Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Did you ever say something critical about someone who had just died, and another person told you that you should be more respectful because the person "wasn't even in the ground yet"? Well, now that Michael Jackson is presumably in the ground or headed there very shortly (unless his head is being frozen somewhere, a la Ted Williams), I'd like to say that the amount of attention paid to his death by the media was beyond ridiculous. I do understand that he "did Thriller" and was a music icon. But the level of fawning and hyperbole at Jackson's memorial service boggled the mind. Magic Johnson, who has never been the sharpest tool in the shed, said that watching Michael Jackson made him a better basketball player. Huh? And then there was this from the Rev. Al Sharpton: "Those young kids grew up from being teenage, comfortable fans of Michael’s to being 40 years old and being comfortable to vote for a person of color to be president of the United States. Michael did that. Michael made us love each other." Now, Sharpton is an idiot of epic proportion, and he and the truth have not always been on the best of terms, but really? A co-worker heard someone else say - and they weren't kidding - that Jackson was "the greatest figure of love and peace in the history of the world." Sorry, Jesus. You're No. 2 now. But I saved the best for last, and it's once again from Sharpton, who told Jackson's three children that "your daddy wasn't strange." OK, I have to call "shenanigans" on that one. What we had with Jackson was one of THE strangest people to inhabit the Earth during my lifetime. We can debate all day whether he was a child molester. But it's pretty clear that he was a druggie who probably took so much "legal" dope that he killed himself. He also was a guy who was once good-looking and black, and at the end of his life, he was a circus freak who made Clay Aiken look like 50 Cent. And while I give the guy his props as a onetime "King of Pop," those days were long gone. Jackson hadn't been a major player on the music scene for close to 20 years, during which time he became a public joke. Some called him the greatest and most influential artist in the history of popular music, but wouldn't you think the greatest artist ever would have continued to be productive and relevant past the age of 35? And there are plenty of other people - Lennon and McCartney, Buddy Holly, Kurt Cobain, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Brian Wilson, to name a few - who were every bit as influential. It's sad that Michael Jackson is dead, and that his life since the mid-90s had been a downward spiral. But there's really no one to blame for that but Michael Jackson, and maybe those who raised him and enabled him. Just a sad story with a final act that was way too loud and long.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't quite fathom why all the broadcast networks, along with CNN, MSNBC, etc., broadcast the memorial service live. Yeah, he was a big-time celebrity (more known for being known than for anything he actually did since about 1987 or so), but when the dust clears, he was no more important to music than Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, John Lennon, etc. In fact, I would argue that those three were more important, and their deaths didn't receive this level of round-the-clock coverage.

As for Sharpton's comments, I don't think a guy who was so visibly ambivalent about his own skin color played any role in Obama's election. That's hyperbole, to say the very least.

--Brad Hundt

July 8, 2009 at 4:13 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

That is the absolute epitome of hyperbole!

LoL :-)

July 8, 2009 at 4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you said it, not when many others would make a public comment.

a) he was a druggie
b) a lot of crazy things with kids
c) he could dance and sing

c doesn't mean we should forget a and b.


July 8, 2009 at 4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I very seldom agree with you, but this time you are right on target. Well written and very enjoyable to read.

July 8, 2009 at 5:08 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Thanks. Who knows, sometime in the next few months, we might agree again. ;-)

July 8, 2009 at 5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brant, you are so much fun to read! Loved this one!

I posted elsewhere on the OR site this comment...the Jackson family should be paying all the city expenses associated with the memorial service, shouldn't they? I heard that Jackson's estate is expected to reap $50 million per year - I think the family can afford the expenses of police etc. associated with the memorial show that, in my opinion, was designed to redeem his reputation and keep sales going of his music. It was one huge commercial for him and for the stars who performed.

On another note, I thought the Jackson's looked like the Black Maffia when they all went onstage wearing shades. They looked ridiculous.

I liked the message of Michael's songs and I'm sure he had his good points and as usual the media focused on all his weird, fascinating, crazy behavior because that's what's interesting. But I sure agree with you about the overblown hyperbole at the service. He didn't just moonwalk, I guess he walked on water too.

Sorry this is so long.

July 8, 2009 at 6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree with you more, Brant. I did use the 'sad' occasion for my gain, however. My Thriller album sold for $20 on eBay!

July 8, 2009 at 6:22 PM  
Blogger Mike Jones said...

To go with your point, Brant... Those in the newspaper business are probably now referring to him as "Saint Michael"

If you've ever written a homicide story, you'll know what I mean.

July 8, 2009 at 7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mike jones, you are still a dork. sheesh. right brant? you still like me brant? brant? brant? are we cool?

July 8, 2009 at 9:02 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

I guess the (financial) future's so bright, the Jacksons had to wear shades.

July 8, 2009 at 9:16 PM  
Blogger Mike Jones said...

No doubt, anon. But at least I have the balls to put my name next to my comments.

July 8, 2009 at 9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

an stupid for putting your pic up! what if you want to become cheer captain next year!? LOL

July 8, 2009 at 9:24 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Jonesie is a hit dude. If I looked half as good as him, I'd look twice as good as you :-)

July 8, 2009 at 9:32 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...


damn cell phone

July 8, 2009 at 9:32 PM  
Blogger Mike Jones said...

It's all good, E. I wouldn't mind being a hit dude.

And cheer captain? Really? That's the best you can do? Wow...

July 8, 2009 at 10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For all can see that wise men die; the foolish and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others.

But man, despite his riches, does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish. This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. Like sheep they are destined for the grave, and death will feed on them. ...

Psalm 49:10-14

July 9, 2009 at 8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't really pay attention to MJ when he was alive, so I paid little attention to the funeral. As for "respect for the dead," he was talented, but also wacked out. Why mince words now that he's dead? Does death make somone suddenly "normal?" And if so, is Saddam Hussein suddenly a good guy?

The media furor was not unexpected and far exceeded that over Elvis and John Lennon. But back when they died the cable news 24/7 ideal was not yet in full bloom.

The funniest thing I heard during the last week was a Fox News commentator complaining about the Jackson-fed "media circus." I had to wonder if he was hiding his ringmaster's top hat and tails under his desk.

Here's a little side note, which I found in a Washington Post article about another celebrity funeral that produced a public frenzy:

"10,000 people attended the funeral and many took lumps of dirt from the grave."

The dead celebrity was John Dillinger.

July 9, 2009 at 10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The rich are very different." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald.

To which George Bernard Shaw supposedly replied, "Yes ... they have more money."

July 9, 2009 at 10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would that be like George Bush the cheerleader?

July 9, 2009 at 1:43 PM  
Blogger Dawn Keller said...

I'm so glad I was on my honeymoon last week and missed most of the coverage.
That being said, I think it's a business decision on the part of networks and newspapers. People complain, but look how many people watched his memorial ...
If it wasn't expected to be a ratings juggernaut, they wouldn't have done it.

July 9, 2009 at 4:46 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Of course, there was a day when newsworthiness determined whether something was covered and how much ink or time it was given. Of course, that could be influenced by a particular editor or news director's personal feelings on the story, but there was a standard of some sort. Those days are long gone. The ratings and the almighty dollar now hold sway. Journalistic integrity has become an oxymoron. Anybody watch what passes for local television news these days? If it bleeds, it leads. Or, more accurately, if they had good video, it leads. The merits of the story, itself, are secondary.

July 9, 2009 at 6:34 PM  
Blogger jennifer said...

and hardly a mention of farrah fawcet,who was/still is a very beautifull women,and one i always wanted to be "just like when i grew up" a small town girl who made it big,and proved she was more than just looks. no monkeys or theme parks,or over nights with strangers kids,just hard work,and a decent life,what a shame,freaks and weridos get all the attention,,what agood message to all the young folks out there,,

be a freak,do werid things,take drugs,make it big,,live a clean decent life,die a nobody

July 14, 2009 at 8:30 AM  

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