Is "Viewing" the Body in the Michael Jackson Death Photo a Modern Continuance of Tradition?
A Michael Jackson death photo has been posted online and many wonder why. What could possibly be gained by publishing Michael Jackson's death photo on the internet? Is it just for financial gain? More important, what does one gain by viewing a Michael Jackson death photo from the viewer's
June 26, 2009Los Angeles, CA
United States of America perspective? There seems to be an inordinate amount of curiosity regarding death photos these days, those of Michael Jackson simply being the latest in a long and sad line of expository death photography. But there it is: "Entertainment Tonight" has published a Michael Jackson death photo and the internet has been inundated with searches for the image of the pop singer's death.
But why? Why is there such an interest in a Michael Jackson death photo? Or, for that matter, a David Carradine death photo? Is it simply morbid curiosity?
Morbid curiosity can explain why many attempt to find evidence of a person's death and look at a person who has died. Psychologists explain morbid curiosity various ways, among them a coping mechanism while mourning, a means to come to terms with one's own inevitable death, or an instinctive reaction to loss.
Some consider morbid curiosity a sick obsession with death and the processes of dying. And although this could explain a few individual's seemingly perverse addiction to observing something like a Michael Jackson death photo, a shocking car accident, or even images of the Metrorail crash in Washington this past week, most do not obsess. They simply observe, mentally assimilate and codify the experience, and literally move on with their lives.
Morbid curiosity incorporates confirmation of death. Seeing a Michael Jackson death photo confirms that the "King of Pop" is actually dead (unless the photo is a hoax, but that is a different topic altogether). People touched by the life of Michael Jackson and his music felt a sense of loss at his passing. Some even went through a phase of denial. A death photo helps many reach an acceptance phase.
The Michael Jackson death photo released by "Entertainment Tonight" showed the "King of Pop" being worked on by paramedics to keep the singer alive. Michael Jackson had collapsed in his home in Holmby Hills (Los Angeles) of an apparent cardiac arrest. Subsequent attempts to resuscitate June 26, 2009Los Angeles, CA
United States of America his heart by a resident physician led to a 911 call. Jackson was rushed to UCLA Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.
The exact circumstances surrounding the "King of Pop's" death are still relatively uncertain. The results of a three-hour autopsy conducted Friday was deferred until toxicology tests can determine if traces of drugs found in the late pop star's system contributed to his death. The doctor, Conrad Murray, who was at Michael Jackson's home when he collapsed was nowhere to be found after the 911 call. His sudden disappearance has caused authorities to seek him out for questioning. CNN announced that officials have been in touch with Conrad Murray and that an interview had been set up.
The curiosity over the death of Michael Jackson and the seemingly morbid searches for his death photo can also be explained in a traditional way as well. As part of the confirmation of death, it is within the traditions of many cultures that they participate in a "viewing" of the deceased during mourning. Searching for Michael Jackson's death photo (or David Carradine's, or Anna Nicole Smith's, or Heath Ledger's, etc.) can be seen as a modern method of "viewing" and paying one's last respects to the dead.
Michael Jackson death photo exclusive to "Entertainment Tonight."