Friday, June 26, 2009

Farrah vs Mike

Obviously, the world lost two icons yesterday. There is no disputing the greatness that was Michael Jackson. However, I feel that a great disservice is being done by only honoring him and only reporting the sensational details of his death. Lets face it, a peaceful, quiet, and dignified death just isn't going to grab the headlines.

Farrah was an icon in her own right. I read that her poster from the 70's is still the biggest selling poster of all time. There is no denying that she was gorgeous and could easily have been typecast into your stereotypical blonde bombshell roles but Farrah had some acting chops. She took on some real gritty roles. Playing Diane Downs in Small Sacrifices - a role so repugnant due to the nature of her crime - and playing her well. I've read the book by Ann Rule and seeing Farrah act out the character is so true to life to the book its just as you imagined Diane Downs as you read it.

Farrah seemed to live a quiet and dignified life. She didn't create a ton of tabloid headlines and was only recently in the news again due to her documentary. A documentary so gritty and real that it was almost the antithesis of a Hollywood star. She used her illness to educate the world. She used her illness to shine the light on huge inequities in our health care system. She refused to gloss over the gory, sad, and horrific side effects of her devastating illness and through it all kept her dignity and class in place.

On the other hand, Michael's passing surpassed and tributes to Farrah and even preempted network television. You couldn't change a channel on the TV without hearing a song of his playing or hearing the details of his death. I cannot deny that the music world has lost an indisputable legend and tremendous talent but his death shouldn't be reported as more important than Farrah's. I've heard the media say that his death is more tragic because it was unexpected but let's be real - his death is garnering more media because of his scandalous life. The strange marriages, the molestation accusations, the childlike way that he lived, and now drug abuse.

I think that this is the very epitome of what is wrong with the media. We, as a culture, thrive on salacious details. Who's dating whom, who's marrying whom, who's divorcing whom, etc. I am not excluding myself from that group by any stretch. I enjoy reading a good bit of celebrity gossip as much as the next person. However, the more I watched the media coverage last night, the more perturbed I became. I heard newscasters saying they had tributes planned for Farrah that were now cancelled due to Michael's death. How is that right? Our culture lost TWO great icons yesterday but only one of them is getting recognized.

I personally was not a huge fan of Michael's. I don't mind his music (as a music lover, you have to appreciate how revolutionary he was) but as a person, I think he was a nut. Whether or not he actually did sexually molest those boys, I am not sure but I do believe there was something "off" about a person who gets comfort from surrounding himself with young children - especially boys. I also believe that there is nothing right about sharing your bed with children who are not your own or any type of relation. He lived his life in the spotlight - partly because of his tyrannical father but lately because of his bizarre actions. I feel for the child he was but I cannot respect, or even like, the adult he became.

He will definitely leave a lasting effect on the music world. Everyone in the 80's knew someone with the Beat It jacket, glove, and huge mirrored aviator shades. People today still emulate his dances, especially the moonwalk. And a new generation is becoming familiar with his music. That should be his legacy. His legacy shouldn't be drugs, cosmetic surgery, bankruptcy, and legal issues.

Farrah is the Charlie's Angel we all remember. It doesn't matter that she was only on the show for one season. I remember my cousins and I would play Charlie's Angels and invariably there was a huge fight over who was Farrah. Most teenage boys in the 80's had a crush on her and most teenage girls wanted to be her or at least have her hair. Be at peace, Ms. Fawcett!