Five years.

Five years.

Shit. I mean, five.

I was going to write about MJ as I have done on 25 June for the past three years and then I read my friend Leila’s excellent post about how it’s wrong to have heroes and, as usual, she is right – so I felt pretty silly starting to write a morbid post here about MY hero.

There isn’t much to say, either. Better writers than me have done it already, like this by Tanner Colby. Loads of articles pop up every year on this day, covering stuff from MJ sightings to moonwalk tributes, and, of course, Uri fucking Geller still needs to eat.

I don’t think Leila had pop heroes in mind when she was writing, and I am misrepresenting her blog post massively by including it here, but it got me thinking about what we mean by “hero”. Also, remember when we used to blog about each other’s blog posts? Those were the days.

So yeah, “hero”. The idea that some people are better than others is pretty hardwired it seems. It’s hard to shake. Really hard. But it doesn’t have to be fixed. People fall off their pedestals all the time – in fact, I’d say we were more inclined towards the inevitable fall in the narrative of a hero, than their veneration. Lots of people have pointed out how we like to set ’em up, then knock ’em down. That’s not a very pleasant habit, but it also shows how the act of hero worship is not a fixed relationship, but a constant reappraisal of ourselves in relation to others.

Sometimes we find we fall short, and sometimes – aha! – we are much better than they are. We can look down on them and say we would never have done anything like that. Sometimes what they say chimes exactly with something we have felt. Sometimes it makes us see the error of our ways. Sometimes they wear something we would NEVER be seen DEAD in. Sometimes we invest ourselves really really heavily in them and then someone else says they’re a pedophile and we’re like all, shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. And we spend ages researching the facts and worrying about it and putting 2 + 2 together and getting 4, 5, 108 until finally we look up and oh – no-one else cares.

What I’m saying is, having a hero should be a full-time business. It’s not a kneejerk reaction. It’s important who you choose, too – don’t just go with the crowd. Assess, reassess, reassess.

Put the time in, because heroes are important. Unlike Leila, I think the need for them is everywhere, however much people want to deny it. How we treat those we venerate, I firmly believe, has an impact on how we treat those we love. If you treat people – even celebrities – as jokes, it might creep into how you treat the real people around you, and then finally the people closest to you. It’s the only way I can understand how a journalist might justify hacking into a dead girl’s mobile phone, for instance: he’s done it loads of times before, but then – then – it was just some twat like Hugh Grant* or Prince Philip, then, so who cares.

Or Michael Jackson. Oh, I’m sorry Leila and all the other sensible people of the world, but I care! I care! This Is It was on last weekend and I cried, again, loads, unendingly, as if it was the saddest story ever told. Even sadder because we know now that film is mostly a lie.

What a prick, right? Typical fan. Tragic, really.

But.

I’m not a very nice person most of the time. I regularly imagine murdering my fellow commuters. I can be wildly jealous of my friends. I think terrible thoughts about people who are only trying to help. But with Michael I get to care and venerate and ask for acceptance. I give him the benefit of the doubt, always, just as I should every person in my life, even that dick who swerved his bag into me on the Victoria Line this morning.

Being the sort of shitty person that I am, I could only be like that with someone who’s dead or far away or non-existent.

Heroes. We should work at them, and make them work for our approbation.

I wrote approbation there but I meant love.

I just didn’t want to say it because you’d think I was even crazier than I am.

RIP MJ.

* I actually quite like Hugh Grant. Prince Philip should probably do one but he’s old, and I feel bad.