Laura at 11D asks readers to quantify their interest in Michael Jackson's memorial, and commenters are actually discussing their interest in his death and all subsequent events. I wrote there:
I'm probably spending a total of an hour a day this week on it; last week more like 4 hours a day, and the 3 days after his death, probably 6 to 8 hours a day. But then, I liked and admired him; his music was a large part of the soundtrack of my life in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Remembering him and his music, I remember myself at all the various ages and experiences when I heard his songs.
His effect on popular culture was astounding; his success with Thriller is unmatched by any three recording and performing artists since.
The catharsis of public grieving fascinates me. I've wondered whether it's relieving the stress of all the changes over the last year: the housing and economic crisis, the presidential campaign, the various disappointments endemic in the Obama presidency due to the overblown expectations that accompanied his victory.