In his critical appreciation of the recently departed theologian John Stott, Carl Trueman includes this delightfully apt digression:
Death is, of course, the great atonement. I have commented before on how you only have to die these days in order to have all of your sins, both great and small, cast as far from you as the east is from the West. The late Ted Kennedy is a good example. So is Michael Jackson. Jackson, in fact, is an even more dramatic example of how death – particularly death in absurd circumstances at a comparatively early age – not only washes away one’s sins in the public eye but also lifts one’s modest talent to the level of that of the Olympian gods. Watching Gene Kelly in the wonderful film An American in Paris recently, I commented to my wife that Kelly could dance, he could really dance. In comparison, Michael Jackson was able to do what? Walk backwards with a certain amount of style? There is no comparison; yet Jackson is a god; Kelly is all but forgotten.