Monday, July 6, 2009

Enough Already!

I am sorry that Michael Jackson died. I am sorry that he was troubled enough to bring rumors and speculation about his life and habits into the public realm. I’m sorry that his troubles may have resulted from the enslavement of his forbearers by some of mine, but enough already. I will be grateful when all of the memorials and funerals are over and hopefully Mr. Jackson is allowed to rest in peace.

Although Michael Jackson’s music undoubtedly was the soundtrack of many Gen-Xers childhoods he did not find a cure for cancer, end hunger or achieve world peace. He was not a saint, far from it. Why is the American public deifying this troubled man? I will be happy to be able to shop without the many faces—especially the creepy ones—of Michael Jackson lining the check-out counter.

To the Gen-Xers I would say, take a look at your grandparents if you are lucky enough to still have them. The Greatest Generation, a generation who saved the world, are rapidly passing into history and what they did to ensure your freedom and build a great nation was of far more value than any musical achievement Mr. Jackson attained. Sit down with Grandma and Grandpa and listen to their stories of separation and heroism, of sacrifice and hard work. Your children will be studying the achievements of the everyday men and women who were raised in the Depression and fought fascism and tyranny. Mr. Jackson won’t get a mention in a history textbook. That’s the view from my broom.


Grandma L said...

I agree 100 percent. I am so tired of it all.

Kim Thompson said...

I too am a little worn thin with all the coverage (I simply think that there's not much more to say).

And I do understand your point about those real heroes.

However, I am a gen X'er and I want to add something.

I like some of MJ's music. I liked the his dancing better (that's the appeal to his music to me). However, I think MJ went beyond the music and dissolved into a deeply and frighteningly troubled person.

And while I see your point, I think it's important not to just single out Gen X. In the coverage I've seen, folks of many different ages (from children to those in their 80's) from many parts of the world idolized this man. In fact, some of Jackson's inner circle seem to reflect this (e.g his friendships with Liza Minelli, Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross, and the late Marlon Brando to some very young hip/hop and rap artists and other performers barely in their 20's).

So, really, I think it's a good time to reflect and celebrate the real, everyday heroes in our lives that contribute to the overall good to our community. And perhaps for some, it's another opportunity to reflect on how precious life is and to make good decisions to keep that life going.

Stephanie Frieze said...

It is a commentary on our society that we idolize entertainers--and there's no denying that he was a talented entertainer--and do not seem to have the same reverence for our educators, philosphers, innovators and leaders who have a more concrete impact on our lives. Bill Gates has done far more good in the world and I doubt his passing would garner as much attention.

Stephanie Frieze said...

Kim, I take nothing away from Michael Jackson's talent. I enjoyed him when he was young--before he got and began to look crazy. When my children were little and he was drug free I was thrilled that they had him for a role model. In the end I wouldn't have allowed him to care for my dog.

It is the notion that we make "rock gods" of these people and largely ignor those who have had a more tangible impact on society and our lives.

doug said...

I guess with age comes perspective. I'm in total agreement with you, Stephanie. As my 94 year-old mother said "my television has been getting a rest recently". It seems that you couldn't turn around without live coverage from Neverland, interviews with family, lawyers, celebrities, etc. How can we instill perspective in the younger generation? Can we teach them critical thinking? They are indoctrinated and bombarded with this celebrity worship. Their lives seem to revolve around "American Idol",

Stephanie Frieze said...

There's another thing this cranky old lady doesn't get! I'd rather read a book or watch Jon Stewart.