03 July 2009

All Jacko - All The Time

Don't get me wrong, I think Michael Jackson was one hell of a performer who wielded tremendous influence over the oxymoronic phenomena known as pop culture; but, I, as sure as God made little green apples, do not think of him as a cultural icon.

He was still a relatively young man who had squandered his talent, his wealth, his influence, his prestige and obviously his health; and, who on a number of occasions, bought or "lawyered up" his way out of jams which can at the very best and most tactfully be described as "inappropriate behavior" with young boys.

The current media frenzy brings to mind a ghastly editorial cartoon from the seventies, shortly after Elvis died. It showed an Elvis appearing cadaver suspended on the stage by puppet strings from the cat-walk above while one stage hand remarks to another, "See, nobody gets out of a contract with the colonel".

I have watched for about week, it seems longer somehow, as newspapers and legitimate newscasts have led hour-in and hour-out with some new detail or aspect of Jackson's death and life. Instead of focusing on the real news of the hour we are subjected to yet another view of Jackson moon-walking, crotch-clutching, "thrilling", dangling his baby in mid-air from a balcony several stories up, or as a small boy with the Jackson 5.

No Michael, there is no getting out of your contract with a mindless and brain dead public pandered to by what we laughingly call the media. For crying out loud, even the once venerable PBS news cornerstone 'News Hour with Jim Lehrer" has become part of it---and, I think even I, in this blog am now part of it.

Did you know that Jackson held the patent on a prop shoe design that allowed the wearer to appear to defy gravity by leaning toward the floor at ridiculous angles without losing balance?

No? Well neither did I until Katie Courick of the CBS Evening News so informed me one recent evening. You know what? I don't care and would much rather she had informed us of which Senators opposing the Public Option health plan or Medicare reform had gotten major contributions from insurance or drug companies.

Now, I understand that the sweet, gentle, tormented soul known as Michael Jackson will not be interred until next Tuesday while his family milks the attention and limelight trying to figure out yet another way to extract a dime from his corpse and estate.

No, nobody breaks their contract with the public. Not Elvis, not Jacko, not anyone, and it's a damned shame and it is our fault that we permit it.

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