A buddy of mine works for a local radio station. They play a little music but mostly they take calls from listeners about whatever is the topic of the day. As he put it to me "we talk about what people want to talk about." The talk is not totally confined to the airwaves. As you might imagine the conversations tend to wander over to his Facebook page.
After the Micheal Jackson Memorial Show(I hesitate to call it a "service")- And technically speaking it wasn't even a memorial service since the earthly remains of the One Gloved One were present and resplendent with floral arrangements of sufficient extravagance to cause a mob boss to blush.-folks were invited to discuss their thoughts about the show. The consensus was that the children were heart rending, which they were. One lady liked Jermaine's song. Another person thought Brooke Shield's comments were moving and so on.
Being the helpful sort that I am, I allowed that this was certainly quite a sendoff for a child molesting deadbeat. For my two cents worth I was admonished not to deal in rumor and was reminding that only God can judge. True enough, I suppose. Except that Jackson admitted that he liked to sleep with children during an interview on 60 Minutes. And he supposedly paid one family 20 million bucks to make a civil case go away.
I just don't get the collective amnesia that produces what one commentator described as "ersatz grief" on a large scale such as what we witnessed last week. Stephen Colbert might describe it as "griefiness." Whatever you want to call it, I simply do not understand such an outpouring of attention, if not genuine affection for a truly strange ranger who gave creepiness a bad name.
Still, I confess to watching at least part of the show on the Internet for no other reason than it was "just completely fucked up" as my friend Don put it. And I'm glad that I did because it produced some moments of hilarity, such as:
Barry Gordy testifying to his love and affection for the departed entertainer. That's a good one. They had pretty much been in litigation since the Jackson 5 days.
Jackson as Christ Figure: " He taught us all how to love."
Al Sharpton assuring the children that their father wasn't strange. Noooooo. It is a normal thing for an African American man to want to alter his physical appearance in order to resemble a white woman.
The family wearing sunglasses indoors. Perhaps it's a California thing. I've seen Jack Nicholson in shades at Lakers games. I'll give them that.
The fact that they proceeded with this spectacle despite ever figuring out who was going to pay for the police security such an event would require. A civic event such as the visit from the Pope or a State Funeral is one thing and the taxpayers properly pick up the tab for these events. Despite the ludicrous comments from the family and Al Sharpton concerning Jackson's alleged contributions to mankind, this was not a State Funeral. When my Dad died we paid the police department to provide an escort as is the common practice. The Estate ought to have the common decency to pick up at least a portion of the tab for this unmitigated cluster. It says here that they won't.
Enough of all of this. We have not heard the last of MJ. His tangled affairs will keep lawyers employed for years. Depending on how hot the toxscreens come back, doctors may lose licenses, folks may wind up indicted. No. We have not heard the last of all this.
And to my Facebook friends who castigated me the other day, I close with the following rhetorical question:
Would you leave your kids alone with a guy that even remotely resembled Michael Jackson?
Try not to be judgmental.