Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Celebrity fascination...even in death

I have to admit that I've been fascinated the past week or so, not so much with the deaths of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett, but with public and media reaction to them.

Obviously these are two iconic figures in popular culture, Jackson for his contributions to the music world, and Farrah, well, for her beauty as much as for her acting skills. But the amount of attention devoted to both pretty much astounds me.

Maybe that's because I've never really been any kind of a it music, sports, TV or anything else. Don't get me wrong. I truly love baseball. I watch my Florida Marlins whenever I get the chance. I try to make it to at least one spring training game. I love tennis...especially Rafael Nadal. And I am absolutely crazy about a whole host of country music singers.

A few years back I was fascinated when a customer at my store who was visiting from Paris told me her daughter had played with Nadal in a pro-am charity event prior to the French Open. I practically grilled the girl, who was maybe 12. She looked at me curiously and inquired, "Aren't you married?" As if that would have anything to do with me being slightly ga-ga over the talented tennis pro. Still, I don't rush off to get a glimpse of him, even when he's playing right in my own backyard (so to speak) on Key Biscayne.

And though I am a huge fan of Trace Adkins, who has the ultimate bad boy glint in his eyes when he sings, I can't seem to muster up the energy to cross the river to see him when he performs this weekend in Maryland. I'm content to watch the videos on CMT and buy his CDs. Though if he did happen to cross the bridge in my direction, I can't swear that my reaction would be this nonchalant.

Obviously that's just me, because millions of people have poured to Encino, CA, to the Apollo Theater in New York and elsewhere to honor Michael Jackson. People have been glued to their TVs, grabbing up CDs and other memorabilia, all to somehow be a part of the mourning of the legend's passing.

The media has spent countless hours providing the very intimate details of his death, as well as Farrah's. Do we really need to know all this? Do we care that deeply? Or is this some other phenomenon, proof that even the most celebrated are mortal?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Just click on comments here or send me an email at


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