30 June 2009

From the Death Pedestal to Philosophical Fear

In case you were out, the so-called king of pop died last Thursday. And, every day since we have been reminded that, indeed, he is still dead. No more dead than he was Thursday, certainly no less dead, but nevertheless, still dead enough. Then, I had the misfortune of tuning in CNN to get a brief of current events for work on Sunday morning only to be reminded by four, count them, four separate analysts that Jackson was dead. And (get this!), there was an autopsy. Someone died (died I tell you!) and those doctors had the audacity to try and figure out why. Finally, and I hope I read the news reports accurately, it seems that people are planning a funeral for the dead Michael Jackson.

Even this very morning it seems the only thing worthy of public consideration is that Jackson is still dead. Both CNN and MSNBC (The place for politics) are reporting this. If such thorough and reputable media organizations are reporting this, it must be true.

It seems my fears of the zombie apocalypse, at least in the case of Jackson, were, thankfully, unfounded.

In a close second and third recently, two more celebrity deaths. And fourth? That Farrah Fawcett's death was overshadowed by Jackson's.

I'm simply sick of this shit. Let's have a run down of things that actually are happening (other than the recapitulation of Jackson's death): The political situation in Iran dropped off the map as the state approached revolution. We are at war in two countries; though today marks the begining of the pull out in Iraq. The University of Illinois is under investigation for not only admitting unqualified (but well connected) students, but trading admission decisions for job placements (for underqualified candidates). As if two wars weren't enough, there is more war mongering begining to be directed at North Korea. Nevermind all the death and human suffering that never makes the news because we have become accustomed to it; that is, destitution, hunger and exploitation of the "low" classes in the US and around the world.

I think that this is becoming more than a short-sighted, anecdotal and momentary demonstration of priorities. This is an infectious and expanding attitude that will be detrimental to the social and physical state of the world. The continous expansion of celebrity obsession is more than a distraction, it is a deliberate state of ignorance. It is a conscious shrugging of the shoulders to those problems that are too depressing to be profitable. I will go as far as to say that the media storm surrounding the 2008 election, ironically, was a similar calculated means to set aside the mortal, sadistic, corrupt and depressing side of the human condition. I say that because the hoopla that peaked at the inauguration dropped off almost instantly as soon as Obama began facing the problems he campaigned about.

There are few things that I'm truly afraid of (in a philosohpical sense). One is my untimely death at the chaotic hands of an evangelical Christian children's army. Another, a new one, is the long-term effect that this new profit-hungry, mainstream, normative, omnipresent media machine is having. There will a come a point where profit will not be a strong enough forced to demand all our attention. I can only hope that the competing force, at that point, will not be self-preservation.

1 comment:

Bob Herman said...

For the past several days, these thoughts have been racing throughout my mind as well. It's amazing how much coverage Michael Jackson's death has received...but what about the other hundred thousand people in this country that are similarly dying every minute? And will there ever be a day when this country will take notice of the suffering in Africa?

It's so depressing to realize that we live in a world where the main motivation is making a buck. Whatever happened to giving a shit about people, at a basic level?

Good thoughts, Jonny. I already miss them.