Obituaries for Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett

Michael Jackson 1958-2009

NJNEW NEWARK STAR LEDGERPop icon and the man who defined the MTV approach to music marketing, Michael Jackson has died.

More Reports | 6:29 p.m. “A lot will be said about Michael Jackson as we learn more about this story,” Brian Williams said on the “NBC Nightly News.”

“He was incredibly talented, a child star who was an adult with deep troubles and physical and mental health issues.”

The reports of Mr. Jackson’s death ricocheted around the world with remarkable speed. The news led Friday morning newscasts in Japan.

CBS and ABC are also reporting the news, standing on their own reporting now.

L.A. Times Reports Jackson Is Dead | 6:24 p.m. The newspaper cited “city and law enforcement sources.” The networks and CNN are also broadcasting the news, citing the Times story.

Reports: Jackson in a Coma | 6:15 p.m. Several news organizations including the Los Angeles Times reported that Mr. Jackson “is in a coma.” The newspaper attributed the news to one law enforcement source. CNN is also citing “multiple sources” as saying that Mr. Jackson is in a coma.

Updated | 6:11 p.m. LOS ANGELES – An unconscious Michael Jackson was rushed to UCLA Medical Center on Thursday afternoon by paramedics who performed C.P.R., according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

And so it went.

He’s a lot more than the simple appellations and epithets, and his passing reminds us that nothing in the flesh is eternal. Yes, and he sure did alter his flesh quite a bit. If ever there was a signpost for scary plastic surgery, Michael Jackson was it. He constantly transformed himself like one of the monsters in his ‘Thriller’ film clip.

The aspect of Michael Jackson that I will always remember is the glavanising, boundary crossing power of his music, which I actually held in suspician for the better part of the 1980s. It was only in the 1990s with the release of ‘History’ that I went and bought something of his ouvre. Until then the only thing I had was the ’45 of ‘Beat It’ for the Eddie Van Halen solo.

In hindsight it is clear to see the lasting impact of the Thriller album to totally transform the music industry. If the transition from LPs to CDs was killing the AOR thing, then the album full of hit-singles propelled by video clips on MTV essentially buried album-oriented rock. Over a quarter of a century later, the music industry would still like to see an album with lost of hit singles than a considered series of song with an over-arching concept.

So while he created a new landscape, he also demolished the old one. Maybe it was a good thing, maybe it wasn’t. In the long run, his music will be seen more and more as a sign of the times than the curios that they were, adorned with his ever-changing face and skin tone.

Perhaps that is being harsh. On his best days, Michael Jackson’s song contained within them the transformative power of music and carried with it the distinctly American ideology into parts of the world that were highly resistant. His music was heard in the old communist block as well as Communist China, Vietnam and all over India and Africa. He was embraced as a man who sang we are the world.

If there is one thing I can say about Michael Jackson today, is that it would be best to remember him for his best moments rather than all the sordid rumours, speculations and trials for child molestation and eccentric behaviour.

UPDATE: Here is my tribute to the man, with the help of Mr. Clay Potts.

Charlie’s Most Loved Angel, Farah Fawcett 1947-2009

Farrah FawcettFarah Fawcett wasn’t just a name, she was like a sexual position men fantasised about. She defined the blonde bombshell in the 1970s, and in turn was defined as leading angels in Charlies’ Angels, and then faded into obscurity in the 1980s, only to reemerge with a nude spread at the age of 48.

She passed after a long fight with cancer.

Her death, at St. John’s Health Center, was caused by anal cancer, which she had been battling since 2006, said her spokesman, Paul Bloch.

To an extraordinary degree, Ms. Fawcett’s cancer battle was played out in public, generating enormous interest worldwide. Her face, often showing the ravages of cancer, became a tabloid fixture, and updates on her health became staples of television entertainment news.

In May, that battle was chronicled in a prime-time NBC documentary, “Farrah’s Story,” some of it shot with her own home video recorder. An estimated nine million people viewed it. Ms. Fawcett had initiated the project with a friend, the actress Alana Stewart, after she first learned of her cancer.

Ms. Fawcett’s doctors declared her cancer-free after they removed a tumor in 2007, but her cancer returned later that year. She had been receiving alternative treatment in Germany and was hospitalized in early April for a blood clot resulting from that treatment, according to her doctor, Lawrence Piro. He also said her cancer had spread to her liver.

A lot can be said about her career but I won’t go into that. I think it best we remembered her for her incredibly toothy smile that she flashed and the fact that she defined sex appeal for a generation of men. That alone is an accomplishment of sorts that stands the test of time.

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