Why are we, as Americans, obsessed with dead celebrities? It’s bad enough we fawn over the ones that are alive, but as a culture (giggle), we reserve our highest adoration for the glitteratti who kicked the diamond-encrusted bucket early on. Among the departed set, there is no bigger altar than the bloated, bellicose, sequin-covered shrine of Elvis.
How bad is our obsession with Elvis? Over 700,000 people a year visit Graceland, Elvis’s ‘stately’ Memphis mansion. Let’s really think about this number for a second. Nearly 1 million of us (that’s roughly the population of the state of Delaware) think a ‘swell’ vacation idea is to go visit some dead guy’s house, instead of say…visiting the world’s largest ball of twine.
There are even websites dedicated to the mysterious upper level of the mansion that has never been seen by the public. My question to those who are intrigued by this: Have you seen the lower level? Honestly, how much more red velvet do you need to absorb?
Judging from Elvis’s interior decorating skills I could save thousands of Graceland visitors their admission fees by redirecting them to my Aunt Sylvia’s house in Scranton. I’m sure she’d let you in for free, and as an added incentive, she would probably throw in a plate of pieroghi for the road.
If you want to really gauge the Elvis saturation level, look no further than over the top your shopping cart at the outstanding journalistic endeavor, The Weekly World News. Nobody gets more face-time on the WWN than the King. Whether he’s living in a Brazilian safe-house with Hitler and JFK, or weighing in from beyond the grave on the South Beach Diet, Elvis is the undisputed leader in tabloid exposure.
So how will it all end? I suppose someday, as a nation we’ll need a new Elvis. We will together raise a new dead celebrity golden calf to the heavens. This luminary should be someone the next generation can relate to, someone whose flat-screen TV and Scarface poster they once saw on MTV’s Cribs and can now visit in person. This may be the only way we can move on and leave our blue-suede past behind us.