Friday, June 26, 2009

Celebrity Death Machine (originally posted on facebook 06/26/09)

No it's not a new Nine Inch Nails album, so don't get excited.

Judging by the 50 some-odd or more status updates from yesterday evening on, most people have gotten wind of the news of the demise of Michael Jackson, once known to the western world as 'The King of Pop', following on the heels of the news that Farrah Fawcett, actress and former pinup best known for being the most well known of a number of Charlie's Angels, succumbed to cancer.

And because these things come in three's, a day earlier we heard that Ed McMahon who was a long-time sidekick to Johnny Carson and also had the dubious distinction of being 'The Publishers Clearinghouse guy' (when Dick Clark wasn't being that guy) passed away from an number of health issues.

I'm left once again to question the morbid fascination we as a people seem to have with the lives and deaths of celebrities. I, for one, feel pretty much numb to it. I never knew these people, and while I can acknowledge the tragedy to some extent, my life goes on as normal.

I think it's the disproportionate level of grief society shows these people... some of whom seem famous for being famous, and may or may not have contributed much to their art in years, but happen to get caught up in the celebrity scandal machine. Immortality acheived through constant exposure.

On Ed McMahon.. well, he was 86. He had a long and full life with much success, so I don't think it's any sort of tragedy. I'm sure his family is sad, and I hope they get to grieve in peace. But I have a feeling that in the next few months, there will be at least one unauthorized biography with tales of a) sordid love affairs, both female and male, b) drug use c) pick your own. I hope not, though.

Farrah Fawcett, I honestly don't know what she has done for the last 30 years. except get married and look pretty. I'm told she's done some movies, some of which could be described as 'good' or even 'very good'. Again, it is tragic that she developed breast cancer at a young age, but I can't really fathom why her death is more tragic than any number of beautiful women (inside and out) and men who have been taken away by cancer.

I do think Michael Jackson's death is a tragedy, but not for the reasons by many. The general concensus is that we've lost this great musical icon.

I'm sorry folks, he was lost to us years ago, when he got caught up in the cogs of the gossip machines and the pressure became too much. Had it not been for his eccentricities, he may not remained in the spotlight as long as he did. Sadly, from another perspective, perhaps without the pressures of being constantly scrutinized by the media's eye, he may have continued to be the creative genius he once was, if a slightly eccentric one.

In my humble opinion, the tragedy lies with his children, who are already standing a good chance of growing up profoundly effed up. Now they've lost a parent, and my fear is that the youngest child, who I believe is only about 6 years old, is going to grow, and the few memories this child will have of his father will be tainted by 'wacko jacko' caricature painted by the media, including some of the uglier allegations. The older children will have clearer memories to counteract that picture but at the same time, it must be easier to deal with the media picture if there is an actual person there to compare. The self-doubt and questioning these children stand potentially go through is mind-boggling.

I sincerely hope the media leaves these poor children alone, and that they are allowed to go on with life and fade into obscurity. I think we all know that's not going to happen.

If I've pissed off or offended anyone, my sincere apologies. Just utilizing a public forum, is all.

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