It’s no secret; America has an unhealthy infatuation with celebrities. It is the era of a modern cultural obsession that has unfolded itself into almost blind idolatry, as people eat, drink and savor every drive-thru celebrity moment the media can conjure.
Consumers buy celebrity clothing, scents and books in an almost religious fashion. Perhaps even more phenomenal is the public’s reaction and media’s coverage of celebrity deaths, and the circus that it has unconsciously become.
Recently on June 25, the so-called “King of Pop,” Michael Jackson, died as a result of heart failure. The media was all over it, and rightfully so as he was one of the biggest stars of the century, and certainly one of the most recognizable names in pop culture.
Tabloids, newspapers, Web sites and television all did their best to pay tribute to the man who many saw as the music video’s biggest ambassador. The world saw a global outpouring of fans that wanted to be a part of the final farewell to one of the biggest superstars on the planet.
Almost two weeks later, and the fires are still burning. Tuesday was Jackson’s memorial ceremony, an excessively long three-hour affair that was covered live by ABC, CBS, CNN and other news networks.
Myspace.com banners still shout homage, New York Times stories covering the funeral proceedings, questions about his estate and assets and the list continues — where it ends is anyone’s guess.
One can’t help but wonder: is it newsworthy? It does seem that real news being covered by a thick blanket of Jackson’s posthumous matters.
In the most sympathetic manner: it’s hard to understand why we the media keep jack-hammering the ten-cent nail. He’s gone, his career was nothing short of amazing, but let it rest.
People remember where they were when John F. Kennedy died, when John Lennon died, when Elvis Presley died, and maybe some of us will remember where we were when Jackson died. But this has become an almost blind profession of faith toward a human being who was talented but also exceedingly eccentric and bizarre.
What he did to enervate the music industry can be described as profound and supernatural. He had that outlandish charisma about him that inspired media and fan gravitation alike.
Nevertheless, he was – for the most part — human.
Jackson was a man who had producers such as Quincy Jones and songwriters like Rod Temperton, who often times were there to put in the work while receiving minimal acclaim.
The most sensational thing Jackson did was dance; he was without a doubt a hell of a dancer and he had the chops to prove it. When he let loose the iconic moonwalk to audiences around the world during Motown 25 in 1983, it was stunning to say the least.
But he is not a world leader, nor a prominent humanitarian activist, nor the victim of an unjust death. He deserves respect and tribute, but let the world keep turning.
Let us move on with more pertinent news, and let Jackson’s memory live on with dignity.