.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Conclusion
in memoriam
Michael Jackson, 1958–2009
As I was in the final stages of completing the first draft of the manuscript for
this book, the unthinkable happened—although I had not been aware of the
unthinkability of this event until after its occurrence: Michael Jackson died.
And so began for me an interesting process of mourning a celebrity(!) and a
contemplation of the meaning of this mourning. This was not my first con-
frontation with the work of mourning the dead or of grappling with the inexo-
rable finality of death itself. I have su√ered the terrible loss of beloved family
members. And one of my best friends died on my twenty-first birthday, an
experience that so strained and obsessed me that I wrote my college senior
thesis about death in American literature and submitted the essay as my writ-
ing sample for graduate school.
Michael Jackson’s death was di√erent from the death of a loved one, al-
though to be sure, he was the beloved of many who had never laid eyes on him.
Because I had never met him and could not even imagine his fleshed existence,
his death did not reach me as the death of a known person. It was not, in other
words, pronounced or plagued by an ensuing permanent absence. In fact, no
bodily erasure marked Michael Jackson’s passing. Rather, his departure was
immediately followed by global fascination and a sensationalized spectraliza-
tion of both his iconized self and his unexpected departure. There was, in fact,
a marked proliferation in Michael Jackson’s presence, as his countenance,
music, voice, and famed dancing saturated visual media. With the exception
of frequent updates about the coroner’s findings and images of his sobbing
relatives, associates, and fans, there was actually nothing to certify or to con-
cretize in me that this man had left the world, in a way, never to return.
Previous Page Next Page