Michael Jackson’s death is now the subject of nearly non-stop news coverage.  I agree with Jonah Goldberg’s take over in the Corner:

And, while I merely think he was a pedophile, I know he was not someone responsible parents should applaud, healthy children emulate nor society celebrate.

And while we’re at it, his relatively early death wasn’t “tragic.” He was one of the richest people in the world. He spent his money on perpetual childhood and he was perpetually with children not his own.

Meanwhile, in the last ten days, we’ve seen or heard of remarkable people who’ve given their lives for freedom in Iran. We’ve heard of innocents killed because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the last decade, America has lost thousands of heroes in noble causes and thousands of innocent bystanders who were denied the simple joys of life through no fault of their own. Those deaths are tragic, and we’re hard pressed to think of more than a handful of names to put with the long line of the dead.

The Jackson story has always been the equivalent of a hard-to-look-away-from car crash.  I’m sure just about everyone has seen one of those emails that starts with the adoreable, healthy looking child Michael of Jackson 5 being morphed by numerous plastic surgeries into the bizarre she-man of his adulthood.  If you want to get all English-majory about it, you can see Jackson as an encapsulation of everything that is bad about American celebrity culture. 

But even if you feel sorry for Jackson as a sort of victim of fame, that doesn’t change the fact that he seems to have abused that fame at the expense of children.  It is certainly the end of a bizarre, even interesting chapter of America’s culture life, but the press needs to keep it in perspective.