Wednesday, July 08, 2009

'Memorial Like A Macabre Circus' , 'Tortured Logic, Alibis': One Final Michael Jackson Post

This just in from the The Sun:

WHEN 11-year-old Paris Michael Jackson, who has spent her childhood hidden from the spotlight behind a veil, was pushed in front of a microphone to address 19,000 people and billions more at home - my mind was made up.

Top performance ... Shaheen
This wasn't a memorial for a pop icon or the greatest entertainer the world has ever seen.

It was a reminder of why MICHAEL JACKSON became a deeply unhappy, lonely man living an utterly bizarre existence.

It was a macabre circus.

Taking children to a funeral is one of the most difficult decisions a parent will ever have to make.

But the King of Pop's young daughter speaking as the climax of the memorial just wasn't right.

Paris didn't look comfortable and more importantly, capable, of doing it.

As the family gathered on stage I was surprised to see the children being paraded in front of a gold coffin holding the remains of their beloved father.

Then, as JANET Jackson struggled to lower the mic stand for her niece's tiny frame, I just couldn't believe my eyes.

I understand the yanks do mawkishness like no other, but putting a grieving child in the spotlight is questionable.

Having said that, her few words were deeply touching, bringing a tear to the eye.

Brotherly love ... Jermaine Jackson

JERMAINE Jackson performing a heart-warming cover of his little brother's favourite song, Smile, was the only other part that hit the right note.

BROOKE SHIELDS rambling, MARIAH CAREY warbling, USHER touching the coffin and the decision to sing Heal The World, all seemed wide of the mark.

Shields' speech would have been apt for an awards ceremony, but not a memorial.

It wasn't the time or the place for REV AL SHARPTON to be preaching about Michael's good work for black people.

Or Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee to be reminding us all you are "innocent until proven guilty" under the American constitution.

MAGIC JOHNSON so very nearly got it right with a touching anecdote. Unlike his career on the court, he then dropped a clanger by mentioning Kentucky Fried Chicken five times.

It says a lot when a little Welsh kid, who came seventh in Britain's Got Talent, was the best thing about the memorial.

SHAHEEN JAFARGHOLI sang his socks off in front of a baffled audience who clearly didn't have a clue who he was.

Luckily, choreographer KENNY ORTEGA was there to explain to the crowd who the Swansea lad was.

And he also grabbed the chance to remind everyone about the great work AEG had done putting the memorial together with only days notice.

Grief ... Jackson kids and family

Something he should have been used to from the This Is It fiasco.

AEG, Kentucky Fried Chicken, The Staples Center and Brooke Shields' career all received priceless PR adrenaline injections.

And a world record was broken for the most people wearing sunglasses indoors.

I did notice one fitting tribute to all the parasites who sucked money and life out of Jacko during his troubled life.

Boxer MIKE TYSON, singer CHRIS BROWN and promoter DON KING all weeping in the crowd.

The memorial was missing producer QUINCY JONES, the one honourable character capable of giving "The Earl Spencer" speech.

It took the sickly events at Jacko's memorial service for my disappointment to kick in that the King of Pop never had his chance to take a glorious final curtain call in London.
Variety weighs in with it's opinion here:
Jackson tribute: Tortured logic, alibis
Media tries to justify its coverage overkill
Fox News split the screen between a sometimes-cynical anchor Shepard Smith and avid coverage of the hearse carrying Michael Jackson.

DEATH IS said to trigger five stages of grief. In the wall-to-wall coverage of Michael Jackson since his death, media members can add two more stages to their list: "tortured logic" and "alibis."
Since his death, Jackson has often been portrayed as a beloved icon, much the way Princess Diana somehow became our princess in the wake of her premature demise. As networks committed to broadcasting Tuesday's memorial tribute live, hopes of perspective and proportionality quickly dimmed.

Helicopters hovered above the memorial procession to Staples Center, adding yet another slow-speed chase to our visual memory.

As for the service itself, Motown founder Berry Gordy fleetingly acknowledged that Jackson had made "questionable decisions" in his life while lauding the singer's talent. Songs and tributes poured out -- some emotional, others defiant, many self-indulgent.

But media organizations are also making questionable decisions. Having committed themselves to overkill regarding all things Jackson, news outlets have created narratives justifying their gluttony.

Some of the media fascination is understandable. Since he was "arguably the weirdest superstar in history," wrote Marty Kaplan, director of the Norman Lear Center at USC's Annenberg School for Communication, "you'd have to be brain dead not to be interested" in the Jackson story.

The problem is that "interesting" alone isn't enough to merit this frenzy. So another adjective -- "important" -- must be utilized as a rationalization for pandering to the audience's most prurient impulses.

Let's be honest: To many, what set Jackson apart from other extremely talented entertainers were his much-discussed eccentricities and the criminal charges brought against him. At worst, Jackson might have engaged in inappropriate, perhaps illegal behavior with young boys; at best, he exhibited a troubling lack of judgment that left him vulnerable to such allegations.

That's hardly a matter to be brushed aside. Yet there was CNN's Don Lemon on "Reliable Sources," making this extraordinary statement to dismiss as "elitist" anybody second-guessing the wall-to-wall coverage: "Michael Jackson twice -- well, once, I should say, he was acquitted of child molestation. The other time it was settled out of court. ... And if you talk to people who were involved in those cases, they don't believe that he did it. So let's put that aside."

For some reason, this brought to mind that joke in "The Addams Family" movie when Gomez is told that he's a "lady-killer" and brightly chirps, "Acquitted!"

Inevitably, in the run-up to the memorial, the tone of the TV coverage hewed closer to adulation than anything approaching dispassionate analysis, and Tuesday's event continued the pattern. CBS' Katie Couric, for example, let her guests advance the shaky proposition that Jackson was a civil-rights pioneer.

On Fox News Channel, Shepard Smith did attempt to convey the absurdity of it all but found it difficult to arch that eyebrow too high -- coming, as his comments did, amid live reports from correspondents obsessing over every lurch of Jackson's motorcade.

SO WHAT'S THE ANSWER? Nobody would or should expect the media to ignore this kind of story. But the powers that be could begin by coming clean about their priorities instead of elevating Michael Jackson to sainthood in order to validate their actions.

The various anchors should admit to being caught up in a competitive melee that's effectively blotted out more important news.

Don't inflate the subject's significance simply to erase or obscure your journalistic misdemeanors. Tell the audience you can't resist freak shows because, frankly, you suspect many of them can't, either. And create at least some space for news that directly touches people's lives as soon as possible.

Instead, the major media's stance is a bit like "The Hangover" -- wanton gluttony, followed by amnesia.

For major news outlets wondering how to recognize symptoms of this condition, here's a rule of thumb: Whenever E! crews are sitting beside you, and you're getting most of your news tips from TMZ, you are perhaps directing your shrinking resources in a dubious direction.

On "Good Morning America," it fell to poor Claire Shipman on Monday to report on "How America mourns its legends." She spoke of John Lennon and Elvis Presley, saying such deaths represent "the end of an innocence, or an era."

Sorry, but in terms of the Jackson coverage, it's a little late for recapturing innocence. Right now, we're just looking for an exit.
These two articles reflect some of my thoughts about the whole episode. Now that Neverland is over, the reality sets in:
Those immediate realities include who owns the Jackson family home now, as well as Neverland, the Beatles catalog, and Michael’s own music company, MiJac. For years all of those assets have been encumbered by inconceivable debt. Now the debt will have to be retired. There are many ahead, no doubt


Horse-farmer said...

and your comments are exactly why I DIDN'T watch any of this fiasco.

put it to sleep and forget about it

dirtsister said...

I had to laugh when Rev. Sharpton implied that Michael Jackson had broke down all race barriers, healed the world and got Obama elected.

Oh. I thought Oprah did that.

grasshopper said...

from what I hear, with the record sales that MJ's death is producing are enough to pay for that coffin by the time i get done writing this comment

Sara said...

Have you seen this?

Memorial cost the City of LA 1.4 mil.