We see people are still talking about Michael Jackson. Also, partly because of some unfortunate comments Jackson made to Lisa Marie Presley, they’re comparing him to Elvis — in gross ways, in tale-of-the-tape ways, in conspiracy theory ways, in Neverland/Graceland ways, etc. Even Christianity Today is doing it. It’s gotten so bad some folks are comparing him to Heath Ledger just for a change of pace.
As far as this sort of thing goes, we think boldness is a virtue, so we are going to tie Michael Jackson’s passing to that of an entirely different celebrity who’s actually in the news because of the recent debut of Johnny Depp’s Public Enemies — namely, John Dillinger.
Behold the striking parallels:
Michael Jackson made millions of dollars with successful records and tours, only to wind up broke at the end of his life because of foolish extravagances like Neverland, legal settlements, and drugs.
John Dillinger made thousands of dollars robbing banks, only to wind up broke at the end of his life because of foolish extravagances like hideouts, guns, and bullets.
Michael Jackson became reclusive, hid from fans and the press.
John Dillinger became reclusive, hid from police and the FBI.
John Dillinger was a favorite with reporters, with whom he shared glamorous stories and wisecracks.
Michael Jackson was a favorite with reporters, with whom he shared photos of his hyperbaric chamber.
John Dillinger, despite his legal troubles, was loved by the common people because he always gave them a fair shake.
Michael Jackson, despite his legal troubles, was loved by the common people because he could walk backwards.
John Dillinger died while attending a movie showing despite the danger of being caught by the law.
Michael Jackson died while rehearsing a stage show despite the danger of being embarrassed by the choreography.
And finally, the link that ties them together forever in the annals of celebrity: plastic surgery.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 3, 2009