World's Fuss Over Jackson 'False Emotion'
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 26, 2009 5:31 PM CDT
Fans of Michael Jackson watch as people perform a dance in his memory during a memorial to commemorate him in central London's Trafalgar Square.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The outpouring of grief over Michael Jackson’s death really has nothing to do with the singer, Hadley Freeman writes in the Guardian. Just look at him: “For the past 15 years, ever since the first child-abuse allegations,” Freeman writes, “he has been a figure of freakishness.” So what’s going on? It’s the desire for “A Big Event,” Freeman concludes, “something that will bring a sense of community.”

The most obvious precedent is Princess Diana, but at least when she died she was still “a beloved figure in the eyes of most people.” Of the “Diana Moment,” Freeman writes, “it’s impossible not to suspect that the excitement at just being part of a collective moment exacerbated it beyond any reasonable limits.” The hubbub is even more quixotic and shows “that the desire for collective emotion leads only to false emotion.”