Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson Is Dead

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a very happy man today. Ahmad Khatami, a hard-line Iranian cleric, has called for people protesting Ahmadinejad's re-election to be put to death. "They should be punished ruthlessly and savagely," he said, indicating that he wants the Iranian judiciary to charge the protesters as being "mohareb" or one who wages war against God. Under Iran's Islamic law, punishment for people convicted as mohareb is execution. But hardly anybody outside of Iran was aware of this because all of the major news outlets were devoting their time to covering the death of Michael Jackson.

Even South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford offered a prayer of thanks to Jesus Christ for making this event bury the story of his taxpayer funded adultery.

That's not to say that Michael Jackson wasn't a significant figure. In his prime, the man was a musical genius and was singularly responsible for revolutionizing the concept of the music video. In the 1980's, his product became the benchmark of pop production.

By most accounts, Jackson was severely abused as a child, and, due to this, went on to retreat completely into his fantasy world. Thanks to his vast fortune, this was something he could afford to do. He would never have to grow up or face what happened to him. What's more, his wealth allowed him to surround himself with yes-men who never questioned him, and never encouraged him to seek help. He alienated the people who truly cared about him, because they reminded him of his hurtful past. It's no wonder the man was on the crazy side of eccentric. You can't live a normal life under those circumstances.

Inevitably, the child molestation allegations will come up while discussing Michael Jackson. I'm disinclined to believe that there was any merit in them. Even the 1993 allegation reeks of extortion. Jackson's mistake was in settling it which created a perception that he was guilty and will forever tarnish his legacy more than any of his weird behaviors. It's easy to take a few shots at the guy because he has always made such a tempting target. You can't be so cozy with children who are not related to you and not expect some  push back from it. Some of my favorite tasteless jokes arising from Jackson's death are:
  • Michael Jackson suffered cardiac arrest due to a food allergy. When paramedics arrived, they found 13 year old nuts in his mouth.
  • Jackson was not breathing when paramedics arrived at his home. He had choked on a 9 year old weiner. 
  • He was taken to a children's hospital where he died of happiness.

Here's an image of CNN's coverage of Jackson's death. Stay classy, CNN!

 
In the end, whatever you think of Michael Jackson, good bad or indifferent, his music lives on and the world keeps spinning. When you wake up tomorrow, Iranian clerics will still be oppressing their people, U.S. politicians will still be lying to their constituants and you'll still be able to fire up a copy of "Thriller" to help you escape the absurdity of it all.

Oh yeah, Farrah Fawcett died yesterday too, in case you hadn't heard.

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