The hagiography begins.
At a period in time when the world watches as Iran shakes with potential for democracy, the news cycle is dominated with the death of the apparent “King of Pop.” As per usual, fantasy trumps reality in celebrity-obsessed Western culture. (I recorded a couple of hours of CNN last night – and then scanned through their coverage from the too weird Larry King to the over the top Anderson Cooper.)
There is no doubt that Michael Jackson was a gifted performer and writer – who had the wisdom to work with people like Quincy Jones and Greg Phillinganes. Never a real fan in Jackson’s prime, I do have his Number Ones in my iTunes library – the Glen Ballard/Seidah Garrett penned Man in the Mirror being my favourite recording.
His sad death, however, is the end of a tragic life; a gifted little boy whose childhood was wickedly stolen from him by an abusive, domineering father and Motown Records – who grows up vowing to never grow up – living in a perverse Neverland. (Michael was no Peter Pan.)
Now the fawning media, no doubt looking to drive up their audience numbers, are thrilled to be wall to wall Jackson. I agree with Jonah Goldberg on this one, “I must say I find the media’s instinctive rush to sanctify Michael Jackson disgusting.”
The metaphor that came to mind for me this morning was that of traffic accident gawkers. They slow down to stare at the misfortune of others – slowing everyone else down in the process. Might I suggest whilst being respectful to his family, we need to move along people. There really is nothing to see here.
And there are a lot more important issues for us to consider.
UPDATE: Jordon Cooper offers his own take on Jackson – and quotes a lucid Andrew Sullivan in the process. (I haven’t found Sullivan particularly lucid of late.) Challies quotes Sullivan, as well. And the iMonk points at a truly significant life and death.