Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fly To The Angels

Today is a date that will doubtlessly show up as a trivia question in the years to come because today two pop culture icons passed away. Both performers reached heady peaks in show business that only a rare few know. Both performers had a strong effect on our culture, affecting the way millions danced, dressed, wore their hair or defined themselves in their image. Both performers exhibited unusual behavior in the later half of their careers that at the least left people scratching their heads wondering what their idols were thinking. Today Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, and Farrah Fawcett, the 70's California dream girl, passed away.

Michael Jackson's death has been all over the tv nonstop and it is really shocking news. My wife heard the news on the radio while she was driving home on the freeway. What she describes sounds like a M. Night Shayamalan movie, everything moved in slow motion and she could see the other drivers shock, stunned expressions with both hands to their face, people screaming, people crying. All of the cars slowed down as people let go of the wheel and gas pedal. My wife later called me and let me know of what happened.

For me, the death of Michael Jackson represents the passing of a childhood hero. As a boy I pretty much wanted to be Michael Jackson, to be able to sing and dance as the star of the Jackson 5. At family gatherings I would grab my plastic guitar and dance around (really more hyper flailing than anything else) and call it "Michael Jackson time". As I got older I lost interest in Jackson though I still liked his music generally. Even in that capacity his music was so ubiquitous that "Beat It", "Billie Jean", "Thriller", "Bad", "Man In The Mirror", "Remember The Time" and "Jam" became part of the soundtrack to my life. Though I was more cynical about the Gloved One in my adulthood, now really isn't the time to be critical. Because what may be the last musician of our time to unify not just people of different backgrounds nationally but world wide, is gone.

And Jackson's death has in the media overshadowed the passing of Farrah Fawcett. Fawcett was the image of all American beauty in the late 70's. She had the blue eyes, white teeth, toned body, high cheekbones and the famous feathered blond hair that guys loved and girls wanted . She became a star on the tv show Charlie's Angels and was the poster girl pin up on many guys bedroom walls. And while I was too young to really "get" her sex appeal at the time, I understood that Fawcett was pretty and revered for her beauty. I did like watching Charlie's Angels and would stay up late to watch (it was on after my bed time) when I could get away with it because I liked action shows. And I liked that she was in a sci fi movie called Saturn 3, though I was too young to see it. Plus she was married to the Six Million Dollar Man! Well, as a young boy that's about as exciting as a girl can get. In the 80's she became a serious actress and I was impressed with her performances in Extremities and The Burning Bed. To me, she was the girl who seemed accessible to everyone yet still had some mystery to her.

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