I haven't offered up any thoughts about the deaths of Farrah Fawcett or Michael Jackson because...well, what's left to say, really? So many words have been written about their work and the choices they made in life, I can only wonder this: Did they ever regret allowing their very existences to be nothing more than one big photo op? Fawcett, who tried so desperately to maintain her celebrity even when her time had passed (nothing smacks of desperation more than a Playboy spread), and Jackson, claiming he sought anonymity even as he wandered around in public in a series of goofy outfits and masks from the Eyes Wide Shut collection, must at some point have looked around and wondered what the hell they were doing.
Or maybe not. In any event, they were for a time the biggest things in the world. Jackson lived his whole life as a superstar, thanks initially to his awesome talent and eventually, mostly, for his flair for showmanship. And yet he let that showmanship, those carefully-cultivated eccentricities, define him. Fawcett became a phenon mostly because she had big hair, sparkly teeth and perky tits, which, back in the seventies, was enough. She wasn't famous, her image was, her poster briefly as iconic as any image of Marilyn Monroe or James Dean. We know all too well how these people lived and died, but we'll never know who they really were, if they even knew themselves.