They were arguably the best metal band of the '90s and released some of the most influential albums, Cowboys from Hell and Vulgar Display of Power. Abrasive and brutal, Pantera proved to the faithless that metal was not dead after the atrocity of hair metal in the '80s. The power behind Pantera’s memorable riffs which can be found on songs such as "Cowboys from Hell" and "Walk" was guitarist Dimebag Darrell.
Hailed as one of the best metal guitarists, not only did Dimebag wow the crowds with his talent, but anyone and everyone he ever met remembered his kindness and generosity. After Pantera died, Dimebag and his brother, Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul, started a new band, Damageplan. But in the same year of the release of their debut album, Dimebag was shot to death moments into a Damageplan concert on December 8, 2004.
His death caused a huge wave of grief in the metal community. Fans from all over the world held vigils in memory of their hero. The horrific circumstances involving his death make it difficult for some to forget, especially those who were there at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio. His brother Vinnie was sitting right behind him when it happened. Two of Dimebag’s good friends and part of the road crew were shot, one killed. Fans were shot while trying to help Dimebag.
Does this seem like entertainment? Is it something that you’d like to watch on television?
According to the E! Networks, yes it is. E! was hoping to do a re-enactment of the murder for a show called 25 Most Chilling Hollywood Murders. A videotape of the actual murders already exists and was seen on the Behind The Music: Pantera episode. If watching that video wasn’t difficult enough, watching a re-enactment would be a lot more painful.
Pantera publicist Janie Hoffman received an email from E! clearances coordinator Beau Thomason, alerting her to the program. Hoffman, outraged with the idea, sent a reply that didn’t just contain a simple “no,” but launched into a scathing attack on E! in which she asked the staff of E! to imagine themselves witnessing such a horrific event and wondered how they would feel about watching such a program if the person involved was a friend or family member. She requested the email be read to the programming staff.
This entire situation certainly brings into question: what is entertainment? The E! Network seems to survive on the personal tragedies of celebrities or people in the spotlight. For some reason, this appears to be entertainment. People love to see the “perfect people” in a not so perfect state, or at least this is what E! believes. It’s what drives them to make shows such as 101 Most Shocking Moments in Entertainment and True Hollywood Story. Quality programming? I think not.
E!, along with celebrity gossip shows such as Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, The Insider and magazines like People, In Touch Weekly, and US Weekly have created some twisted form of celebrity reality. Forms of media like these make money from catching celebrities with their pants down or a finger up their nose. Who’s getting divorced this week? Tune in to find out!
These celebrities that are portrayed on this network are somebody’s friend or family member. They don’t want to see or hear an entertainment network making their friend or family member’s life a show. Hearing about wild behavior or running stories on drug consumption, or other taboo subjects on these networks would be horrible to hear for those people and their families if it weren’t true. Ex-Guns N Roses and current Velvet Revolver guitarist Slash had to call his wife and tell her he wasn’t divorcing her after gossip magazines said otherwise.
There is a huge problem with the Dimebag proposal, aside from this. The show is called 25 Most Shocking Hollywood Murders. Dimebag was as far from Hollywood as someone living in China. Although E! is quick to cover this saying in an email that the show:
“… takes a factual journey through the tragedies that shocked not only Hollywood, but the world."
Well this just about covers it. This just makes the entire situation even sadder. It seems as though they are scraping the barrel of murders to show on television.
Where do you draw the line for celebrity entertainment? Or entertainment at all? Before you know it, they’ll have a reality show with real life murders happening on screen. The kids will gather around the television with mama and papa, a big bowl of popcorn and wait until some unsuspecting young woman is murdered by some man waiting in the bushes. Or a musician being shot in the head on stage, in front of his brother and extended family.
Hoffman certainly let the E! Networks have it. In her long email, Hoffman reaches the simple one worded answer at the end saying:
"The answer if no, and on behalf of everyone that was there that night and everyone that misses him every day, you can take that no and shove it up your collective asses."