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Francesca Biller Headshot

Jackson Funeral Won't Convince Followers He Is Dead

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As sure as the sun will rise and set tomorrow during Michael Jackson's fairy tale-like, surreal and massively-orchestrated funeral, thousands of fans around the world will claim he is not really dead after all.

Whether or not he will be displayed Snow-Whitish within a glass coffin lead by pristine white horses and fellow pop statesmen, or filmed closely by more cameras in history donned with a sparkling glove and the best white makeup yet, Jackson, like Elvis will never truly be dead.

As Elvis attracted worship and adulation after death as no other celebrity had before him, the amplitudinous devotion to Michael's immortality will shock the living daylights out of us all.

Since Elvis, the social pathos and obsession with celebrities has grown more than a hundred-fold, and this King of Pop will never be laid to rest or allowed to rest in peace.

The reasons are complex and yet transparent and disturbing. It is a trend even now written about by major doctors who specialize in addiction such as Dr. Drew Pinsky in his book The Mirror Effect: How Celebrity Narcissism Is Seducing America.

With more families breaking up and breaking down, foreclosures, job loss, wars that see no end, and an economy that has just about everyone feeling they are pennies away from Tent City, the need to vicariously live through both the joy and pain of celebrities is on the rise.

And who better to feel both better and worse about yourself than living through the persona of Michael Jackson? And as far as entertainment goes, there could be no better script, press conference, movie, YouTube sensation or concert that could surpass the 24-7 news and visuals we are privy to.

It is escape from reality as its most elephantine, with each CNN breaking news email, sound bite, tease, tweet and text making us all feel as if we are on whatever Michael may have been addicted to, as we feel a constant need for our next fix for what's next, what's happening now, and more gossip and hearsay just to keep us hooked up.

For millions across the globe, Jackson represents an unreal sort of non-human American idolized machine that withstood a tumultuous yet idolized childhood, the paparazzi, criminal trials, rumors of illness, visions of a place called Neverland where he skipped like the Pied Piper as children followed behind him, and as the man who became a child because as a child he was forced to live as an adult.

Many people want their childhoods to last forever, or at least to make up their own fantasies in adulthood because, like Michael, they had such a painful or non-existent one.

Many of us would love at least something changed surgically on our bodies or face, as none of us feels we are perfect.

Many would love to own a ranch in Santa Barbara that entertained guests and seemed to make us God-like in the process.

And all of us would like to be admired and loved, be it by family and friends, and some, by strangers and dreams of stardom.

For millions of fans across the globe from a very wide age range that escapes no culture or ethnicity, Jackson has everything they have ever wanted to be, and for many, they see their own pain in a cartoon-like icon that lived as he wanted, as weird, questionable and bazaar as it seemed at times.

I remember the first time I suspected he may live in infamy when I saw him moonwalk across the stage effortlessly like some sort of god-like alien. I also remember him turning into a monster in the video "Thriller," and when his face over the years turned from the beautiful Black Michael into somewhat of an un-monster-looking caricature of whatever he might have been trying to avoid or emulate for himself and his fans, forgetting who the man in the mirror ever was and could become.

No one will ever be able to surpass the strange, mythical and brobdingnagian talent and spectacle of Michael Jackson. He touches on so many levels the possibilities, illnesses and frailty of the human condition, and has performed for us all on center stage, with barely a commercial interruption.

Just as millions swear on Graceland that Elvis is not dead, as Gods cannot die, Jackson will be seen all over the world as well.

If thousands can travel to see and be blessed by the image of Jesus in a cracker, and swear they saw Elvis at their local Wal Mart, surely many will believe the Jackson lookalikes will be real.

The question remains how dangerous this new religion of celebrity worship is for Western culture and beyond.

If it remains simply a harmless way for people to escape into brisk fantasy so they may escape empty and lost lives, then who is a anyone to judge.

But this is not the case. The mammoth idolization and obsession of Jackson and other celebrities, be they dead or alive is the cause for more than mere concern and more of a cause for near panic about our principles, morals, and loss of character as to who we are as people and motivated citizens about what it truly significant in our society.

We should all be saddened by his death. He was a person, a human being, a father, a son, and whether or not he ever committed crimes or used drugs is all in the past now.

Let's just hope that in the event that toxicology results show that drugs may have played a part in his death that we can avoid any martyrdom of Jackson for the use of prescription and illegal drugs.

What is sure is that after the gargantuan, celebrity and freak-studded funeral, this man-boy, larger than life and tortured image of a star will be sighted and will continue to haunt us and remain a part of our culture forever, as will other celebrities after him.

That we will never escape.

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