This is how Quincy Jones begins his remembrance of Michael Jackson on the LA Times music blog.
Like the world, last week I was devastated by the news that Michael Jackson had suddenly left the room.
There’s nothing grammatically wrong here. But come on. When you begin a sentence—or in this case, a whole article—with “Like the world,” the first thing that leaps to our mind is, well, the world, a giant blue sphere of rock and air and water, floating in space. Quincy is using “the world” metonymically to refer to the people who live in the world. But that doesn’t become clear until later. For a brief moment we thought Quincy Jones was comparing himself to the entire planet—stratosphere and volcanoes and cute little bunnies and all. Quincy is a righteous dude. But it’s hard to imagine any situation in which he could reasonably be compared to planet Earth.
A brief search of about 200 Google hits turns up only a few similar usages of “Like the world, I…” One of them is by Quincy Jones, again, in Newsweek. He must have cribbed from one of his articles to write the other.
From then on, I called Michael “my little brother,” and like the world, I was devastated at the news that he had suddenly passed away.
Other usages were rare, and their results were mixed. One blogger, in reference to waiting for the results of the 2008 presidential election, said:
Like the world, I’m here watching today and I am not gonna go to sleep until I KNOW FOR SURE.
Which seems to cause the same confusion as Quincy’s example. Is Earth watching TV with you? How big is Earth’s TV? Why can’t we see its plasma screen twinkling among the stars at night?
Another blogger gets the phrase absolutely right.
Like the world, I have many parts which must work together — and when they don’t, I’m in trouble.
And the last example we found is just nonsense.
Like the world, I doubt these people are without imaginations- just mislead (at best) or conscienceless.
Anyhow, congratulations, Quincy Jones, on being like the world, and giving us a laugh.