Friday, June 26, 2009

All Michael, All The Time

I suppose that if I don't do a Michael Jackson post that there's something wrong with me. Well, something else wrong with me. But strange ranger Michael Jackson died today at the age of lonely, sad and really odd. shows in London I guess, eh? Yeah, probably not. Gotta tell you, I feel a little cheated by that. (Then again, if anyone should be 'feeling cheated' upon hearing this news, I'm thinking that's going to land with Farrah Fawcett. What are the odds?! Talk about someone stealing your thunder. Geez.) But I was so looking forward to what was guaranteed to be quite a spectacle in addition to being extremely entertaining! The elephants, the parrots, the choir of children from several equally represented races, and the snare drums players. My God, the snare drums! Naturally, the news that Jacko that died was sad, but that the great comeback concert will never materialize is quite depressing and leaves a feel of unfinished business in the air.

The cable channels, news and otherwise, are really going to go wall to wall with coverage for God only knows how long. And I'm sure that they will, no doubt, out-do themselves and make it abundantly clear how much they just suck at what they do. CNN had a graphic banner at the bottom of the screen that read "Breaking News: Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett Dead." It reads as if they happened together (in what really would have been such a strange situation I can't even imagine a set of circumstances that would have allowed it to occur), as if random celebrities are just dropping dead and those two were the latest.

Say, when was it, exactly, that any comment from any individual is relevant when discussing an event of this magnitude? Seriously. I don't care what some 20-year old chick outside of the Apollo Theater has to say about her memories of Michael Jackson that date back, at the latest, to 1989! If you're CNN and you're going to be interviewing someone or asking for their reaction, could you please make it relevant so that I don't want to shoot myself before the moron on the street is done talking?

The simple fact is that CNN should not be allowed to call themselves CNN anymore without some sort of a disclaimer that precedes those call letters. Perhaps James Earl Jones could do the voice again and say something like "This is the Crap Now Network - CNN". CNN actually went with this lead in: "We go to Richard Roth, our UN correspondent, he is live outside the Apollo Theater." What the hell?! First of all, I think you just need to drop the whole "UN correspondent" title when you've just been sent on assignment to shove a microphone in people's faces to ask how they feel about Michael Jackson dying. Especially if you're not even at the UN!! But then it got worse! The guy starts off by saying he was outside of the Apollo Theater in Harlem where Michael Jackson had performed before and that he "...was here in 2002 for a Democratic Party fundraiser and walked the streets of Harlem." Oh, for cryin' out loud! "Walked the streets of Harlem?!" Was he Mother Teresa then? Geez. There is NO shame over there at CNN. (Don't believe me? Mr. Roth there interviewed a woman who felt a "personal connection" to Jacko because her "grandmother's cousin's nephew was a bodyguard for Jackson." Aaaannnnddddd...scene!)
Seriously, can he even blink his eyes?   Move his forehead?
Larry King also had Kenny Rogers on the phone and King took the opportunity to ask some of the most asinine questions I think I've ever heard someone as seasoned as Larry King ask.

"You're a country artist. How did you view him artistically?"

"His talent, how would you describe it? Was he a great singer?" ::: blink ::: ::: blink ::: Did Larry King have a stroke just then? Was he a great singer?! Sir, we're talking about Michael Jackson! YES, he was a great singer!

The best part of the Larry King coverage? Learning that Kenny Rogers used to play tennis with Farrah Fawcett. Again, one of those situations where I just can't imagine the circumstances that allow it to occur, but apparently it did somehow. Interesting. Trivial, but interesting.

Now don't get me wrong here, because it's not like I don't want to hear people share their memories of Michael Jackson. That would be long as they have some memories of Michael Jackson that are fascinating. I want personal accounts. I want stories and memories of people that knew him. I can do without every single person saying that they 'grew up on his music' or 'loved his music' or any kind of crap like that. Cher told Larry King a great story about how Jacko loved the beaded socks that she was wearing one night. (All right, it loses a bit in my translation, but it was really nice!) That being said, I can do without the ridiculous celebrity Twitters that the online media is subjecting unsuspecting readers (such as myself) to.

Do I care what Ashton Kutcher has to say about the passing of Michael Jackson? I don't! But for some reason, plenty of media outlets think that I do! They think there is some significance that Ashton Kutcher Twittered: "I plea to the public to refuse to consume media that does not respect the anonymity of Michael's children." Why does that man think that everyone is interested in what he has to say and that he has some sort of magical sway over the masses? I don't get it. But it has to be the same reasoning that caused those same outlets to give me Jane Fonda's Twitter take on it: "I am stunned. My friend, Michael Jackson is dead. He lived with me for a week on "Golden Pond" set after "Thriller"." What?

I know you want more! More celebrity Twitters from celebrities that you don't give a fat rat's ass about what their opinion on Michael Jackson's death (just to name one thing that your don't want their opinion on)! I've got 'em! I do! Behold!

Alyssa Milano: Remember the first time you saw him moonwalk? RIP Michael Jackson. (Oh, good! I was dying to know what one of the cast of 'Who's the Boss' thought about Michael Jackson's death. Thank God for the media! We're saved!)

Kim Kardashian: Music will never be the same

Al Yankovic (Yes! Weird AL!): Oh man. Can't believe it. RIP Michael Jackson.

Katy Perry: Oh my God. (Succinct. I like that. I don't care about Katy Perry, but I like succinct.)

Sarah Silverman: Did you hear Michael Jackson's kids are free? That's not nice. I'm sorry. Ugh, I feel bad for saying that. LOOK A BLUE CAR! (Well, at least she didn't hold back.)

Miley Cyrus: michael jackson was my inspiration. love and blessings (Oh, my God!! YOUR inspiration was Michael Jackson?! Since WHEN? Talk about hopping on the bandwagon. That's awfully pathetic of you. Inspiration? Spare me.)

I had a conversation with, of all people, my brother about Jacko. He was asking the question of what, if any, other celebrity's death was going to be as "huge" as this one. Both of us came up with Elvis. I thought about John Lennon, but decided that wasn't quite at this magnitude. Then we expanded the question to redefine "celebrity" as just "well known". My brother said maybe the Pope and I thought perhaps JFK. But later, I think he hit on it (to no greater surprise to anyone other than myself! Trust me, he's not exactly the parallel making, deep thinking, conversationalist type. To say the least.) when he sent me a text that read "Princess Diana". This story could absolutely have that sort of reach. Jacko seems to be huge in Europe and the UK. (I'm only basing that on his upcoming concerts that sold over a million tickets in ten minutes. That's all.) I'd like to know how those folks are reacting to this. After all, Germany is a country where David Hasselhoff is the greatest thing since sliced bread, so who knows what's going to happen when they find out Michael Jackson has died.

I don't know how something like the reach of a celebrity death would be measured or compared, but that was good. I just hope I don't have to try to figure it out by watching cable news. In the end, Michael Jackson was definitely a strange ranger who, despite the multitude of problems and odd-ness that he had, was still adored and loved and probably respected by at least a gazillion people. And all of that is despite the usually unsaid label of 'pedophile' that accompanied him over the past ten or so years. Don't expect cable news to delve into why that is or ask someone standing outside of a Burger King why it is. (You know...Burger King. He was the King of Pop! Those are the sort of connections that cable news makes covering stories like this. That's why we're doomed.) But if you ask me, I think it's probably because, as strange as he was and as bizarre as he behaved, people understood why he was as messed up as he was. People understood that being a mega celebrity when you're a small child can really mess a person up. People understood that he had all the money anyone could ever need, but it couldn't buy him a real adult friend. And I'm not excusing all of the alleged pedophiling, nor am I saying that any of it is an excuse for all of the alleged pedophiling. All I'm saying is (and you certainly wouldn't know it judging from everyone swooning over Jon & Kate lately) that people understand that having your life on display for the entire world to watch and judge is going to do some funny things to some people. And while people might not have understood him as a person, I think that they understood enough that they could kind of forgive him for any untoward alleged acts involving underage children and that one ungloved hand of his.

The next time that we have to do a celebrity death times three, can the three be CNN reporters? MSNBC? Ah, just throw all of the names from cable news into a hat (and toss Brian Williams and Katie Couric in there just for kicks) and we'll draw our trio out when we're all good and recovered from the current three. Ed, Farrah, Michael....thanks for everything.

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1 comment:

La Belle Canadienne said...

Farah definitely got shafted.

Here the Michael all day on the radio...made me remember so many songs I grew up hearing..never was a big fan..but he did have some good tunes...

Ur totally right..who gives a shit what any of these "celebrities" have 2 say about this..wait til the funeral...i don't know if it can outshine Princess Di's but it will be close. Ashton is a tool.