Thursday, June 25, 2009


I've always been pretty bad about death. I mean, I'm afraid of dying, sure. Like, really afraid. But whenever I hear about someone who dies, I'm always embarrassed about my matter-of-face treatment of the news. It's sad. It's tragic. And yet, I can never quite react in a fitting manner.

So Tuesday, I'm on set and someone in production tells me Ed McMahon died. I responded by saying, honestly, "I thought he was dead." I really was like 90% positive that had already happened.

Then this morning, a coworker turned around from her desk and told me Farrah Fawcett died. "Awww," I let out and then just kind of went back to typing an email. I saw (6 minutes of) her documentary on TV about her battle with cancer. It was really sad...but I don't know what I can do.

News of Michael Jackson's death broke out while I was at DQ with a coworker picking up a Reese's peanut butter cup blizzard. When we returned, totally unaware, several people at the office told us of the news at once. I made a face to indicate some level of distress, and then waited for what I thought seemed like an appropriate amount of time before shoving another spoonful of ice cream in my face.

When I got home today, I turned on MTV to watch 16 And Pregnant (because something is wrong me), and instead Sway was hosting a non stop Michael Jackson love fest with music videos and concert footage. I watched for a little while, and yeah it was kind of sad. But, here's the thing, and I'm sure I'm not the only person who has said this: the MJ we all know and love "died" a long long time ago. And since then we've been left with a zombie shell who does things that make everyone pretty freaking uncomfortable.

And when I was a kid I used to love him! So I think my sadness was used up a long time ago. But, I know a person died. I care.

And I don't know what this says about me, but today when I got home, I found that the basil plant I've been frantically nurturing for 2 weeks had shriveled up and died. I groaned and stared at it desperately for a little while. Indeed, I appear to have mourned a plant and not a person.

I'm sorry.


surviving myself said...

The thing that everyone forgets when mentioning how MJ did things that "made everyone uncomfortable" was that his childhood was completely fucked up. His father emotionally and physically abused him viscously. So while I'll never condone what he did (allegedly - he was never actually convicted of anything) I think it's wrong to condemn the guy (not that you were - I'm just rapping). He clearly had issues that were not dealt with properly, and that affected him throughout his life.

I honestly just feel bad for him. He suffered through abuse and had this crazy life, and now he's gone.

I'm not trying to be preachy, I just think people forget what he went through when they talk about him.

I was shocked because hes the first music I can remember really loving, and it's just weird to think that he's gone now.

And with all of that said - you should have got a Butterfinger Blizzard - they're the best.

Children of the Nineties said...

I agree with surviving myself. He was obviously very troubled and unhappy, and a lot of people fail to recognize that. Money and fame don't necessarily lead to happiness.

I will admit though that I'd been looking forward to 16 and pregnant, too. At least MTV played a few music videos in its place--they've pretty much retired that practice at this point.

Anonymous said...

i was never a fan of MJ, so i'm going to have to agree with you on this. i thought for sure everyone was going to be nostalgic about his music or his dance moves, but i've already gone through probably 5 or 6 posts saying how they didn't really understand why people were acting like MJ was their best friend and could do no evil.

yes, his childhood was fucked up, yes he had issues he obviously hadn't dealt with. it's not like he didn't have the resources. if anything, i just feel pity for the man. he was in the public spotlight for practically his whole life and never really had a chance to escape right from the beginning. i just can't seem to blame his entire childhood for who he was. those decisions were made and repercussions were following right behind.

someone else mentioned that they could only really think of him as a 6 year old trapped in a 50 year old's body (a la how south park portrayed him in an episode).

Hollywood Sucker said...

Surviving- You're right. I have always felt the same way, that it wasn't intentional. No one intentionally goes crazy, after all, so I meant that as a goes without saying factor. All I mean is that I've missed the real MJ for a long time.

Children- Well I didn't fail to recognize that. I just failed to type a paragraph about it, but I'm not going back now.

WeKeepSaying- Yes. I am not mad at him either. I'm not really anything. Perhaps I should have phrased this as "If he died in 1989 I would have been heartbroken."

Heather said...

I totally agree with you. It is kind of sad that an icon like that died, but like you said, that guy died years ago. I too would be more upset about a basil plant dying, so don't feel bad, it was something you had a personal attachment to.

A said...

It makes me feel more important when I think to myself, 'It was him or me.'

Anonymous said...

I totally get how you feel. Things in our day to day lives SHOULD be more important to us than celebrity deaths. I'm a little tired of flipping through channels and seeing MJ's face everywhere news and TV shows should be.

As far as his childhood....hrm...I know lots and lots of people with fucked up childhoods. Horrible, terrible tragic childhoods. As adults, they are still capable of making adult decisions. When they need help, they seek out that help. They don't buy a zoo, ya know?

But whatevs, it all fades away sooner or later. There will be sightings of him and people will claim he was abducted by aliens with Elvis, but all of this will die down soon.

In the meantime, I'm with you, it's time for some ice cream and some trashy reality MTV.

Phil said...

I was at lunch with a friend when she got a call with the news, and the second she repeated it, the lady at the table behind us starting crying hysterically and then started calling her mother and all her friends.

I'm completely with you feeling like the Michael Jackson I love and remember died long ago, and my own sense of mourning has long since passed. Of course, I've been listening to MJ and watching my favorite videos on YouTube still.

Anonymous said...

Back when Jackson was merely a semi-eccentric star, Sega created a video game property for him, named Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (actually separate games for the arcade and Sega Genesis/Master System consoles). Moonwalker was notable for being an early example of real-life celebrities appearing in video games, and for using digitized versions of some of Jacko's songs.

The game is also unintentionally ironic because Jackson is tasked with rescuing helpless children from a crime boss named Mr. Big (although in hindsight, perhaps it was Mr. Big who was doing the rescuing).

devin said...

Michael Jackson was a child molester, he hasn't made good music in decades, and he's a child molester. Good riddance.