Is Michael Jackson Dead?

Is Michael Jackson Dead?
By Julian Aldana

Technology is so screwed up these days. I’m so connected to everyone, to everything – to my first great love in pictures with his cute boyfriend on a cute vacation; to the news of Heidi Montag’s last turd. You know what, world? I don’t really care. And no matter how many Facebook friends I delete in order to send them to an e-place-where-I-never-have-to-think-about-them-ever-again, Gmail never deletes my emails. And more people from days past come trickling in requesting invites into my world like vampires at the doorstep.

At this moment, I don’t know if Michael Jackson is dead or alive. And everyone is talking about it. I keep hitting refresh on Google, but TMZ is the only source claiming that MJ has horizontally moonwalked on his last six-year-old boy.

And Twitter? Forget about Twitter. I can picture Beyoncé and Perez Hilton and Pope Benedict XVI all feverishly typing away on their iPhones and Blackberries, dying to tell the public what they think about it, or how much he’ll be missed. My best friend was just laid off today, and I can’t share my condolences with him on Twitter because, oh, Twitter has just crashed. Thanks, Perez. Now I’ll have to CALL him.

Usually, when the country isn’t afflicted by a national catastrophe like it is today, I have about five ways to get in touch with my friends without actually making a phone call. Today, there is only one. And as messed up as the world is – as blurry as the lines have become, with everyone having Fakebooks to leer in each other’s faces – there is something satisfying about being that close, yet being so unavailable.

So rather than a question of Michael Jackson being dead or alive, insert “friendship” where the King of Pop’s name should be, and what do you have? A moment of clarity? A realization that, because of the Internet, we have more friends and even more acquaintances than we ever had before, yet we are lonelier and less connected than ever.

The days of calling up a friend just to “chat” have translated to the pop-ups of AIM, and the swinging by a neighbor’s house to see how they’re doing has turned into a status update or a text message. Facebook has stolen our faces. Twitter has tweaked out socialization entirely. We rest the weight of our friendships and relationships on our fingers, and on how heavily and quickly they can hit the buttons on a keyboard.

We are so available that we can never be bothered. And like Mr. Jackson, too much exposure probably drives us all “off the wall.”

The Times has just pronounced MJ dead. RIP.

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