The past 15 or so hours have been a little bewildering to me. I was at the pool when I found out Michael Jackson had died (although for about 15 minutes there were various rumors flying via text messages). One neighbor rushed home to plan a Michael Jackson tribute party. Two others rushed into the clubhouse to watch the news when they found out. And the resident teen drama queen (who was barely alive when MJ was actually making music) started wailing and crying loudly. I returned home 30 or so minutes later to see entire pages full of status updates on Facebook all referring to the death. Really? This is the biggest thing going on in our lives? Does this event deserve 3/4 of the front page of the paper?
I was over the whole drama of Jackson’s recent life a long time ago. As a musical genius he was pretty much already dead to me.
I don’t get attached to celebrities. I never have. Even as a sixth grader when my friends collected Tiger Beat posters of Kirk Cameron and the ever favorite New Kids, I never really understood it. I think the vast majority of the people we consider celebrities are pretty normal people with jobs that put them in the public eye (I’m sure there are a few who really are larger than life, but I assume they are few and far between).
I personally don’t believe Michael Jackson, as a person, was one of those people. I think he was an amazing musician, with an eye for progressive choreography and a knack for reflecting world issues in his music at times. However, at the time of his death he was past his prime and most of the positive he contributed to the world seemed to be complete. I feel empathy for his family, his loved ones, but no more than I would for any other family I do not know personally who has suddenly lost one of their own.
Death is a part of life. It is inevitable and it is not necessarily a bad thing. I do mourn for those who had an impact on my life, but because I am a little unusual for my generation and do not feel the beat of music under my skin, the death of MJ has not been a defining moment in my life.