Monday, March 28, 2011

Did Knut the Polar Bear Die from Overexposure?

He entered the world to international acclaim, but where are all the "oooohers" and "aaaaahers" now?

On March 19, 2011, Knut, the irresistibly cute and cuddly polar bear, staggered and drowned in his cage at The Berlin Zoo, never to be heard from again. That’s right. As onlookers watched (and filmed) in horror, darling Knut, barely 4-years old, bit the big one.

This is the same furball whose birth made callous news people blubber and fawn like adoring grandparents. No one could get enough of Knut. His adorable little smushy face graced the cover of every newspaper and popular magazines. Heck, his first video may still be going viral.

At least now Zsa Zsa Gabor can sleep easy. With Knut’s death, the bubbe-meise of celebrities dying in threes has come to fruition. First Jane Russell, then Dame Elizabeth Taylor, and now chick-magnet Knut. To be fair, Taylor completed the trilogy, but news of Knut’s death traveled slowly. I doubt Gabor realizes Taylor’s death actually bought her a reprieve.

A neurologist who studied Knut’s brain scans claims he died from an epileptic fit. I wonder if something more sinister is to blame. Neglect? Abuse? Failure to keep his magnetic mug in front of the cameras? I can’t remember the last time I watched a video of the fluffy charmer.

Perhaps to some degree we are all to blame for Knut’s untimely demise. The poor wretch died the same way he was born – on film – but what about those brief years in between? Who was filming then? As he aged from the height of "Knut-Mania" to the dirty brown punching bag of female cage mates, zoo attendance waned. And so it seems did interest in Knut.

Some have speculated it was the stress of stardom that did him in. Maybe, like so many child stars who turn from darling to dull right before our eyes and lose their careers in the process, Knut was a has-been who saw the handwriting on the wall. Maybe the poor dear simply decided to go out on his own terms, turning in circles and plopping into the abyss.

Hopefully, Knut is now in a better place, a place where cameras roll day and night and he is the bright shining star never fading from glory.

Then again, the limelight is never as glamorous as it seems.

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