Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My Five Cents: The Michael Jackson Memorial...

Sadly most of my thoughts while watching the memorial for Michael Jackson live on MTV (couldn't even watch it in HD because those a-holes at ABC News NY decided it would be smart to offer commentary over the performances) had to do with the spectacle that surrounded such a troubled artist. Jackson was as flamboyant in life as he was controversial, but it seems like his family (namely his brother Jermaine) could not be content until such behavior was shrouded by the ostentatiousness of his death. I was an MJ fan, too (see embarrassing photo below where I tried my six or seven year old best to imitate him in a mini apartment concert), but I do not think his passing-- as untimely as it may have been-- warranted a four million dollar funeral that the taxpayers of Los Angeles will be responsible for, while the city accrues other debts and has to cut school and police force funding. I also found it quite unnecessary (and creepy) to wheel in a gold plated coffin, even if it was empty and simply symbolic).

I was more thrilled than most to hear Mariah sing "I'll Be There" for Michael, perhaps one last time. And I was even more thrilled to see Trey Lorenz shine along stage with her, though it was unfortunate that it took such a tragedy to give him his due moment in the spotlight. It was refreshing to hear the usually flawless performer crack as she teared up remembering not the legend but the man, and it was even more refreshing that she did not choose to sing one of her own ("Bye Bye"-- because as fitting as that song might have been, it would have come across as shameless promotion, much like how "Never Too Far" would have in the 9/11 aftermath. Man, that woman has awful release date timing!).


It was touching to hear memories of Jackson from those who worked with him before (like Smokey Robinson and Magic Johnson), but I couldn't help but wonder where his so-called closest friends were. Macauley Culkin, Lisa Marie Presley, and Elizabeth Taylor were nowhere to be found. Instead, I had to suffer through an increasingly self-indulgent monologue from Brooke Shields, in which she basically outed Jackson as being the perfect gay best friend. I would have preferred to hear Janet speak over Jermaine (or Jermaine's singing!), but I understand she was a bit too sedated for words. Still, I can't help but think that whatever she'd say, slurred or not, would have been more eloquent or profound than the secret family revelations her brother Marlon decided to spill at the most inopportune of times. Those other Jacksons are still fame hungry, but it's just not right to use the death of one for the others to profit.

It was, however, extremely heartwarming to see his children (who look oddly like the offspring of Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos, btw! and even if the eldest, Prince Michael, seemed bored and out of place, chewing gum and tossing his hair ala Sebastian from NYC Prep), but I couldn't help but think the family should have adorned the kids in memorial masks or veils one last time and in honor of their father who is probably rolling over in his grave at how much face time they are getting in the press (seriously, did anyone see the cover of the NY Post? I wanted to find a copy already scanned to post the somewhat disturbing image online, but to no avail). Little Paris' speech was the only time I teared up during the two hour miniseries (sure to be available on iTunes and DVD soon; AEG could use a little extra cash, after all!), and I truly wish those kids all of the luck in the world. They are certainly going to need it.

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