Michael Jackson still dead!

Questions like this one from Ann Althouse make me feel so out of touch that they hurt my self esteem:

I'm watching the Michael Jackson Memorial. Isn't everybody?
Um, no. I didn't even know it was on TV. While I did take a brief peek at the set earlier it was only to read the TCM guide to see what might be worth recording in the next 24 hours. One was "Grass" -- a 1925 silent documentary about Persian nomads, and the other was "Thoroughbreds Don't Cry" a 1937 film about a racing jockey starring Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland and Sophie Tucker. I think Persian nomads and Sophie Tucker are more interesting than the comings and goings of Michael Jackson's brainless corpse (with all respect to the talent he had while alive).

Besides, today is the 69th birthday of Ringo Starr. I think that's about as worthy of my attention as the funeral of another musician I didn't care for as much.

However, this rant by Congressman Peter King makes me almost want to defend Jackson:

"For the last, I don't know how long now, this low-life Michael Jackson, his name, his face, his picture, is all over the newspapers, television, radio. That's all we hear about is Michael Jackson. Let's knock out this psycho-babble. This guy was a pervert, a child molestor, he was a pedophile, and to be giving this much coverage to him day in and day out, what's it say about us a country?"


"Yes, he did violate young boys. He did put them in terribly inappropriate positions. And that's a terrible signal to be sending out to society -- that we're somehow condoning that behavior. And you are condoning it when you give him the type of --- when we give him the type of regal coverage! And millions of people fighting to get to this mega-memorial! I mean, this is --- this is wrong!"

I don't know that it says anything about a country, any more than the fact that Giuliani shook hands with Jackson says anything about Giuliani, or that funeral hype "condones" behavior of which the man was never convicted. Besides, a number of experts don't think Jackson was a pedophile. What is undeniable now that he's dead is that from this point forward, he will never, ever molest any child. If his overwrought critics really do care about America and the need to avoid seeming to condone pedophilia, I think it would better serve their cause (and their country) to say he wasn't a pedophile than to insist that something unprovable is true so they can turn around and blame America for "condoning" what Jackson denied being. (Vehemently. The way some people talk, you'd think he was the president of NAMBLA.)

So, much as I find all the Michael Jackson hype tedious (and have said so), I'm glad I didn't happen to really care all that much for his music, because if I did, some asshole would probably accuse me of condoning pedophilia. And contributing to a climate of hype, of course. (Am I not doing that by talking about Jackson right now?)

Blaming Americans for hype is about as silly as blaming them for advertising.

UPDATE: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link -- especially for helping to bring into public focus the elusive news that Michael Jackson is still dead. (It may take time for this truth to sink in.)

A warm welcome to all. Comments invited -- agree or disagree.

posted by Eric on 07.07.09 at 05:24 PM


Sophie Tucker? Seems suspicious to me.

The Great Sophie Tucker

M. Simon   ·  July 7, 2009 5:30 PM

OK! OK! It was just a joke.

M. Simon   ·  July 7, 2009 5:33 PM

You may be onto something there....

Eric Scheie   ·  July 7, 2009 5:36 PM

And another thing why no Liza Minnelli?

Live from Radio City Music Hall

M. Simon   ·  July 7, 2009 7:25 PM

I did not watch the spectacle. If other folks wanted to, hey, it's a slice of time out of their lives, not mine. "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough" and "Human Nature" are very good pop songs, and they hold up 25+ years later, but they're not good enough for me to tune in.

It's interesting. When he died, Elvis was eight years younger than Michael Jackson. Elvis was still running songs up the Top 40. They weren't getting far up, but they were charting. Elvis even had a song on the pop charts on the day he died. Michael Jackson hadn't had a hit since 2001. Yet, for some reason, people "in the know" still think of Elvis having been an old, fat, washed-up has-been when he died. Not so Michael Jackson. Of course, Jackson was skeletal, and not fat. But he was older, more washed-up, and more hasser-beenner than Elvis has ever been. But that's not the way it's been played in the celebrity-sucking media. Why's that?

Rhodium Heart   ·  July 7, 2009 7:56 PM

Jackson's Current Status

Beat ya to it! :)

Alan Kellogg   ·  July 7, 2009 9:47 PM

It's a tough call as to whether Jackson really had sexual involovement with the boys in question. The idea that they were just out for money is both plausible and believed by a number of knowledgable people.

But someone did make a good, ir rather creepy, point....

Jackson "cared so much about the children", surrounded himself with them, etc.

Did anyone EVER see Michael Jackson "hanging out" with... a little girl? Ever? Except in the most superficial sense? Hmmmmm.

Whatever happened, Michael Jackson "cared for and comforted" the (boy) children because that is what Michael Jackson wanted to do, for whatever reasons he had, extending from harmless to ..... well...... decidedly not harmless. The kids were basically just more toys to play with.

That is narcissm magnus.

Andrew X   ·  July 7, 2009 10:47 PM

MJ is doing his part for the stimulus. He was one of the first 'shovel ready' projects.

Chuck   ·  July 8, 2009 10:25 AM

Michael Jackson whined about how he was deprived of a normal childhood by his stagedoor father but he went on to deliberately deprive his own children of a normal childhood (school, friends, a stable domicile). I suppose his excuse was that children of a celebrity of his magnitude could not ever have a normal childhood - in which case, why did he insist on having children? It seems supremely narcissistic.

Also, Michael may have been on stage and working bars and clubs at the age of 5, but the Jackson 5 did not audition for Motown until 1968, when Michael was 10 years old. While he may have spent a lot of time rehearsing and performing, the family still lived in Gary and Michael still went to a normal school. I'm sure he had friends and played during recess. I suspect that his childhood was a bit more normal than the myth portrays.

The canonization of MJ by the black community is also perplexing. He could have adopted an African child like Madonna or Angelina, or adopted an African American child awaiting a stable home.

Instead he paid a white woman to get artificially inseminated so as to produce blonde, blue eyed children.

Ronnie Schreiber   ·  July 8, 2009 11:14 AM

Jackson has been on the news pretty much every day for the past couple of weeks. Outside of that, I don't know anyone who has talked much about him, except for the day he died. Then I heard people talk about his music, or repeat some of the funny buy tasteless jokes that circulate about him. What I want to know, is this everyone else's experience, or have real non-TV people cared about this 'story' more than the first few days?

Sam Spade   ·  July 8, 2009 11:35 AM

Oo! Oo! I just saw Michael Jackson going into a local Walgreens! He's not dead after all!

I thought I would be the first to issue an "MJ is Still Alive" rumor...just like Elvis...

Mad Capn Bob   ·  July 8, 2009 12:25 PM

Dang it, now I'm annoyed I missed "Grass" on TCM. I think I'd have enjoyed watching that.

Bryan C   ·  July 8, 2009 12:49 PM

Capn Bob: Zombie Michael Jackson? How can you tell?

Paul   ·  July 8, 2009 12:51 PM

I think I just saw Michael Jackson floating down a swollen Persian river with a goat, on a raft made from sticks and sewn, inflated animal hides.

If none of you have ever seen the movie "Grass" mentioned above, it is a must see and completely amazing when you consider how the nomads lived, not to mention what that camera crew must have gone through to get that footage at that period of time.

Mark   ·  July 8, 2009 1:00 PM

Two big phony myths about Michael Jackson (which a surprising number of brain-dead YouTube commenters on his videos insist are true) :

1) He is screwed up because he missed his childhood. FALSE.

His siblings Marlon, Randy and Janet had the same childhood, with the same exposure. None of them have such unusual traits. If anything, Janet should be the most screwed up person. But she is not.

2) All of his physical changes are due to Vitiligo. FALSE.

His vitiligo was an excuse to change is nose, eyes, hair, etc. None of those are affected by vitiligo. Most dark people with vitiligo just put brown makeup on and look normal.

It is amazing how many of his fans refuse to admit that Michael Jackson has 5 brothers who all look like middle-aged black men.

GK   ·  July 8, 2009 1:24 PM

"Instead he paid a white woman to get artificially inseminated so as to produce blonde, blue eyed children."

Michael Jackson wanted to be white. Both himself, and he wanted his children to be white. There is no sense avoiding this point.

Which is odd. More than anyone else except perhaps Bill Cosby, Michael Jackson transcended race and had fans of all races. If anything, he did more for black acceptance than almost anyone.

Yet, he wanted to be white.

GK   ·  July 8, 2009 1:29 PM

I don't think suicide through drug overdose can be totally ruled out.

For someone like him, the thought of turning 50 was probably depressing. The lack of success relative to his youth was equally depressing.

GK   ·  July 8, 2009 1:31 PM

"The canonization of MJ by the black community is also perplexing."

It is not perplexing at all, once you recognize that a lot of black people (particularly black women) secretly wish they were white.

How many black women get their hair straightened, nose and lips altered, etc. to look less black? Many of them.

Toads   ·  July 8, 2009 1:33 PM

"And another thing why no Liza Minnelli?"
- - - -

I hear they tried, but she kept screaming "I'm not dead yet! Let me out!"

bobby b   ·  July 8, 2009 2:27 PM

Hey, Liza can do cemetery, mausoleum or ash-scattering. She's a triple threat!!

Judy Garland   ·  July 8, 2009 3:36 PM

We didn't watch it or any TV and hype surrounding it. We do find ourselves able to enjoy his music and videos again after well over a decade of being vaguely repulsed and annoyed by his notoriety of late. Jackson was an astonishing performer and a musical genius. Now that he's dead, his music (and videos) stand on their own. But the hoopla and wailing fans and hype are gross.

But it's nice to hear some of his older songs now and just really enjoy them. It's nice to remember the "innocence" of the 80s.

Peg C.   ·  July 8, 2009 4:27 PM

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