The death of perspective
On Thursday, June 26 2009 99% of the people I talked to swore the emperor was wearing clothes.Of course, that was the day that two ‘icons’ shuffled forever off this mortal coil: Farah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. All major networks and average Joes’ gave significant time to celebrating the tragic early passing of two celebrities who had either been out of the public eye for years or had long ago passed beyond ‘freak show’ and well into ‘unprecedented clusterfuck’ territory. I’m going to go and cry shenanigans here.
Let’s begin with Farah. Her death was untimely, and I gave her full credit for trying to bring attention to what it is that victims of cancer go through. However, let’s try to be a bit reasonable here: her death isn’t a tragedy, anymore than any other death is a tragedy. The world did not lose a special talent here. Not to be callous here, but this was a woman whose greatest work involved her wearing tiny clothes and solving ludicrous mysteries on a weekly basis with two other equally scantily clad babes. I’m going to go ahead and say that everybody who didn’t know her directly and who is ‘mourning’ her either developed an emotional attachment to her when they masturbated to a picture of her every day between November 1977-February 1982 or is just going through the motions because they’ve been so bombarded with updates about her cancer that they feel as though they HAVE to have an emotional response to show for it. Honestly, before this whole cancer thing, when was the last time you heard somebody mention how much they love and admire Farah Fawcett? This isn’t quite on the level of the disgusting amounts of public adulation and re-written history we went through when Anna Nicole or that racist British reality star kicked the bucket, but I think that if we give it a few weeks, we might get there.
As for Michael Jackson, the man was a pop genius. He crafted some of the best songs of all time, re-invented the music video, inspired pretty much every pop-star dance routine that’s followed him, and his work with Quincy Jones may very well go down as being the best popular music of our lifetimes. I would say he will be missed, but we’ve been missing the guy for well over a decade. The Michael we all loved died sometime around the days he had his fourth nose job, had a cleft surgically constructed in his chin (!), turned white due to a mysterious skin illness, and of course, started touching little boys. Nobody was expecting a come back. MJ was too far gone for a return to glory. Baby-dangling, a sham marriage to Elvis’ daughter, weird interviews and documentaries, having a brother named Tito who has apparently never spoken a word, buying a monkey named Bubbles, and worst of all – having a close ‘relationship’ with Macaulay Culkin… There have been celebrities who were just as weird, but in such cases, it’s always been a transparent bid for attention. Not so with Michael; it became more and more evident that all those years where he was the coolest son of a bitch in the world were the lie. We were only now seeing what he was really like, and the truth was far weirder than we ever could have imagined. We mourned the loss of his genius then. Doing so now isn’t just unneeded, but down right inappropriate. We aren’t mourning his legacy, we’ve all long accepted that we were never going to get anything with any artistic merit from MJ again. We’re mourning the end of the circus, the death of the world’s most obscene public Greek tragedy. The good Michael has been dead for years. Let’s not pretend the bad Michael was anything more than a sideshow.
This has been an appeal for some perspective. Now back to your regular scheduled programming. As always, I welcome your comments.