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A Dose of Glee

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Glee is one of my favorite TV shows. I love how it's so unique in the fact that the actors are also singers and use their gift of song on the show.

On July 13, 2013, Glee cast member Cory Monteith died of a toxic combination of alcohol and heroin. The entire Glee family (including the fans of Glee, also known as Gleeks) was shocked and deeply saddened at his sudden death. In response to the outpouring of grief by his fans, people started to denounce his death. A Dose of Buckley is a blogger who also makes YouTube videos. He recently made a video, titled "Celebrity Overdose (Cory Monteith)," decrying the death of Cory and its effect on fans.

I can see how Buckley may have been thinking. He looked at every "excuse" a fan might have for mourning the death of Cory and rebuked them. One "excuse" is that fans knew his character Finn, not Cory, and I admit that I probably did know more about Finn than Cory himself. He also said that there are worse tragedies that people should focus on instead. It is also clear that Buckley believes that Cory simply suffered the consequences of his own choices with his death, saying, "A junkie is a junkie. They deserve no sympathy whether they were famous or not. No one forced them to do anything. You make your own choices in life, and you either live with them or die from them." Now, I understand that everyone is entitled to his or her own opinions, and it's not my place to tell people what they should or should not think, but this is something I just have to speak up against because I don't think a lot of people understand.

1. It does not matter how you die, a death is a death. It's one of the most tragic things of this world because it takes someone or something that someone deeply, truly loves away from him or her. So, you should respect that death as if it was someone you knew and deeply loved. You don't have to be balling in tears or what not, but don't you dare disrespect or denounce anyone's death because there is someone that deeply loved the person. By respecting their death, you respect the memory of the person, and you respect the ones who loved that person.

2. Yes, Cory made a bad decision and got addicted to drugs. Quite contrary to how Buckley would put it, an addiction is not just making the same bad choices over and over. It is a mental illness, so you cannot write him or anyone with an addiction off as wasting their lives. Taking the drug once can cause a change in the brain's normal functioning. The brain will send signals to the body saying that it needs the drug or substance. Depending on the drug, the need for the substance could be as strong as the body needs water. An addict may not even want to take the substance again, but the mind tricks the body into thinking that it needs the substance. Like all mental illnesses, it's not something anyone can get over in a day, nor a month for that matter. It could take years and doesn't always work. You don't joke around about mental illness. What if Cory had committed suicide? Would people still be making the same jokes and statements about how it's his own fault because that's much more of a "choice" than overdosing due to an addiction? In the end, no one chooses to have a mental illness. Don't you dare say anything against people with them. And on top of that, Cory was getting help. If you have never had any mental illnesses like depression, OCD, PTSD, and phobias, nor seen anyone live with them, it is hard to comprehend the reality of a mental illness. To actually go and get help is a huge step that takes a huge amount of strength. I applaud Cory for getting help.

3. Glee was a lot more than a TV show with characters and plot twists. Some of the problems that the characters faced in the show were the same problems the actual actors have gone through. For instance, the episode "Born This Way" from Season 2, Rachel Berry (played by Lea Michele) is faced with the option of getting a nose job. In real life, Michelle has been ridiculed for being Jewish and having a "big nose". In the episode "Home" from Season 1, Mercedes Jones (played by Amber Riley) is told she needs to slim down in order to become a cheerleader. In real life, Riley has dealt with body image issues and the pressures society puts on her to slim down. The characters aren't just characters; they're real people with real problems. Yes, we didn't truly know who Cory Monteith was, but through Glee, we saw some of his real struggles, so we saw part of who he was, and that part is what people attached to. One of the values Glee tries to teach is to accept people for who they are no matter what they are. Although an addict, he was welcomed to the Glee cast and changed people's lives. Even his character, Finn Hudson, a football jock, has to learn acceptance. Denouncing and mocking his death because he "got what he deserved as a drug addict" defaces Cory's role and spits at the life and memory of Cory. He did what society should be doing: accepting people.

For a lot of people, including me, Glee is an inspiration and a hope. While it is unfortunate that certain tragedies become more broadcasted than others, we should not denounce any tragedy. And while we cannot honor every single death and tragedy that occurs every day in the world, we can do what we can as human beings and respect the tragedies that we come to face.