Grief is an Odd Feeling. Grief over Celebrities is Odder.
RIP, Michael Jackson. And, not to be crass, but you really lived longer than I thought you would. I don't know who you really were or what you did or didn't do. I do know that when we were kids my brother and I played your music as much as our Star Wars album, so that's saying a lot. And I do know that all of the weirdos wailing in the streets in their supposed sorrow (and I include most of your family in that) yeah, well, they helped to kill you and I hope they figure that out one day.
I will say that I did get a bit choked up, when in the middle of all of the circus that first week of his death, The Simpsons that Sunday simply ran the old episode where he was a guest voice. His character was Homer's roommate in an asylum who thought he was Michael Jackson and helped Bart write a song for Lisa's birthday. It was a sweet gesture and a fitting tribute to the crazy that was his life.
By far the more upsetting celebrity death for me this summer was John Hughes. And it's odd because I have no idea what he was like as a person - even in the way you think you know a celebrity, but really don't. But he was literally responsible for the soundtrack of my adolescence and with his sudden passing I feel like I really, really have to be a grown-up now. It kinda sucks.
Everyone has their favorite John Hughes movie. I, of course, love all of my teen-angst-riddled Molly Ringwald films, but I think his best was Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Silly and absurd, but also still funny and really, just very beautiful to watch. You don't usually get that from a teen comedy. John Hughes had a talent for marrying music and film in a way that isn't cliched but instead make you feel instantly nostalgic for that time in your life. Even if you weren't old enough for that time in your life to have happened yet.
Did that make any sense?
Anyway... when I would read articles about Hughes' death, the scene and the song that kept popping into my head wasn't the "The Thompson Twins and sitting on the dining table with the birthday cake," or "dancing in the school library to 'We Are Not Alone," or "Duckie lip-synching to Otis Redding." Those are all great and rightly have been posted and paid tribute to over and over again. But for me, what kept running through my mind, and what typified John Hughes work was The Art Institute of Chicago and The Smiths.