You Do Know Elvis Is Dead, Right?

by Mark Krikorian

Today is the 34th anniversary of Elvis’s death, commemorated by thousands at Graceland. I was just there a couple of weeks ago and there’s an odd dynamic among the visitors. Some are there for the fun of it, to see the kitsch and get a souvenir (there’s a lot of both, as you can imagine; I was looking for a tie I could wear to work, something tasteful — HAHAHAHA!). Then there are others who take the whole thing too seriously, placing teddy bears on his grave:

Elvis's grave

(The women ahead of me in line placed some of the flowers pictured above.) Laughing at them would have been vulgar and unkind, but the whole thing is more than a little ridiculous — he didn’t die fighting for his country or anything, he was just a singer who was undone by success. If this were a millennium ago in Europe, people would be drinking from the fountain above and throwing down their crutches and claiming miraculous cures by the intercession of St. Elvis. As Chesterton said, “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing — they believe in anything.”

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