I realize both these entertainers are considered iconic. Jackson revolutionized pop music. He was also one of the most dysfunctional people in the business. Farrah, like others, was more of a fashion icon for that beautiful mane of blond hair. She too had her share of problems in her personal life.
It often seems the more dysfunctional a celebrity is, the greater degree of popularity. Why is it so many are drawn to them? We certainly don't envy them their problems. Jackson became a joke. Anna Nicole Smith became a joke. So did the overweight, drug infused Elvis.
I don't think it's a generational thing. Consider the throngs that still visit Graceland. They are mostly women, mostly in my age bracket. Why the throngs of people surrounding the hospital to which Jackson was taken? Why the uncontrollable weeping over a man they had never met?
Are our lives so empty we have to immerse ourselves in their lives, problems and all? Are we so shallow that these people are really our idols?
Where are the writers and artists? Where are our military men and women who have performed unbelievable acts of valor to save their comrades while under fire. It always seems to be the entertainers and the athletes. Ability in their chosen fields? Some more than others but, yes, or they'd not have attained their celebrity status. Intellect? Questionable for far too many.
It interests me. I have never lived in a foreign land. Other than the outpouring for Princess Diana, another dysfunctional celebrity, I've never witnessed grieving for one of their iconic personalities. Are they like us? I sincerely hope not. At least not to the same extreme.
So which paper got it right? The Wall Street Journal. A shy half page on page three of section A.
Now the hype begins. Jackson's doctor's car impounded, a Mozart of the century, a true muse who sacrificed everything for his music.
This is a matter of personal taste, I'll admit, but how can one compare The Marriage of Figaro, the Magic Flute, Don Giovanni and The Requiem to Thriller?
You might wonder who my idols may be. To tell the truth I don't have any. There are actors and actresses and musicians and writers and athletes and military personnel who I admire and respect. When one dies, no matter how untimely, I do not weep in hysteria nor applaud them with exaggerated platitudes.
I will, however, salute them for a life well lived.