I feel bad that I don't really feel bad about Michael Jackson's death.
I don't mean to seem callous or unfeeling. I know he has three children, parents, lots of siblings, etc, along with millions of fans who are devastated at his death.
I'm just not one of them.
Don't get me wrong -- I totally get that whole John Donne thing: "â€¦do not send for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee."
And I also get that in many ways Michael Jackson was a tragic figure, spending his whole life, from the time he was five years old, surrounded by people who wanted nothing more than to make money from his talent.
And he was a talented guy. Just because I don't have a rack of Michael Jackson albums doesn't mean that I don't recognize that he was tremendously talented. If he had performed a duet with Kris Kristofferson or covered some Lynard Skynard songs, I might like his work better, but even so, he was a talented artist who will be missed.
So what's my problem? Well...our local National Guard troops are headed off to someplace unpleasant, again, and I think that deserves a banner headline in the New York Times. All around me I see people who run small businesses scratching and clawing trying to stay afloat, and the people I know who do have jobs are frantically concerned about keeping them. There are still starving babies in Africa. There's corruption, oppression, rebellions everywhere and the ice caps are melting. And as for those rich thugs who wrecked our economy, a few are headed for prison or the poorhouse, but most of them are right back in charge, weaseling out from under their responsibilities and figuring out new ways to make money by doing nothing.
The other problem I'm having is that when you live in a small place for a half century or so, you go to a lot of funerals and every one of them honors a person just as valuable, just as important as Michael Jackson. Yet there are no big headlines, announcements on CNN or nearly-crashed Internet as a result of their passing.
Right now, it's being reported that one of the contributing factors to Michael Jackson's death might be overmedication.
That truly is a pity, but I know folks who can't afford the medication they're supposed to take. I also know people who need to worry about overmedication, but it's because their bodies are wrecked just from the stress and strain of trying to earn a living; they need to keep popping painkillers so they can go to work in the morning. And, if they could afford to have a doctor live with them at their houses, almost every one of them would listen to the advice they'd been given.
It's a hard old world we live in, and I respect the people who are mourning the death of Michael Jackson. He was a gifted man who was used and abused by those around him, and his work brought a great deal of pleasure to millions. I'm not saying that he deserves less.
I'm saying that there are a lot of people in this world who deserve more.
Copyright 2009 Brent Olson