Bring out your dead!

2009-06-30 11:02
I was already happily brainstorming mostly unpublishable Joost-is -dead jokes (I had something along the lines of clinical death being practically an implicit requirement for marrying Amor Vittone in the first place), when latest updates reported that news of Van der Westhuizen's imminent death had been greatly exaggerated, and he would almost certainly live to see yet another You/Huisgenoot cover story. I can almost see the headline now: At Death's Door with Joost and Amor - Exclusive!

With bitter disappointment I realised I was back at square one. Bugger. But that's what I get for counting my (alleged) cocaine-addled brothel creepers before they drop dead and stay that way for at least a couple of hours.

It's been a frustrating week. I toyed with the idea of covering the deaths of the great Ed McMahon or my all-time favourite pinup queen Farrah Fawcett, but I realised Fawcett had become irrelevant long before her chemotherapy treatments, and as for McMahon, the man didn't so much as pay a stripper for a lap dance, and he was about 86 billion years old, so who cares?

In the end, I sent in last week's innocuous little Twilight column mere hours before Michael Jackson popped his clogs, so I completely missed the opportunity to make the now-famous joke that he didn't die of a heart attack - he was found in the children's ward having a stroke. Now that's funny. Kudos to the clever bastard who came up with that one.

Yes, I'm being callous - but my only other option is being a hypocrite. You see, like many other entertainment writers and comments board loiterers, I've said some pretty nasty things about van der Westhuizen, Jackson, and truckloads of other limelight-hugging celebrities who respond to the sound of a camera shutter like a starving kitty that's just heard a can being opened - then demand privacy when they do something that's actually newsworthy.

Some of them may well be dead soon (Lindsay Lohan and Amy Winehouse immediately spring to mind) and all of them will be dead eventually. I know full well that they are all tangible, sentient human beings, people with real feelings, families, and Inherent with the terminal condition we call life. Just like me.

Well, boo fucking hoo. Anyone who hires a personal publicist, enters a TV talent show or shags Paris Hilton automatically rescinds their right to privacy. Argument over.

"Respect for the dead" is just a myth we've created to make ourselves feel less guilty for the lack of respect we show for the living. That's why we're being bombarded with hand-wringing tributes to Jackson by the same media that labelled him "Wacko Jacko" and made his disturbing life the target of ridicule for decades. It's all too little too late - and it's nauseatingly hypocritical.

I once wrote that "Jackson is a plasticine paedophile who looks like a circus clown that's been turned inside out". In hindsight, the only edit I'd make is change the word "is" to "was".

Changing my tune now would be pointless. Besides, it's not like he can hear me. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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