When Ryan Dunn lost his life, many took to the airwaves to express condolences, grief and sorrow. They lost a friend, a brother, an entertainer. Many fans followed suit and express condolences to the family and looked back at Dunn’s career and how much laughter he provided for society. It was hard to imagine that someone that young could go this soon?
First off, let me say that to lose any life before it’s time is a tragic thing. Having said that, however, in this crazy society that we live in, he also brought to light this idea that celebrity trumps smart thinking. I noticed that it became more and more about the tragic end of a young career and less and less about the idiotic choice that got him there. Look, if I drank heavily, tried to drive a friend home and wrapped my car around anything, I would expect at least 80% of the conversations that follow to use the question: “What the fuck was he thinking!?”
In this story you also have Roger Ebert, well-known and beloved movie critic, who was quick to say that, in his own way, people shouldn’t just ignore the fact that Ryan Dunn did a boneheaded thing and suffered the ultimate consequence for it. Yet, instead of stopping to think about that, people quickly pounced on Ebert for saying something ‘insensitive’.
Ryan Dunn didn’t die in a home invasion gone wrong. He wasn’t mugged. He wasn’t robbed. He wasn’t in a plane crash. He didn’t suffer a heart attack. In other words, he wasn’t in a situation that was totally outside of his control. He should’ve found other means to get home (including cab or having someone else take him). Instead he probably did the “No, really. I’m fine.” routine and ended up a tragic story along with the passenger in his car.
What’s been amazing to me as this all unfolded is that society let’s celebrity be the factor that almost excuses the incident. Simply because he was well known, how does that cancel out that he did something that if any of the rest of us did, we’d be chastised for. When celebs are pulled over every day for DUI-related activities, what’s one of the first things we say. “Good, maybe this time they’ll straighten up. They could’ve killed someone.”
In this case, someone did.
Yes, have we forgotten that there was a passenger in the car. Another soul, who’s life was taken way too early. How come there isn’t massive coverage about what his family is going through? I wouldn’t call him totally innocent, however, because when presented with the idea of driving home with a friend who’s been drinking as much as Dunn has, why would he even think that was remotely a good idea?
I understand that Dunn was someone’s son, brother, friend. Like I stated before losing a life before it’s time is always something to give a person pause. However, I’m not going to let go of the fact that in this particular situation, the lives were taken thanks to an act that all of us would be chastised, criticized and scrutinized for.
I think this goes to a higher notion which is to say that society puts celebrities on such pedestals and alters of worship, that they almost don’t ever want to believe that they did something wrong, that they could do something wrong or that they’re incapable of stupid actions. Celebs prove practically every damn day that that’s not the case, so why continue to think that they’re these super human larger-than-life entities?
Had Ryan Dunn been a normal dude from West Covina and we heard about this on the news, we’d shake our head and cry out that there should be more done about drinking and driving and educating. Somehow, it’s Ryan Dunn and I haven’t heard much about that. All I hear is that Ryan Dunn was a dear friend, will be missed and loved.
I’m sure Ryan Dunn was all of those things, but in this instance he was something else: A human being who made a stupid choice.
Remember, every actor, musician, politician…celeb that you see is still human capable of making insane and inexcusable decisions. Being put into the public spotlight doesn’t flip a switch that immune them from such things and we should always remember that.
To Ryan Dunn, you did well on this Earth. You provided great entertainment to the masses and your body of work shall forever mark the positive contributions that you’ve made for people. However, sir, I hope that we all look to your final act as a lesson about the dangers of drinking, driving and making intelligent decisions.
Fame can save a person from a lot of things, but it shouldn’t save one from being excused for decisions such as this.