Friday, July 3, 2009

Michael and Elvis

Michael Jackson died a week ago. The circus that is his life and death has just gotten cranked up. Will it end? Maybe, in 50 years or so. First they have to get him buried, whenever and wherever that may be. It will be spectacular. Then there will be the lawsuits contesting his will and custody of the children. Everyone will want a slice of the pie that will be huge, if his estate is properly managed. At the time of his death he was millions in debt. Yet the music catalogs that he owned, including his own, will be worth billions in years to come. His estate will be making money into the unforeseeable future...maybe.

Of course no one knows for sure how he died. The LA police, as usual, have probably botched the initial investigation, something they usually do with celebrities (hmmmm.) so there may never be a definitive answer. That fact alone will lead to the rumors of his still being alive. There will be sightings, of course. He will be rumored to have moved to some far corner of the world to live his life in peace. After all, that rehearsal video shows him to be very much alive only a few days before his supposed death instead of frail and weak as some clam. Therefore, he must have surely faked his own death.

Then there are the impersonators. They will be numerous in the next few months, but over time only a few will survive to make a living off it. "See the world's greatest Michael Jackson Impersonator, tonite only, LIVE!" The tribute songs will follow, and millions will trek to whatever shrine is established as the ultimate monument to his memory. Neverland Ranch, maybe? For years they will go there to see the gloves that he wore, the hats and the costumes. They will get older, but they will still go, trying to relive their youth in memory of yet another screwed up celebrity, who could have lived so much longer.

Michael and Elvis. They will debate it for years to come. Who was the greatest? Which one has made the most money and had the most hits? Both were rock icons of their time and both had millions of dedicated fanatics. Elvis abused prescription drugs and it appears that Michael did as well. Both had enablers surrounding them, keeping them supplied with whatever they needed. Yes-men and women, who made their living keeping the star happy. Suddenly they were out of work. Both had personal physicians, who hovered nearby, supplying them with whatever they needed. They too, were suddenly out of a major source of income. Elvis' doctor, as I recall, was prosecuted. Michael's has hired a lawyer.

Personally, I do not get it. I shed no tears when Elvis died, nor have I shed tears over Michael. I did not know either of them personally. They were not close friends or family, therefore, I felt no great sorrow. Their deaths came and went. They both died at nearly the same age. Elvis was 49 as I recall. Michael was 50. Both died too young, but one could not have imagined either of them being 70 and trying to do what they did when they were 25. Both had super egos and probably could not have survived the downhill slide. Maybe an early death was their destiny.

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