A Funeral Spectacle
July 8, 2009
Now, can we get back to the important stuff?
I mean, after all, we have completed the spectacle of an all day long mourning orgy with attendance tickets reportedly selling for as much as $25,000.
First of all, in spite of what some of my conservative brethren may think of me, I must say I bore no ill will for Michael Jackson. Quite frankly, with the exception of that long, cumbersome trial, I really never paid that much attention to the talented and gifted, but tortured performer.
As I have said in a previous column, since he is dead now, can we blame him for the grotesque tableau we witnessed yesterday on television? First it was the hearse, followed by the limousines driving for what seemed like an eternity to the Staples Center where the casket containing the remains (and I mean remains) of Michael Jackson was placed center of the stage.
No matter who spoke, no matter what they said, I’m told all eyes either remained fixed on the coffin or darted back to it just in case the great Michael might outdo the great magician, Harry Houdini. I can no longer disparage the celebrity obsessed American public, because we have learned our European cousins are just as fixated on the orgiastic ceremony as we are.
When the final figures are tabulated, we may learn that the number of people all around the world was greater even than those who gaped at the sad farewell given to Princess Diana in the late summer of l997.
And I ask myself why should I be so critical? It is because a part of me wishes people were so focused on the existential issues facing humanity that we would have no time or interest in the death and burial of an entertainer. Ah, but what is life to so many people but a struggle, a time of being taunted by the fears and vicissitudes of their lives?
So, if they can gain some satisfaction out of a vicarious achievement, then what harm is there? Perhaps it is somehow therapeutic for so many people to experience the angst of losing a talented star. Perhaps way down deep many of them think, “What good did all his money do him?”
Jackson was truly a tortured creature who must have disdained himself so much he kept going to plastic surgeons in the day and to dispensers of anti-depressants, painkillers, and overpowering soporifics at night.
Maybe the message might be, “Hey, look at me . . . I can spend a half a billion dollars on my home in California, and create the most garish, expensive wardrobe ever seen, even if it does look as though I might have copied it from the House of Romanov or any of the royal families who lived in the late 19th century.”
You see, wealth, fame, celebrity, and, yes, even being acquitted in a court of law does not make us immune to the demons within us.
And so, thank you, Michael Jackson, for this diversion from the sickening, haughty visage of Barack Obama as he proves once again we made a terrible mistake on November 4th, 2008.
Thank you, Michael, for this respite from the catastrophic damage which is being done to our economy and to our Constitution. We watched you die, but that is nowhere as painful as watching our once great republic disappear!