Friday, June 26, 2009

Well, that was weird.

Dude. Michael Jackson died. He friggin' died. And right before he was about to go on a 50-event tour, too. Dang.

I feel like this was probably the weirdest and most shocking celebrity death that could have happened. Mostly because he's had so much plastic surgery and been on so many drugs that I intrinsically assumed he would magically last forever. Sort of like Keith Richards. He's one of those celebs that you can just picture living forever on the fringe and outliving even the cockroaches. I mean no disrespect; he just seemed well preserved.

This whole thing made me come to several realizations, however, most of which pertain to technology. First observation, it's sort of sad when TMZ is your fastest and most accurate news reporting source. They knew what went down WAY before the real news stations even bothered to collect details. It was hours and hours. Perhaps it's because the methodology TMZ uses to collect their news is so disgusting that there's no way it isn't true. They're like the town gossip, who you don't really like, but when they do speak up about an event it tends to be right on. CNN drug its heels and eventually got up to speed. But you have to wonder how this sort of pecking order will continue to mold the news industry. In the days of twitter and camera phones and facebook, news just isn't that hard to transmit to others. TMZ has way more weapons in its arsenal than legit reporting stations who have their so-called hoops to jump through first. And while I appreciate a news source that bothers to confirm details BEFORE broadcasting, there's something to be said about breaking a story.

The second technology-based observation is how our age of technology has transformed what people perceive as real relationships. When I got home from the bar last night, I decided to get on facebook. Well lo and behold, nearly every facebook status in my news feed was either "Michael Jackson R.I.P." or "you will be missed" or "omg my life is over bc MJ died." I'm sorry, but are people forgetting that most everyone pretty much hated this man at the end? Let's not pretend to be all buddy buddy now. If he had died in the 80s at the height of his career, then ok, fine, post your tidbits about how your life has lost meaning. But don't act like you are rocked to the core because of this shocking blow. Shocking, yes. Life altering, no. Reminder: you were not Michael Jackson's friend (excluding all you MJ die hard fans out there). The obsession with celebrities never ceases to surprise me, especially how attached people can get to them and how they begin to feel like they genuinely know them.

As far as I'm concerned, the real Michael Jackson died a long time ago... right around the time he officially made the race change to become a new person. The only remembrance we've had of his old and true self since the new millennium is his older albums. I love Michael Jackson's music as much as the next person, but let's leave fanaticism at the door and simply be appreciative of a good artist. Which most of the bars did because pretty much no matter where you went in Ann Arbor last night, the venues were hopping with MJ's hits. I heard Thriller three times at Babs Underground. (Side note: I did NOT hear Dirty Diana, which happens to be a personal favorite.. and I was quite angry.)

The only thing that could possibly result from all of this that might legitimately effect everyone is that (and I'd bet quite a bit of money on this) a record label will now re-release some sort of greatest hits album. Or perhaps we'll now be offered some never-before-heard tracks that hit the cutting room floor. Sort of like what happened with 2Pac.

On a related note, how much does it stink to be Farrah Fawcett? I mean, the one thing celebrities always have in common is that when they die, they become immortalized and have a day dedicated to remembering their careers and whatnot. This was Fawcett's chance to be remembered and to earn a tiny shrivel of "oh yeah. I remember her. She totally rocked." Instead, her fame and glory was completely overshadowed by the MJ stuff. Too bad...

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