Like the light of a meteor streaking across the crisp, cold, clear sky of a winter’s night, Michael Jackson streaked across the sky defining this country’s cultural horizons. None of us coming of age in urban America will forget Michael’s debut onto the public stage with his brothers as part of the phenomenally successfulJackson 5. Hit after hit, “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” “The Love You Save,” “I’ll Be There,” rocketed up the Billboard Charts to number one. I can still reel them all off from memory some forty years later. For better or worse, they are indelibly etched into my mind, and have played a part in defining my soul.
Shock Dead, Everybody's Gone Mad: Reflections on the Death of Michael Jackson by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf:
In the manner of Elvis or the Beatles, Michael is unwittingly both a cause and a symptom of America’s national obsession with celebrity, currently on display in the American Idol mania. Celebrity trumps catastrophe every time. Far too few of us make any attempt to understand why jobs are drying up, why mortgages are collapsing, why we spend half-a-trillion dollars to service the interest on the national debt, why our government’s administration, despite being elected on an anti-war platform, is still committed to two unnecessary and unjust wars waged by the earlier administration, wars that continue to involve civilians casualties on an almost daily basis. Instead, we drown in trivia, especially trivia related to celebrity. And the response to Michael’s death is part of the trivial pursuits of American popular culture. The real news about death in America is that twenty Iraq and Afghan war veterans are committing suicide every day. But that does not make the front page nor is it discussed as seriously as the King of Pop’s cardiac arrest.