French poet Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud’s is one of those premature deaths that constitutes a myth. That sort of myth that death builds up and keeps there, well above the surface. People like Rimbaud, or Ernesto “Che” Guevara, are all examples of young lives that death freezes forever and makes unique, as if the lives of those who are left behind, id est, the living, we are not unique as well.
Rimbaud, Jimi Hendrix, Guevara, have all been immortalized in the collective memory because they died young. No one would think of them in the same way had they died old. People think of them because, ironically, they died while being full of life, amidst the fervor of life, of love. And the death of young lives, especially when that life has spread a lot smiles, becomes a fragile death, harder to accept, even more unwanted than a logic death. In wars, it is mainly young people that die, as is the case with earthquakes or air strikes in schools, but, for some reason, collective deaths belong to a somewhat lower hierarchy, are somewhat less important because they do not constitute a myth.
When a young person dies, people, or media, only care about the principal character and the rest are forgotten. It was not only Otis Redding who died in that plane crash; on the same day, at the same time, killed by the same fire or sheer force were his musicians. A myth should die young, undeservedly; of course it also helps if, during their lifetime, that person has smiled a lot, or has affected many lives in some kind of massive way. But it is also necessary that the myth die alone. And if the myth does not die alone, history will erase the data about the people that died along with it; it will blur guitarists and it will gets rid of those who were not as beautiful.