Vicarious Humanity

My Microsoft thesaurus came up with, “explicit, shocking, sensational, vivid and juicy” as alternative terms for vicarious, but although it does often imply many of those things, I prefer the more traditional definition of “living life through someone else’s experience”. That’s certainly my meaning here…

However, all of those alternative expressions could apply to Michael Jackson in his life – and even in death. But the reaction of the public does in many ways also amount to millions upon millions of people across the world living vicariously (the way I mean it).

He was undoubtedly a very talented musician and a consummate showman, but I don’t understand all the morbid, feverish desire to grab at every lurid detail about his life and death. Do we ordinary folk live such empty lives as that? Do we have so little in our own lives that matters to us that we have to soak up every scrap of sensatonal information about an entertainer. Albeit, he was superbly skilled and very famous, but he was simply an entertainer none the less? The world would surely have been a duller place without him, but it would not have been significantly diminished without his existence.

The same might also be said of Farrah Fawcett who died on the same day, yet, by comparison, her death passed relatively unnoticed by much of the world. I see that as a real shame for, apart from the fact that she was a very talented actress (and a very courageous woman too), it is also true that she enlivened the fantasies of a very large number of men around the globe in the 1970s (including mine). I know which I think is the most important; which I value the most – watching Michael Jackson on TV spending more on a couple of hours shopping than I earned in several years, or drooling over what a stunningly beautiful, bright, sexy woman like Farrah managed to make me feel about life and love and most things in between. But then I would say that, wouldn’t I?

So, what is this preoccupation so many of us have with other people’s lives; with stardom; with celebrity? Does it really have intrinsic value of some kind, or have we perhaps been sold all this by the star-makers, the spin-doctors of celebrity? If so, are we therefore just the victims of some giant, Machiavellian marketing machine that seeks mainly to take our minds off of reality and the disgraceful behaviour of those with whom we entrust our welfare? Perhaps it’s even simpler than that and is nothing more than hype worked up to fever pitch in order to create huge wealth for those that manipulate it. If that’s so, then maybe we only have ourselves to blame and so many of us have been just plain gullible?

As with so much in life, I seem to be able see the questions … but answers? Ah well, now… That’s a different matter all together.

 

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4 Responses to “Vicarious Humanity”

  1. Michael Jackson left the world with a huge load of joy that only he could have created. A true legend.

    We saw him shopping once, and he bought a Green Goblin statue:

    http://fullbodytransplant.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/i-was-there-the-day-michael-jackson-bought-this-at-the-mall/

    Godspeed Michael, the music lives on.

    • I certainly agree with you that his music was special and so were his videos like Thriller and Bad (for me). I also agree that his passing is a great loss to music, but I think that event took place some years ago.

      I just wonder about this stardom thing – is ANYBODY that important in the world? Do none of us have lives of our own any more?

      However, I like your site and its name – I could do with one of those (a full body transplant)! 🙂

  2. nychales Says:

    The way the media/public reacted to MJ and Farrah’s deaths is similar to how their lives were portrayed. Michael was always in the spotlight and Farrah liked to keep her private life private. I don’t think Farrah would be offended that the death of Michael took the world by storm while her death seemed more like a sideline. It is a shame that two great people that passed away on the same day, that both had different impacts on humanity, are recognized so diffently by the public.

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