It's hard to think of losing both of these illicit icons of a '70s-'80s American childhood in the same day. Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson... what's next, the entire cast of Family Ties or (less wholesomely) Revenge of the Nerds?
I could write much on this, as someone who grew up surrounded by the sights of one and the sounds of the other. (I bet my blogging contemporaries, the Renegade Rebbetzin and Jack, could do so as well.)
For me, Farrah and Michael didn't matter so much in and of themselves, but they symbolized "fitting in." Those of us who knew about them were part of the gang; those who did not were automatically on the outs. (I'll let you guess which side I occupied.) Funny, that people we had never met and would never meet should be the barometers of social eligiblity, but so it was.
My derashah is going nowhere this evening. I've gone through several ideas - העיני האנשים תנקר vs והיית לנו לעינים, for example - with no success. I'm sorely tempted to try to tackle this for the derashah instead...
I could go the harangue route and talk about the world of gashmiut (the material world, to quote another '80s icon), and condemn the stars whose fame is the barometer of success for the rest of the world;
Or, I suppose I could talk about the relative merits and negatives of exposing children to the world of popular culture, and the question of how such exposure influences their future lives;
Or, I could discuss the way each dealt with fame;
Or, for a parshah-related twist, I could talk about jealousy, as in the jealousy we felt for these larger-than-life stars, and the jealousy Korach felt for Moshe and Aharon...
I haven't thought about Farrah or Michael in years, other than to notice one headline or another. But there is a definite feeling of loss that comes with seeing the big names of your youth pass on. It's like seeing athletes your age retire from sports, or hearing that the once-young teachers of your youth have retired.
I'm rambling here, just to avoid working on the derashah. Time to hang it up and get back to work.