Michael Jackson has died. While it makes me pause because we are the same age, that is the only reason. As a young person I enjoyed his music...I bought a copy of "Thriller" along with 100 million other people. But I feel the "cult of the famous" has gone too far.
Jonah Goldberg did a better job of putting it into words than I can...
And while we’re at it, his relatively early death wasn’t “tragic.” He was one of the richest people in the world. He spent his money on perpetual childhood and he was perpetually with children not his own.
Meanwhile, in the last ten days, we’ve seen or heard of remarkable people who’ve given their lives for freedom in Iran. We’ve heard of innocents killed because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the last decade, America has lost thousands of heroes in noble causes and thousands of innocent bystanders who were denied the simple joys of life through no fault of their own. Those deaths are tragic, and we're hard pressed to think of more than a handful of names to put with the long line of the dead.
If anything, Michael Jackson’s life, not his death, was tragic.
Every year at the Oscars they show a montage of people who died over the previous year. Invariably, the audience only applauds for the really famous people. This has always offended me. Not necessarily because the famous people don’t deserve praise but because it’s so clear that the audience is clapping for the fame. Michael Jackson had many accomplishments. But the press is sanctifying him because he was famous, deservedly so to be sure, but not because he was good. So much of the coverage seems to miss this fundamental point, as if being famous made him good.
I feel sympathy for Jackson’s family and friends who understandably mourn him. But I can't bring myself to mourn him any more than I mourn the random dead I read about in the paper everyday. Indeed, I confess to mourning him less.
Every channel says this is a sad day for America. I agree. But not for the same reasons.