clip wasn’t the most popular Dunn one out there.
Just to reiterate, I am not supporting the drunk driver here. I am not saying it’s okay what Dunn did. It’s pretty plainly NOT okay what he did. I’m sad for the passenger, though when your buddy’s blood alcohol is twice what it should be, getting into the car is a risky venture. The problem as I see it – and I know this might make me the oddball – is the comment seems completely needless. It’s hurting the people who are already hurting. Kind of like kicking a puppy while it’s down. I don’t think pointing out that drunk driving is bad is out of line, but I do think if you’re a prominent celebrity, the smart thing to do would be can the smart-ass comments until the dust has died down.
Or, you know, until the body has cooled.