Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Roger Ebert: Friends Don't Let Jackasses Drink and Drive

Graffettie against drunk driving in Yakima Valleyphoto © 2010 Robert Ashworth | more info (via: Wylio)

According to Huffpo, shortly before Jackass actor Ryan Dunn died in a car accident, he posted a picture of himself drinking.  In the fatal car crash two other people died.  This inspired Roger Ebert to tweet "Friends don't let jackasses drink and drive."  This tweet lead to a tremendous backlash and Roger is not trending on twitter because people are expressing outrage.

Perez Hilton, who lives to interject himself into every possible situation wrote on his blog:
We certainly agree that driving after drinking is wrong, we think there's no reason - especially RIGHT NOW - that anyone should be pointing fingers or poking fun at a truly tragic situation.
 I will agree that Dunn's family and friends may have found what Ebert had to say harsh, but seriously, how old do you have to be to know that drinking and driving should never ever mix?  We have had PSA's for years about this fact, and organizations like MADD have worked extremely hard to encourage people to do sensible things, like choosing a designated driver, or taking a cab after a night of drinking.  

Though Dunn himself is dead, two others lost their lives.  It is a tragic situation, but one I feel calls for blunt honesty.  The fact of the matter is that drinking and driving kills, and we should not down play this. Reading the negative commentary on twitter, once again made me realize that people seem extremely hesitant to say negative things about someone after they have died, as though death suddenly erases the fact that they have done something terrible.

Last year my nephew died of a drug overdose.  He was not an addict and was experimenting.  It hurt me to grieve and to watch is parents pain in particular, but I was honest about the fact that he made a terrible decision which killed him.  His family will never recover from this loss, but that does not take away the fact that doing drugs can kill you the first time, depending of course on what the drug is.  He was not a stupid man, and going into a state of denial about how and why he died is not going to bring him back, or help anyone who is tempted to make the same mistake.  I know that when a loved on dies, the nerves of those who loved him or her are completely strained, but that does not mean we should deny the seriousness of something like drinking and driving.  Ebert may have spoken in a callous manner, but he absolutely spoke the undeniable truth.

Living fast, dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse is not a good thing.  There should never be a time when saying this is unacceptable. It is not cool and sure as hell is not edgy.  Death is permanent and no one comes back from this. People should absolutely mourn, if they loved him or where fans of his work, but they should also take away the lesson that drinking and driving is an asshole thing to do, otherwise he died for absolutely nothing.