Thursday, August 6, 2009

He's Dead But the Story is Not

I read an article in the Los Angeles Times which described some of the Michael Jackson memorabilia items which are likely to emerge in the near future as the folks who are involved with this get set to launch Jacko 2.0 - The Brand. I didn't get very far in the article before I couldn't help thinking that there are going to be an awful lot of disappointed people out there. Not so much the fans of Michael Jackson, but moreso the ones that think they're going to make Scrooge McDuck sized piles of money from various Jacko-related ventures. People just don't learn anything from anything, do they?

Remember the memorial service? In the few days preceding the event, we heard numbers tossed around by almost all of the news and media outlets that estimated the size of the crowd that would be converging upon Staples Center to be between 100,000 and half a million. It turned out that there ended up being more police than there did "mourners". I think a huge part of that was that the number of Michael Jackson "mourners" wasn't anywhere near what people thought it would be, period. Those coming up with the outrageous attendance predictions apparently forgot to factor a couple of things into their equation; those being child molestation trials One and Two. Who'd have thought that you could lose so much of your fan base simply by being accused of and charged with being a toucher of young boys. Go figure.

Here's how the article starts out. It seems...wishful. At best. Ahem....
"Moving quickly to capitalize on fans' appetite for anything related to Michael Jackson...." Um....the "appetite"? For ANYTHING related to Jacko? Perhaps y'all have forgotten, but see...we ATE. We ate a LOT. There's really not so much of an "appetite" left. Oh, sure, we might snack a bit here and there, but we're full. There's barely room for dessert. Yet the way these folks are acting, you'd think that we'd been starved for weeks.

There appear to be "...elaborate plans for merchandising deals, a tribute concert, a television special and even a traveling exhibition of Jackson memorabilia." OK, of all of those, the only one that I think most folks would have any interest at all in would be the Jackson memorabilia. And even then it's going to depend on what's in the exhibit and how much I'm willing to fork over to look at it. What's in the exhibit will determine the amount of money I think it's worth. Of course, include certain items in said exhibit and I'll pay any price. Things like:
  • At least one prosthetic nose
  • The hyperbaric chamber, preferably with Bubbles the Chimp sleeping in it (heck, throw Macaulay Culkin in there WITH Bubbles and the lines will never stop!)
  • An exact recreation of the bedroom he was in when he moonwalked himself into the arms of death, including the alleged IV-drip set up
  • Some of those wax mannequins that he had all throughout Neverland
  • A group of those prisoners from the Philippines just constantly doing the Thriller dance
What a great line up! That'd be awesome! (Why don't I do this for a living? Never mind. Continue.)

According to said article, there are "... proposals for embossed wine decanters, virtual tattoos and a high-end clothing line all bearing the Jackson brand." Wait. What? Wine decanters? You mean like this?

What the heck is his going to look like? THIS?

What is up with the wine decanters? Oh, right, because Jacko was SUCH the purveyor of decanter-ed wine! Please. And "virtual tattoos"? What are those? NOT tattoos? Wait. Virtual? Do you mean like on the computer? How in the heck do you folks figure to make money off of THOSE? That doesn't make any sense!

Entertainment Tonight is reporting that some of the other items will be "...Michael Jackson T-shirts, calendars, trading cards, lighters and stuffed animals that play the singer's music" as well as " video games, X-Box themes, cell phone screen savers, in addition to other digital items." OK, just stop. Hold everything! (Oh. We're talking about Michael Jackson, aren't we? Never mind. Don't hold everything. Just stop.)

X-Box themes? Because all of those Halo3 players out there want to immerse themselves in death and destruction with an X-Box looking all Jacko there in front of them? Right, because if it's one thing that's missing from the realness factor of video games, it's the presence of an item that reminds you of Michael Jackson. (We could have been done in Iraq YEARS ago if we had just thrown in the Michael Jackson factor!) And cell phone screen savers? Who has their phone on long enough for the screen saver to pop up? Aside from (allegedly) Dr. Conrad Murray? Who else has their phone on for a long period of time but isn't using it? No one!

What else is there? Lighters? Michael Jackson lighters? Does it look like Jacko when he did the Pepsi commercial and you go to flick it and the fire shoots up through the head so it looks like his hair is on fire? That'd be strange. (Oh, I'd want to see it all right, but it'd still be strange. I'm just sayin'.)And can you just imagine the transactions that would go on with the trading cards? "Here, I'll give you two of when he was white for one of when he was black." "Hey! This one isn't Michael! This is LaToya! Gimme back Bubbles!"

Aside from the fact that I really don't think that there are that many people clamoring for this type of stuff, there's already a huge black market for stuff like this which can cheaply take care of the basic T-shirt for most folks. With a few exceptions, if you own anything besides a shirt and/or some albums, you're going to be seen as a bit of a strange ranger. If you own any of the things I'm about to show you, you're just a freak. It's that simple. How else do you explain someone who has a pair of the Thriller headphones? Behold!

Oh, what the hell is that? They're just what I said. Thriller headphones. Headphones with the video "Thriller" depicted on them. Headphones showing Thriller. Not quite doing it for you? Perhaps some Michael Jackson nesting dolls will suit your fancy. See how he changes over time on the containers and morphs from a young black man into an old white woman. Behold!

Or maybe you're the type who would like to shower with Jacko. Wait. That sounded funny. Never mind. Behold!

And finally, my personal favorite: The Michael Jackson California Raisin figurine. Behold!

Ah, yes. What better way to immortalize a fall pop superstar than to Claymation him into a little California dried fruit knick-knack. But that aside, the point here really has been that I think that the folks who think they're going to be heading straight for the bank after the release of Michael Jackson branded products are going to be sorely disappointed with the meagerness of their sale. It doesn't even seem as if their suggested product line up even comes close to matching up to the caliber of the non-authorized items. They're going to need to come up with something that can at least go head to head with the nesting dolls.

Yeah. Good luck with THAT. This will not end well, but stay tuned to find out someday, won't ye?

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