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Baby boomers viewing mortality as generation loses heroes

Last Updated Jan 22, 2016 at 8:45 am PDT

(Courtesy @DavidBowieReal)
Summary

Expert believe the generation is having a hard time dealing with the passing of people like David Bowie and Alan Rickman

SFU professor adds the music of those like Glen Frey 'punctuated the lives of fans'

BURNABY (NEWS 1130) – We are barely into the New Year and we have already seen the passing of several icons of stage, screen and music and a generation is losing even more of its heroes.

It’s a trend some people are having a tough time with and one pop culture watcher says there’s a very good reason for that.

“There is integrity to popular media and culture and the fact is, when major artists die — especially musical artists like David Bowie, Glen Frey and others — these are artists whose music punctuated the lives of fans,” says Martin Laba, a professor of communications at Simon Fraser University.

“When I say there’s integrity, it’s a reaction to what is sometimes a dismissal of popular culture as trivial or inconsequential when, in fact, it becomes extremely important.”

Laba adds we become wedded to the musical tastes of our adolescence and they stay with us for the rest of our lives.

“As we age, that music ages with us. When these artists die, we’ve developed these para-social relationships with our celebrities and we view our own mortality,” he tells NEWS 1130.

“The music of David Bowie, of the Eagles, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones — Nirvana and Kurt Cobain even come to mind — this music becomes very central in the progress of fans. They provide commentary and, in many ways, mark the lives of individuals. I don’t think that’s overstating it.”

With so many artists aging, many of whom rode the first waves of our culture of celebrity, boomers will lose more and more of their celebrities in the coming years.

Of course, some like Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones seem to defy death.

“He’s alive and thriving I suppose… well maybe not thriving,” Laba chuckles dryly. “He just keeps looking better and better every year.”