I am not one for following celebrities. I find the scene irritating and shallow. Not to mention fickle. Today’s darlings are tomorrow’s sources of mockery. Elevated or torn to shreds by tabloid one-liners. Airbrush or not to airbrush? Depends on whether people love to love them or love to hate them. And somehow, we think we know them, and have the right to pass judgment on them.
This morning I caught some of a video history of Michael Jackson on Rage. It was a walk through his catapult to fame. The collection of clips marked the sad transition from a charming energetic little boy to reedy slick-moving teen, to eighties pop icon, culminating with a slow diminishing of the man himself. One of the clips stood out to me – “Leave me alone“. An old song, but I have never heard it or seen it before. The clip is startling because it features all the nasty headlines, innuendos, aspects of him that have been regularly mocked. Throughout the clip it seems he pleads “leave me alone”. It saddened me.
He is now dead. And still not left alone, as jokes, media etc pick over the bones to see what will sell another magazine. He certainly had issues. But how can we separate that from falling into the hands of the cult of celebrity, our need to create and elevate others to superhuman proportions. When they can’t handle it, we tear them down. The results can be catastrophic.
I would not have liked to walk in his shoes.