Michael Jackson and Celebrity

If you didn’t know already, yes, Michael Jackson has passed away at the age of 50.

Honestly, I don’t give him much thought in my day-to-day. I don’t listen to his music on a regular basis. The last time I enjoyed MJ, it was at Frank’s cousin’s house. We listened to his greatest hits as we drank wine and ate finger foods. It was fun. Nostalgic with a dash of creepiness thrown in, since Michael was such an oddity. Because of the “kid” accusations, the skin color changes, the plastic surgery…

When I heard the news of his death, I was sad, though. For the same reasons. Nostalgia, no doubt, peppered with a bit of compassion for the later years of his life. It definitely wasn’t what anyone would call normal. And back before exploiting your kids and family on reality TV became all the rage people kinda thought that MJ went a bit koo-koo because he reached high celebrity at such a young age.

Let that sink in, people. Especially those that have cameras follow them and their children around, branding their faces into the world’s brains.

Speculation on Michael’s family and their contribution to his quirkiness was evident. But come on. Kids and early celebrity/icon generally don’t mix well. Most of us can conjure up examples in our head of child-celebrity gone wrong and parents pimping their kids out while they enjoy the riches.

It is a sad trainwreck. As a culture we put people on pedestals for the wrong reasons, treating a celebrity as god because of how they make us feel or how they distract us, or how we envy them. It no longer requires talent to reach a state of godliness in this country. Celebrity, once somewhat reserved for the exceptional (athlete, musician, actor), is now handed out to those born into circumstance (money or otherwise). It is not enough to simply watch their movie, or listen to their music; we want to know where they buy their coffee, what’s their favorite spot on the couch, refrigerator contents and how the inside of their bathroom looks, including the closet.

Endless, the amount of media generated from the “entertainment” business. From magazines, to television shows, blogs… let’s face it, the celebrity in this country are like drugs — if they were eradicated, how many people would be out of a job? What would we do if we could not peer into the lives of others, dissecting it on a daily basis?