I thank my lucky stars everyday that my family and I were overseas from mid-June through mid-July. We went to Italy. It was wonderful and we had a great time and our family felt better again since Kim and I had been working 60+ hour weeks.
In the town of Loro Ciufenna that we were staying there was a newsstand that sold, on each Sunday, one copy of the International Herald Tribune. The IHT is the European version of the New York Times, but from a decidedly Euro-centric viewpoint, but you still have to put up with Paul Krugman and Roger Cohen. So the first time we bought the IHT (for 2 Euro) and splashed across the front page was a story about Michael Jackson, sort of a career retrospective and how it mentioned that he had planned to tour in the fall. Only after 10 or so paragraphs did it mention that he was dead.
Wow. Michael Jackson was dead? I called my mother and asked her when it had happened and was told that it was a few days after we had left the States, which made me happy to be in Italy, because it meant that I didn’t have to live through all of the crap that was going on in the States about how, oh my God, he’s dead! What happened? What will we do without this lovable eccentric genius who died before his time? Let’s all run out right this freaking second and buy everything that we can that has Michael Jackson’s voice or picture or essence on it!
Supposedly Michael Jackson’s estate has earned over $100 million since his death. And yes, I feel for his children, whom I’m sure loved their father, even though he nicknamed one of them Blanket. And I’m sure that his family was sad when he died, but I hope there is some remorse they feel cashing checks for everything from their shares of his estate to the new reality series that is going to be broadcast with most of the Jacksons in it. I’m probably being pessimistic, given what human nature is really like, of course.
I think that the thing that gets me the most about this Michael love is that everyone seems to have forgotten how completely freaky this person they are worshiping was. All of these “Thriller” dance things and “Thriller” on Party City television ads and Neverland Ranch and the child-sex thing – what the – ? This person, only a few years ago, was considered a freak of nature, a possible child rapist and understandably distrusted by many people. Is the new love the product of a remarkable PR campaign? It’s definitely possible. Who knows.
And why do I care? Part of the “Thriller” thing is, I’m sure, a long-lost love of an ephemeral, imagined 1980’s and a simpler time. Do people feel lonely for this? Should I care at all?
Give it a little while. It will go away.