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Over the past 48 hours three entertainment icons have died. The "big C" (cancer)played a major role in, or was the cause of, death in two icons [Ed McMahon (The Tonight Show), Farrah Fawsett (Charlie's Angels)]. As a so-far cancer survivor myself, I, and many others, refer to cancer as the fear-filled verdict, "big C."
But this post is not about cancer.
The third person, who somewhat unexpectedly died, was the world King of Pop, Michael Jackson, also called "Jacko" [Thriller]to the British. Some will argue he superseded Elvis Presley as the musical star who defined and changed popular music and entertainment. Jackson's Thriller, is the bestselling album of all time (to date).
Nor is this post a tribute to Michael Jackson vs. Ed McMahon or Farrah Fawsett.
This post my perception of how the U.S. media and citizens' response to Jackson's death is perceived by our global community.
Yesterday about 5:30 p.m. I left the house for a city council meeting. The news channels had just broke the news of Jackson's cardiac collapse into unconsciousness and transport to a hospital.
As the council arrived after me, the informal conversation, including myself, evolved around the news of Jackson's death.
After the council meeting I returned home and reflected how our council reaction was a microcosm of the U.S. and, to some extent international, media's response. The purpose for which we were to assemble was momentarily suspended for our immediate reaction to untimely death of Jackson.
Every broadcast and cable news channel had canceled their normal programming to covering the unexpected death of Jackson, from speculation of "real" cause of death to his personal debt, controversial life style, impunity of his troubling legal cases, and his defining music.
The deaths of McMahon and Fawsett were shelved, cryptically mentioned as a footnotes to broadcasts.
Fawsett had documented her cancer battle in video, photos and interviews. Although controversial, she considered it her contribution to the subject of "Big C". I have seen clips of this footage; as a cancer survivor of 14 years, it is exceptionally difficult to watch.
However, I wonder how our adulation of a "pop" entertainment icon and blanket media focus is perceived by Iranians dying in the streets for freedom of expression, or starving millions in many countries like Zimbabwe, or tyrannical suppression in countries like Sudan which takes from the impoverished and gives to the oppressive governing powers.
If you every lived in a third world country, as I have, you would realize how the U.S. is perceived immoral, overtly wealthy, ungodly, status seeking and status worshipping, evil country to be scorned by cultures with differing ideologies.
Envy may play a part in this perception, but sit back and try to see this event unfold through the eyes of persons totally unacquainted with western culture, particularly US culture. As this adulation is played out over the next few days, try to see this media blanket coverage, which has superseded military casualties in two wars, death on the streets of cities in Iran, daily deaths attributed to chronic malnutrition and starvation and oppression on nearly every continent, through the eyes of our global community.
In my advanced years I have few heroes, because the pedestals of too many of my "heroes" were made of clay. If I have "heroes", they are the everyday people, who toil anonymously to live and work responsibly, dwelling among us without acclaim or identity; their only "acclaim to fame" is their obituaries: neighbors, husbands and wives, teachers, laborers, clerks. retirees, and children.
Please allow me to acknowledge these three deaths as I would any one's death. Death is a common denominator which equalizes us all.
" Thriller" (You Tube Video)