The first public death that affected me was Kurt Cobain, when I was 13. I cried for days, Then I was unaffected, an affectation where I was consumed in teenaged angst where nothing bothered me and nothing was considered by me unless it was my own selfish little bubble, who I loved, who didn't love me back, where I was going, why I wasn't there yet.
And now I think with last year's death of Heath Ledger, I felt oddly strange, upset, for a man I did not know, whose apartment I passed daily and did not realize, who if I saw while alive, would not care. And this week, there was Ed McMahon, who while important was old, Farrah Fawcett, who was the same to me, some abstract creature that did not relate to me in any way, I knew she meant something, I just didn't know to whom. I knew her death was sad, but for me, for cancer, there is time to reflect.
Michael Jackson, a man I grew up watching descend, his brilliance matched only by the swiftness in which he fell--much of it perhaps in his own creation, he was the first of us to overshare to nearly blog when there was no reason to blog, he was the first celebrity I knew of to melt down over and over, and why I knew this I cannot say. At the time I was too young for even grunge, even though I thought I was just old enough really, and I didn't care to understand disco, and thought pop was garbage (though grunge WAS pop, I see that now). I wasn't even a year old when Thriller came out, my mother told me that when I did, it terrified me, and again, far before anything else I mourned, I cried for him then, because I thought he was coming to kill me. The video, long-since considered a masterpiece, gave me nightmares, I hear. I saw it later, saw something which was mystifying and amazing and only scary in its complete awesomeness, but by the time I saw it--and saw that in him--he was not that man any more.
He was something else, a fabulous disaster to us, the grabbing masses, something that they called Sid Vicious thirty years ago when he self-destructed, and now I can't help but feel in impenetrable sadness as I watch hours of videos of imitators and news coverage feeling like this man, this poor man, was a joke to us in his twilight years. Today, at least we remember him well. I must be getting old or things are just different in the world, but now I see death and it comes very often, perhaps more than anything else.
Tonight I'm saying WTF. This is horribly sad to me, and I do know why, because it is death, and he was a man who must have felt an inordinate amount of pain for the past fifteen years, and part of me wonders why he couldn't have died before he was tarnished, as awful as that seems, because today we care about him more than we had for decades. Today we remember him more fondly, there are no Walmart boys' pants half off jokes, today we remember his genius, and we should have, we should have before.
And yet. If he did what he did...who can say. The man is dead and I for one, hope he can finally rest in peace.