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Worshipping our celebrity-gods

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By Ron Roman

On Jan. 26 basketball great Kobe Bryant, 41, perished in a tragic helicopter crash. Jan. 27 commemorated the 75th anniversary of the liberation of thousands imprisoned in Nazi death camps. Do I have to say which story received the lion's share of media attention?

Oh, almost forgot, eight others died with Bryant, yet you'd never know that by the coverage. Almost as an afterthought some media outlets did, in fact, mention that his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, perished as well.

Names of the other six passengers and pilot hardly warranted media attention; they were forever relegated to nameless obscurity. By the way international media covered Bryant's passing, you'd think that Jesus Christ himself had died all over again.

Don't get me wrong: I loved the guy. Off and on, I followed his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers team, right from his high school days as basketball sensation at Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania and straight into the National Basketball Association, where he capped off his career with one final, spectacular 60-point game.

But, to my way of thinking, he was truly more of the man off-court in retirement than on it. He became global ambassador for many charitable and goodwill causes.

That said, why is it that celebrities of Bryant's stature are elevated to celebrity-god status? What is it about them, especially when they pass on........

© The Korea Times