Is One Death Greater Than The Other?

So, we just got word that television personality Billy Mays was found dead at his home in Tampa, Florida.  And of course the blogs and the text messages, and Facebook and Twitter status messages and updates are decrying the deaths of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson and are now adding Billy Mays to the list of celebrity deaths all within less than a week’s time span.

In case you stil haven’t figured out who Billy Mays is check out the following:

Now that everyone’s said “Oh, yeaaaaaaaah, him.  Dayum!” Let me just propose something:

I’ve read the comments that were left on this blog, and some comments left on Twitter concerning Michael Jackson, I still maintain that as a collective people we should be very careful to what level we may deify our celebrities–moreover for what reasons.  Sorry, I can’t help but feel that how is it that four celebrities died this past week that the majority of us DO NOT KNOW and we’re ready to speak about God’s wrath and how God’s calling the roll and how we need to get ready is nothing but a crock of horse crap!

I hold this up in the same vein as those that say just because bad weather such as earthquakes, tornadoes or even hurricanes that either God is judging people or that it’s the end times.  Maybe it’s just that we have technology that allows people to track the bad weather; back in the day no one necessarily knew about some weather phenomenon because the earth wasn’t as populated.  And to address hurricane’s specifically–who told these white European settlers to try and settle in places like New Orleans or Miami or Tampa in these highly flood prone areas and then turn around and question Mother Nature.

As I said many times before, why do we sensationalize the deaths of some celebrities, particularly the four of last week and today, none of which carry any semblance of a martyr status, in the face of the deaths of people that are literally dying in the streets from all types of malicious violence unnecessarily?  For very few of us, their lives hold small crowning achievements with which we can gleam hope for a brighter future for.  I know we don’t like to talk about it, but I think a stark few of us recall to mind any of the following four when we think of a “bright hope for tomorrow.”

Why should I mourn and go into mild histrionics over the death of Michael Jackson?  Yes, he defined an era when it came to music, but why, WHY Lord are we following this man like he was a god or something?  There’s even been rumors that folks committed suicide over him!  Even when gospel music great Timothy Wright finally died after being in the coma from the car accident, I didn’t mourn and I actually had an attachment to much of his music.  There seems to be sometimes an unwritten rule to not speak ill of the dead and let them be in peace.


They’re dead, what can they really do?  I doubt that whatever your beliefs in the afterlife that that person is concerned about how a few people speak their minds concerning them.

I read one status comment on Facebook or Twitter and it said to the effect that “People need to realize that when others are grieving, maybe this is not yo moment to shine as an ‘alternative voice’ esp when u’re just an ass.”  And it still made want to say, apparently your grief is misplaced.  

Well, I guess I just said it.

And unashamedly so I might add.

The emotions behind this seem to me to be misplaced to me.  I’d much rather us a human race channel these emotions into making a positive example out of their lives to affect change in our local communities.  Mourning the death of someone you never met, who merely made you feel good through music or through a television show–as a sex symbol mind you–is not enough for me.  MOurning the loss of someone who made conscious music perhaps would present humanity more the poorer.  But, as I dig myself deeper into this hole of what will probably be seen as just classic hatin’ on my behalf, the high point of Michael Jackson’s career had somewhat passed and he had traveled down a slippery slope landing in the land of WTF? with most of us scratching our heads saying exactly that–WTF?

I think perhaps if I hadn’t seen so much deep-seated emotion attached to this death I probably wouldn’t have made such a big deal out of it, but it seems that like myself at times, some of us have misplaced our emotions on this one.

I think the perfect comparison was just how much people fawned over the death of Princess Diana who yes had a much more public philanthropic presence than those celebrities we lost this past week, but in the tandem death of Mother Teresa from India, I wonder who got more media coverage, let alone I wonder who had more effusive feelings of loss with regards to their death.

So I ask one simple question: Is one death greater than that of another human? 

Keep it uppity and keep it truthfully radical, JLL

3 thoughts on “Is One Death Greater Than The Other?

  1. My answer is that one death is NOT greater than the other. I have seen a lot of misplaced umm “praise” in this death of MJ. No one should ever place that much responsibility, faith, love, etc. on any human. This is a common misconception (and a reason why many marriages fail I might add).

    People are walking around broken because they put so much responsibility on a person. They are fated to be let down, as we are all imperfect.

    I too noticed the difference in the media coverage between the deaths of Mother Teresa and Princess Diana. I chalked it up to media sensationalism.

  2. Hi there!

    I agree that Michael was deifed in some ways… but he was an extraordinary legend that impacted music and showmanship around the world… his gift was immense.

    He had problems in his life…emotional problems and perhaps mental problems that led to other problems and physical decline…

    I just want us to think about his phenomenal gift… he was a Jehovah’s Witness so we know what’s up with his destination… but I loved Michael’s legacy as he crafted it… and I have tremendous respect for his gift.

    One death isn’t greater than another… one person’s impact on the world however may be greater than another’s….

  3. I don’t like the media angle that suggests that black folks are back in love with michael again?? WHAT?! Even after the surgery (yes surgery – I hate this lie going around that it’s a skin disease) Not one black person threw out their MJ albums, clothes or other trinkets. With the foolishness known as the BET Awards and MSM intervention this event has proven that we need “our” own news programming.

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