The ancient world used to have paid mourners who would wail behind funeral processions, and the grief exhibited by many of the passers-by in LA is about as superficial. This is different from when Elvis died, and even as recent as Princess Diana. People came out by the throngs, but the cult wasn't quite as established as it is now surrounding celebrities.
Which brings me to Billy Mays, whose passing is probably indicative that Americans love everyday guys. He wasn't a flashy celebrity, and his claim to fame was a beard rivaled only by Chuck Norris. He was loud, he was excitable, and most of his products probably didn't work. But there was an appeal to Billy not there with MJ. Michael commanded attention because of how off the wall he was (Steve Harvey comments here), and his musical genius and talent was only surpassed by how just weird he was!
Our fascination with celebrities and being identified with them simply because they're famous is interesting. What if the church held as tightly to Christ as the throngs in LA have held on so tightly to MJ? What kind of message does it send to the world when tickets to the funeral are going for $20,000 on EBay and our churches are in serious decline. America has its god, and it lives in Hollywood and walks on red carpet. We chose fame over holiness, and excess over self-denial.