Martin Adams,, CC0 Licensing
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2016 has been a terrible year. Just in the last few days we have had George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Watership Down author Richard Adams die. This adds to a long list, including David Bowie, Kenny Baker, Prince, Alan Rickman, Terry Wogan, Gene Wilder, Leonard Cohen, Caroline Aherne, Muhammad Ali, David Gest, Victoria Wood and Paul Daniels (yes, some of these are very British celebrities) amongst many, many others.

Oh, 2016, you most horrible of years.

As horrible as these deaths have been, it is nothing out of the ordinary. Indeed, with extended life expectancies, it is probably happening with “less often” than once it might have. The problem with the high frequency of deaths is that there are simply more famous people alive than fifty years ago. By a massive country mile. People are famous for all sorts of things that they once weren’t (reality TV, for starters), and within existing areas of fame (for example, music) there are simply countless more famous people. Media fame has spread through the world like wildfire. Think of the 1950s, and of all of the ways of getting famous, and then of the narrow fields in those areas. Think to now, and all of the decades in between. The sheer volume of celebrities is staggering. Reality TV, music, news, authors, reporters, radio personalities, TV show anchors and contributors, politicians, political pundits, actors, directors, high-powered businessmen and women, activists and so on.

And with more celebrity lives comes, unsurprisingly, more celebrity deaths. It’s how, you know, life works. Or death as may be. And statistics.

So it may be very current to say how 2016 is so terrible, but it really is to be expected. And it really will continue in such a vein.

The future is, you know, full of death. Sorry to break that news to you!

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Jonathan MS Pearce

A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...