Or, more accurately, we're too interested in U.S. celebrity culture to notice when one of our own dies.
In the past I have expressed my annoyance with the disproportionate amount of grief that people express in the wake of celebrity deaths, as once again was demonstrated over the last week after news of Whitney Houston's death broke. So in light of that, I feel more than a little hypocritical to say that I felt PROFOUNDLY FUCKING SAD when I found out that Neil Hope, who had played Derek "Wheels" Wheeler on Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High had not only died, but died FIVE YEARS AGO without anyone really noticing or giving a shit.
|You said it, Ed the Sock.|
Anyway, maybe it's the affinity I have for those original Degrassi series' after they got me through weeks of being hospitalized in my late teens (along with Guiding Light, as well as reruns of Law and Order and Northern Exposure) or perhaps it's that it sounds like Hope in spite of his name had a pretty shitty upbringing not unlike his on screen counterpart but this made me sad in a way that usually doesn't happen with me.
According to the story in the Globe and Mail, creator Linda Schuyler and executive producer Stephen Stohn had kept quiet out of respect to Hope's family. Odd that the Globe cites natural causes, whereas the National Post says he died in a fire.
Apparently, the news was finally made public due to a Facebook group dedicated to bring 'the real' Neil Hope to Facebook. I guess the family confirmed so as to not waste everyone's time.
In the spirit of blaming all that is wrong with the world on Mark Zuckerberg I say "Good job, Zuck. Way to make things AWKWARD."
Here's a clip from the movie/series finale School's Out, where Wheels gets drunk and kills a kid and maims Lucy in a car wreck. Trigger warning.
UPDATE: So most of the other news outlets are reporting that Hope died of natural causes (Wow.. out of context, that phrase is like.. really depressing). Our lesson here is that the National Post kind of sucks.