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New mommy. Southern. Conservative. Sorority woman. Army wife. Avid reader.

09 July 2009

Musings on recent celebrity deaths

Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009. Earlier that day, Farrah Fawcett lost her battle with cancer. Of course, Jackson's sudden death has completely overshadowed Fawcett's death. I wonder if her family is thankful for the reprieve from the media or if it hurts them to see that Farrah's life and death are not being discussed. I was saddened by the loss of the cancer battle, even though I have never been a fan of Farrah Fawcett. There was recently a documentary covering the last two years of her battle. It was moving and heart breaking. Perhaps that is why there was a sudden outpouring of grief over her death. I feel so badly for Ryan O'Neal, their son and her poor father who has lost his wife and both daughters.

Jackson's death came as a surprise. He was only 50 years old and had not been ill. Well, he had not been critically ill. I was a huge Jackson fan when I was a child (back in the Thriller and Beat It days) and I did enjoy his music through middle school/early high school (Man in the Mirror and Black and White days). As time went on, his persona became much more troubled and bizarre. The allegations of child molestation and the controversy surrounding the parentage of his children, his plastic surgery, etc. really darkened the reputation of a once dynamic entertainer. The news has been innundated with Jackson coverage. Politicians have spoken out about it. The world seems to be in mourning over the man that the world kicked while he was down for the last 15 years. 

His star-studded memorial service was yesterday. I really did not think I would have any emotions about it and certainly did not think I would cry. I also thought that it would probably be a fiasco and circus atmosphere. I was wrong on all counts. The Jackson family was able to pull off a reverent, dignified service. There were many guest speakers and performances and approximately 15K fans who were chosen in the ticket lottery. I was most moved by seeing photos of a young Jackson on the screen. He was such a cute child with the world before him. He seemed so carefree and innocent. It is terrible to think of how that child's life turned out. Of course he was massively successful and enjoyed the perks of his success, but he was constantly torn down by the world and even his family. I wonder if the trade off was worth it?

Thoughts on the service itself....
*Mariah Carey and some guy I do not know sang "I'll Be There". Granted it was a pretty terrible performance by Carey, it was still a great song to start off with, especially with accompanying the pictures of a young Jackson.
*The handfuls of cheering, whistling and yelling fans was highly annoying. I understand that this was not your average funeral, but it was not your average "concert" either. Show some respect folks.
*I was very surprised to see that the casket was present.
*I was also surprised to see that Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross and Quincy Jones were not in attendance. Was Lisa Marie Presley? MacCauley Culkin?
*I found it incredibly fitting and touching that the Jackson brothers, also the pallbearers, wore a single sequined glove with their suits and sunglasses.
*His children. Wow. His daughter is gorgeous and they all seem so...normal. The youngest actually looks like him a little. The gum chomping, especially by the oldest, got old quick.
*Is Joe Jackson milking all of this? I question Jermaine a little, too.
*Queen Latifah spoke. The most moving part of her speech was when she read a poem that Maya Angelou had sent. "Sing our songs among the stars, and walk our dances across the face of the moon. In the instant we learned that Michael was gone, we know nothing... with the abrupt absence of our treasure, though we are many, each of us is achingly alone, piercingly alone. Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us, and we did have him."
*Lionel Richie, Berry Gordy, Stevie Wonder....compilation of Jackson singing and dancing....Jennifer Hudson
*Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson....not really sure what Kobe's purpose was....Johnson told a funny story about eating KFC with Jackson. It was a sweet memory he shared.
*Oh good God, Al Sharpton. I just want to punch him. Why is he here? He is NOT relevant. Of course, he turned into something political, mentioned Obama twice and acted like Jackson was solely responsible for the Civil Right Movement. Just.Shut.Up. The only part I cared for was when he told Jackson's children, "There was nothing strange about your Daddy. It was strange what your Daddy had to go through."
*John Mayer (looking quite nice) played an instrumental version of Human Nature and started the emotions stirring.
*Brooke Shields started the tears for me. She spoke of her personal friendship with Jackson, both the touching and funny times. She cried while speaking and seems to be the first person to show any real emotion.
*Jermaine sang "Smile" from a Charlie Chaplain film and it was a touching tribute.
*MLK Jr.'s children spoke and some random state representative spoke....I kind of lump them into the Sharpton category - unnecessary.
*Usher brought things back to an emotional point while singing "Gone Too Soon". He choked up at the end and was embraced by the Jackson family. I'm not entirely sure when he became so close to the Jackson family, but it was moving nonetheless.
*Then we have some random moments by a British kid singing and some people I don't know singing We Are The World. They are soon joined by all of the performers from the day and the Jackson family. It was very cool to see that his children knew the words. 
*Jermaine says a few words, thanks people for showing. Janet looks devastated. Some of the brothers whose names I cannot match to faces look devastated. Jermaine keeps smiling. Marlon spoke, but could barely get the words through his tears. He made me cry. Then Paris Jackson made me bawl by saying that ever since she was born, "Daddy was the best father you could ever imagine". Good Lord. Ugly cry going on. That put into perspective what kind of loss this was for his family.

In addition to these deaths, Karl Mauldin, Ed McMahon and Billy Mays died within days of Fawcett and Jackson. I kept waiting to hear that Patrick Swayze lost his battle with cancer, as well. What I did end up hearing came as a complete shock.

I had just gotten off my weekly conversation with the boy (he's deployed) and was cloud nine when I noticed two or three Facebook updates referring to the death of Steve McNair. Do what?! I Google it and cannot find anything, so I am sure this must be a hoax. I keep refreshing Facebook and the updates continue. I can find people on Twitter discussing it. But no news? Finally, Channel 5 reports that Steve McNair was murdered. I'm floored. As the hour continues, I learn that he was shot in the head in a possible murder-suicide. Nashville pretty much came to a stop on this July 4th. He was found dead that morning in a condo on 2nd Avenue. The news finally came to a head today confirming that he had been shot 4 times - twice in the head, twice in the chest - while he was asleep. His girlfriend killed him, then killed herself. He was 36 years old and left behind four sons and yes, a wife. His character is certainly going through the ringer since he was still married and was with this girl for the last six months. I can't imagine what his family is going through. But does having an affair somehow make it okay that he was murdered? Of course not! I am stunned to read people say that he deserved it or that he shouldn't receive any sympathy because of the circumstances around his death. HE IS STILL THE VICTIM OF A MURDER. If it had been the other way around and the female was the one murdered, it would be another story. We do not know the state of the McNair marriage. No one knows what happens in another person's marriage and who are we to judge their domestic situation? It does not excuse this young woman from the crime of taking a life. I am hoping to attend McNair's memorial tomorrow. #9 will always be our quarterback.


foodbookslife said...

I completely missed the funeral because we were traveling, but I feel like I got a good recap from you:)

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I love you days said...

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