American Way of Death

I went to a funeral for my neighbor, Mary, on Friday. I estimate there were 80 people present. As I listened to the eulogy I was struck by the different feelings I had at the funeral and watching the Michael Jackson burial last month.

Joe Bagent already wrote a rant about the system for me.

“It’s only a system,” I told myself during the 247 blanket coverage of Michael Jackson’s corpse, deeply suspicious that that so many millions of Americans were really distraught over the loss of this weirdly mutated media flesh puppet. Morbidly curious maybe, but not distraught. There were the high ceremonial triubutory rituals, the carefully written and rehearsed incantations as to how Jackson pushed the global cause of racial equality to new heights. Even Nelson Mandela said so. Why am I not sharing in this great and tragic stirring of the masses? This news event apparently of massive import?

Although I didn’t know my neighbor very well I still felt more connected to her than I ever did to Michael Jackson. The television tells us that we are distraught as a nation over Jackson’s death. But I don’t think that’s real and if it is then we are in more trouble than I thought.