I’m sure everyone has heard by now, but I feel like I should still post something on a site that’s supposed to discuss all things pop culture.
At 3:30 PM this afternoon, Heath Ledger was found dead in an apartment in the Soho area of Manhattan. The details (as they are currently known) can be found in The NY Times, as well as pretty much everywhere else on the internet. Mr. Ledger is probably best known for his role in the Oscar Award-winning film, Brokeback Mountain, as well as his role as The Joker in the soon to be released sequel to Batman Begins. I first became aware of him as Mel Gibson’s son in The Patriot and as the bad-boy with the heart of gold in 10 Things I Hate About You.
As sad as this news is, my initial reaction is probably a great deal sadder. Before I was able to find more details from reliable news sources, I thought it was all some macabre marketing ploy to promote The Dark Knight. How fucked up is that? Not that I could think it (I’ll admit that I have a dark sense of humor), but that it wasn’t really out of the realm of possibility that some twisted marketing weasel could dream something like that up.
Is this is a huge tragedy? No. Hurricane Katrina was a huge tragedy. But, it is a human tragedy. Because, if you forget all about the fame and the celebrity, Mr. Ledger was someone’s son. He was someone’s brother. He was someone’s father. And, once all of the paparazzi and media vultures have picked the bones of this story clean, it’s his family and loved ones who will have to find a way to shoulder the burden of loss.