(A bit of a rant – I’m sorry!)
It’s been three days since Michael Jackson died, and the outpouring of grief is….. well, at the risk of giving offence, it’s farcical. All the plaudits and accolades being laid at his feet by those in the public eye are somewhat at odds with crackpot image the same pundits were painting not so long ago. People are rushing out to buy his records. You can’t hear anything but Jacko on the radio, and children who have never heard of him are changing their Facebook status to join the lemming-like rush.
It was the same when Princess Diana died. Up until the moment she croaked, the media would have us believe she was a self-centred absentee mother getting rich on a gravy train. A sudden death and she became a “candle in the wind”.
Or Jade Goody? There was no one who attracted moiré ridicule, until it was announced she was on the way out. Then we all loved her.
My personal “favourite” example of the treatment of celebrity is the furore over Susan Boyle’s recent spell in a clinic for exhaustion. Following the revelation that she was finding it difficult to cope with fame, and this was possibly due to some learning difficulties, the reaction of the media was that surely any wannbe-celebs should be vetted to check that they are up to having ridicule thrown at them before embarking on such a career.
What is it with celebrities? Why do we as a society seek to undermine those in the public eye, and then sob uncontrollably once they are gone? Perhaps it’s part of the general aversion people seem to have to death. It always is billed as a great surprise that someone can be mortal as well as famous. Why? Surely it’s the one thing we can be sure of in this world? Just because someone’s famous doesn’t mean they are going to live forever….