Thursday, June 25, 2009

RIP King of Pop

"I grieve for him; but I also grieve for the culture that created and destroyed him. That culture is ours' and it is a lethal and brutal one: with fame and celebrity as its core values, with money as its sole motive, it chewed this child up and spat him out."
--Andrew Sullivan

I was never a fan of Michael Jackson. I never even owned a copy of "Thriller" or tried to moonwalk. But I am riveted to the news of his shocking death, and I feel very moved and very sad. He was the ostensive definition of "superstar" even decades after the music and videos that made him one. I guess that made him a permanent fixture of my life from the days of the Jackson 5 on.

He was prodigiously talented, he was a shrewd self-promoter, and he worked extremely hard. He was also a bizarre and tragic figure who had himself surgically mutilated to unbelievable depths of grotesqueness and was so out of place in our world that he fashioned one of his own. To paraphrase a commentator on CNN: as a child, he seemed like an adult, and as an adult, he seemed like a child.

Maybe the world would be better off without its superstars and idol worship. And maybe Michael Jackson's death is no more important than anyone else's, including Farrah Fawcett's. But it sure doesn't feel that way.

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