I can't exactly say why I'm so, so saddened about the death of Michael Jackson. But believe me I am. I have no specific memories attached to any to his music, yet those songs, man those songs - they were any poptimist's utopian dream. Also "I Want You Back" might just be the best song to ice skate to ever.
But really think of this man's ubiquity. Dude sold eleventy bazillion copies of his albums, and deservedly so. And no is talking about how it is nearly impossible for such a person to exist today for reasons both cultural, technological etc. Pop culture is more fragmented and niche-specific then ever before. The internet, a gazillion cable channels and the mainstream acceptance/co-optation of subcultures (think mall-goths, punks, hipsters) makes it beyond easy for us to pick and choose what we want to consume when we want to consume it. There are very few universal pop cultural experiences anymore. How many songs, movies, tv shows are watched/heard by everyone? And how many of those things are actually imbued with talent, charisma and all around awesomeness? That's right - NONE.
Writer Chuck Klosterman theorized that one of the only current pop cultural phenomenon that transcends individual preference is Harry Potter. Because whether you've read them or not, EVERYONE and their grandma knows who Harry Potter is. The closest thing we have to MJ today are 700 page books about teenage wizards. This is genuinely bizarre.