What happened to Michael Jackson could only happen in LA, a city where elegant, moneyed suburbia, and its favorite accessory and most insidious symptom -- the elaborately gated community -- isolate its residents.
There was something so chilling about mourning a man in the most public of ceremonies whose great tragedy was that he had never had a private life. Even in death, there wasn't any way for Michael Jackson to walk -- or be driven in a casket -- down the street unnoticed.
Clearly Sharpton's statement hinted at the racism Michael Jackson endured in the music industry. But he totally ignored, as many have, the issues of gender and sexuality that clearly impacted the star.
One small story about a single encounter with a giant superstar. These days, it's nice to remember Michael as a child, with all the sweet innocence of youth; a boy who loved his mother and just wanted a new pair of jeans.
Perhaps not. Jackson's early passing is a perfect globalized mass media storm, as it combines Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll with a healthy dose of those two basic staples of the American story: Race & Money.