Monday, January 05, 2009

So, Here's My Thinking on the Whole Jett Travolta Thing

If you weren't in the room when he died, if you weren't an intimate part of the caretaking process for the Travolta-Preston family, if you aren't a health care professional who wasn't actively consulting on his case.... why don't you just shut up already.

Since Jett Travolta died last week in what appears to be a fall in the bathroom while his family vacationed in the Bahamas, I've begun seeing all kinds of stories on how he died, including comments that the Travoltas were cavalier in some way about his care, the implication that somehow the caretaker at the house was somehow involved, and even (and this one, I have to admit, gets my vote for the "Boy, Have You Been Watching Too Much Television" Award) that this was some kind of Scientology-related takedown. I've also heard at least three different stories on Jett's developmental difficulties, ranging from autism to epilepsy to retardation. His parents have admitted in past interviews that Jett was somehow developmentally delayed, and that as a toddler, he was stricken with Kawasaki Syndrome. I have also heard from everybody I know that either knows or has worked with John Travolta and Kelly Preston that Jett's parents were dedicated, loving, caring parents who have always doted on both their children.

These people have lost a child. I can't even imagine the depth or magnitude of their grief and despair. How about we handle this celebrity-adjacent tragedy differently than we have in the past, by not speculating on how we could have prevented it all, if only we'd been there, with our superior parenting skills and our highly astute sense of potential danger. Go hug your children and check your own coffee tables for sharp, pokey edges, and leave these people alone. They loved their son, they did their best for him during his life, and---as sometimes happens even in the most loving, safe, and diligent homes---a tragic accident happened.

Shut up. Just shut up. Now.


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