07/26/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Michael Jackson vs. The News

Do you want to even compare? Do you dare even try? Don't you already know the outcome? Of course you do.

You already know which kind of event, which sort of dramatic happening, which kind of ill-fated death and historic melodrama we as a culture value far, far more than any other. You already know which will hold us in thrall for days and months on end, which causes more tears and heartbreak and which kind of event will spawn books and movies and tributes and earnest memories by the million until we ourselves pass on to the hereafter, smiling and dancing and humming a desperately catchy tune.

Hint: it's not the new Iran revolution. It's not, say, the young and idealistic Neda Agha Soltan, that iconic Iranian protester shot to death by militiamen on the streets of Tehran and then made into a near-perfect martyr, mostly because she was beautiful and photogenic and light-skinned and her horrific death was caught on video and spread all over YouTube, and therefore makes ideal, bloodstained copy for news agencies and political movements worldwide.

It's not President Obama's historic push for health care reform, currently being beaten to death in various congressional back rooms. It's certainly not yet another aging white Republican politician weeping to the TV cameras about his love of God and family and irresistible Argentinean vaginas. Like that ever truly matters.

Who the hell cares about any of that? Who needs it right now? Pop culture just died. Didn't you hear?

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