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Vin Diesel’s Tribute to Paul Walker and the Weirdness of Celebrity Death in Social Media Age

By / 12.03.13

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Paul Walker’s indisputably tragic death last week has put us in an odd position. Specifically, the position where Vin Diesel is part of a huge story and I can’t have fun with him. Anyway, Diesel shares pretty much everything with his fans on his incredible Facebook page, and naturally that includes paying tribute to his departed co-star, about whom he recently wrote:

“To live in the hearts we leave behind, is not to die.”

Thomas Campbell.

Pablo, I wish you could see the world right now… and the profound impact, your full life has had on it, on Us… on me…

I will always love you Brian, as the brother you were… on and off screen.

“Brian” refers to Walker’s Fast/Furious character, Brian O’Conner, by the way, in case that was unclear†. Vin Diesel is so cool, he strikes me as a guy who never sits on a chair with it facing forwards.

Social media has made death really strange, hasn’t it? I’ve had a few experiences where I’ve tried to look up former classmates who were dead and found their zombie Facebook accounts, where friends have been leaving messages, pictures, tributes, or even just notes about things that happened that day. Our brains are already unprepared to deal with death (especially unexpected deaths of people who seemed healthy), you multiply that by social media, this form of communication that grew way faster than anyone’s brains could evolve to deal with it, and you get all kinds of weird, morbid stuff.

To say nothing of the search-term journalism that springs up around it, like CNN’s “5 Reasons the Car Paul Walker Died in is Different.” Save yourself a click there, pals, I’m pretty sure that Porche still had four wheels and an engine. Incidentally, police have already ruled out the possibility of street racing in Walker’s death, the possibility CNN floated yesterday.

[hat tip to Vulture on the video]

†Not Brian from Family Guy, who also died recently.

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