Not since the death of James Dean has a generation been so traumatized by a celebrity death; as the circus of Paul Walker media lunacy continues to spread rumors, whispers of rumors and accusations of fraud. In a way it is not surprising that someone has come up with the theory that 40 year-old Walker “staged” his own, and Roger Rodas’, death.
The moment that news of the two men’s death was broadcast on all respective media sites, conspiracy theories mounted. The Illuminati, drug cartels, the government and even accusations of Walker being slain as part of some ritualistic sacrifice murder have all been named as the cause of the two men’s demise. Much has been made of the fact that the red Porsche Carrera GT that carried 38 year-old Rodas and Fast & Furious star Walker to their deaths has not given any real clues as to why it veered off the road and hit a light pole and two trees.
Conflicting video evidence, from CCTV cameras and not provided by one website which purports to be the “real” footage of what happened, seemed to have discrepancies. Later, another clip surfaced which showed the car crashing – by benefit of seeing a light pole and two trees disappear while the car could not be seen – and taking some time to fully catch fire and turn into an inferno that took Paul Walker’s life. All these moving images appear to show something different from what was reported.
Eye witness reports varied as well. That was to be expected. Police officers can affirm that any eye witness report can be wildly inaccurate. Adrenaline does more than increase the pulse rate, it creates a sort of hyper-reality where everything comes into focus. Unfortunately this focus is not always what witnesses think it is. During this rush of chemicals which flood the body during tragic events, hair color changes, suspect’s height can vary drastically and skin color can darken or lighten.
In the meantime rumors mount about the cause of death, the fortune being fought over by surviving relatives and now the latest being that the two men are not dead at all. Looking back at the death of Dean, it is all too easy to see what would have occurred if the world wide web had access to all the types of information available concerning the young star’s death. Now the world has news publications which crawl the net for yet more information and then rushes to air what they’ve gleaned to the public.
The late James Dean had less of a media frenzy when he died in his Spyder Porsche in 1955 only because the internet did not exist back then. Fans still went into meltdown though and his fame spread more after his death than it did while the star was still alive. Of course Dean was just starting out. A mere 24 years old with a just a few films under his belt meant that Dean never reached his true potential.
There is, at least, one parallel between the two stars despite their age difference. They both loved fast cars and to drive fast. The bitter irony is that Dean was behind the wheel of his Spyder while Walker was a passenger in the GT. Both accidents ended the same way with death and a sudden shock to family, friends and fans who had to deal with the tragedy.
The biggest difference lays between the conspiracy theories that have accompanied Walker’s death. While James Dean’s car was thought to be “cursed,” which was really the full extent of the theories in 1955; Paul Walker has had so many conspiracies proposed that it is approaching a sort of media lunacy which erupts each time a new one is broached. Not even the king himself, Elvis Presley, had so many cries of foul play, although, it was a widespread belief that Elvis had staged his own death. There are still Presley fans today who believe that the singer is alive somewhere on the planet.
When Michael Jackson died at 50 years of age, there were a few conspiracy theories. Like Elvis, it was felt that Jackson had staged his own death. This did not last long as pictures of the superstar were in evidence at the time. Jackson’s fans did want the reality to be true, but, despite their almost rabidly fervent worship of the performer, they knew that the “new” king was dead.
Now Paul Walker has died in a manner that so closely resembles the end of the 1950s idol James Dean that it seems almost surreal. While the star was not driving, nor was he just starting out in his career, he was reaching almost unimaginable heights of fame and recognition. Things that Dean only obtained after his tragic and too early end. In essence the parallel exists only in that each actor died in a Porsche that was, perhaps, travelling too fast.
Another difference was that Dean was a mystery to all who knew him. Walker was a hearty philanthropist who seemed to have no enemies. His charity, Reach Out Worldwide, was used to help people in need. No one, it seems, has a bad thing to say about the late actor. Unlike Dean, with Walker you got what you saw. A 40 year-old actor who had reached stardom through a wildly popular film franchise that seemed tailor-made for him.
The Walker family have more than enough on their plate. Paul’s younger brother, 25 year-old Cody, will be stepping in for him so Universal Pictures can finish Fast & Furious 7. Walker’s daughter, 15 year-old Meadow is having to cope with the loss of her father. His other family members are entrenched in what appears to be a move to cut Paul’s girlfriend out of a share of his $45 million.
All these events are on-going and difficult for the Walker family. As friends and fans struggle to learn all they can about what happened on that fateful day in November, the Paul Walker media lunacy continues with almost alarming regularity. The actor’s remains were laid to rest on Dec. 14, 2013 and yet the conspiracy theories continue as does the real grief felt by all who knew him.
By Michael Smith