The King of Pop giveth, and the King of Pop taketh away. In his last official act, Michael Jackson batted poor Farrah Fawcett straight back to page A8 but also gave South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford some breathing room at a time when it really came in handy. The guy (Sanford) has to be thanking his lucky stars. Those erotic e-mails might have echoed for days had not the King succumbed to all his bad choices at such a fortuitous time.
When a major celebrity dies, it’s bigger than World War II, at least for a day or two. The stars get realigned — literally, because there’s one less of them, and figuratively, because big stories have this way of becoming small when something bigger comes down the line. Who cares about Sanford any more? Who cares about Iran? We are talking Michael Jackson here, who has Touched Us All in ways we will still be discovering years from now. Personally, the coverage I’ve found most poignant is this piece about the time Michael Jackson inadvertantly dropped his sequined glove in the toilet. Hey, I’ve been there bro.
In the New York Times, there’s this story about Shock and Grief Around the World. The former president of South Korea summed it up best: “We lost a hero of the world.” A number of the memorials planned — including one here in Wichita — featured somber moonwalking. A stunned Paul McCartney, putting aside their petty differences over the Beatles catalog, called M.J. a “massively talented boy man.” Even the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who normally shuns publicity, found time to show up at the family home in Encino. But then, we are the world. Maybe it takes a moment like this to make us realize what’s truly important.