Monday, July 13, 2009

Speaking ill

I plucked an old Newsweek off of my to-read pile and flipped through the pages. My parents had saved the March 16, 2009, issue because I wanted to see some famous conservative's slam on Rush Limbaugh. With that article out of the way, I perused further, read a piece on the Octomom, and ... hey, look at this ...

On page 61 was a picture of Michael Jackson followed by a few sentences on his tour announcement.
It was short. It was confusing. All in all, it was Jacko. During a chaotic London press conference crammed with nutso fans, the king of pop (isn't he more like a duke now?) announced his plan to attract some "on purpose" attention: a 10-concert run at London's O2 Stadium this summer.
Ah, yes. There was a time, not so long ago, when Michael Jackson's name evoked something other than fond memories, indignant commentaries about his abusive childhood, and general wistfulness.

So what? you may ask. I don't know what. That people become abruptly reverential upon someone's death is hardly a new or startling insight. It's not like I don't participate in this kind of hypocrisy myself. I can't put my finger on why the disconnect bugged me.

But I wonder what the world would be like if everyone treated the living with the same compassion and reverence we reserve for the dead. What if we tried to do this just for one day?

I'm not sure people could hold out on the snark for even that long. I know I'd find it hard.

Be an interesting experiment, though.

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