So perhaps you've heard...
Michael Jackson is dead.
I figured, seeing as many of my earliest posts on this blog surrounded his infamous trial that I should probably say something.
No secret, I have no love for Jacko. I've pretty much never been a fan and I think that as much as his life was a disaster caused by his surroundings and success that he has to be held somewhat responsible for himself. He was an adult. There was a world of examples of healthy living surrounding him. If reality wasn't enough of a cue to him that he was way off the rails it doesn't fall to us to make everything alright for him.
I found the response to his death fascinating though. We'd all started the day shocked and tossed into mourning of Farrah (You know Farrah Fawcett died yesterday, don't you?) and then all of a sudden the grandaddy of thunder-heists occurs...
At roughly 3:30 I took a 'picture' of the trending words on Twitter:
according aim alive angeles arrest attack believe believing breathing cardiac cnn condition confirm confirmation confirmed confirming confirms cpr credible dead death deaths die died entertainer flash heart hospital hospitalized icons jacko jackson jacksons king legend los mcmahon michael michaeljackson micheal mike msnbc news overdose paramedics passed pop pray prayers reliable reported reporting reports rip rumors rushed sad saying shock shocked source sources suffered threes thriller tmz trending true ucla unconfirmed
I'm not sure about 'aim' or 'flash', but every other word on the list is somehow related to MJ's (then rumoured) death. Let's see what the list is RIGHT NOW (1:30 June 26th):
11k 2gb 5pm alley alot amar amendment att attempting attsucks bastard bb10 bitch bono boyz brown canada charge chatter chris cilic copy cubs district doubles dragon eastenders feat fees file gaga game glasto glastonbury haas hott hun jack kirk lady lakers lisa mack marie mario max messaging myhotwife mythbusters picked pls polo praising rite roaming robbery savage sharpton shut similar size specials stoudemire supernatural surfing taylor uploads voting wed winans
Hmmm... Sharpton, that's about Michael (more on Rev. Al in a moment). 'Lisa' and 'Marie' may be about Michael in tandem with one another... but I think Twitter is relatively done. But yesterday, his death practically broke Twitter.
That said, TweetDeck posts another 100 MJ tweets every 30 seconds.
Those who know me, know that I hold very little sacred. Death is not one of the things I do. Death is the most ubiquitous fact of life, yet we treat it with kids gloves. This is not to say that life is not precious, and it doesn't mean I would go spouting inappropriate comments to bereaved families. I just think that if we give death too much deference we give it too much power over our lives. Yes, this is an open invitation to treat my death with humour and irony and hopefully instant irreverence. I'm not promising a death worthy of the number of jokes I got out of Michael's demise yesterday - that would be a real challenge.
So there I was taking flak for my irreverent treatment of Farrah on Facebook when news of Michael came in....
I immediately switched to Michael and managed to come up with in the range of five times the amount of inappropriate comments... how many people complained about that? Not one. I find that interesting. Even I must admit that Jacko's accomplishments leave a long shadow across Farrah's, and yet it appears to be open season on him. Go figure.
A few more thoughts before I put this to bed for the moment...
A few absurd pieces of info... once again the "People die in threes" canard surfaces. It took all of five minutes before someone connected Ed McMahon, Farrah and Jacko on Twitter - if that long. So I guess the claims of three deaths at Noon that included David Carradine are now irrelevant? So what about David Carradine dying alone? (I mean without two others, not in the sense that he DID die alone.) What about David Wells? was he too unknown to count...? Or would that inconveniently make it four? What if someone dies today? Will that knock Ed McMahon off the trio 'cause he's too far away? - oh what a difference 24 hours can make! (June 28th Edit: Check and Mate - Billy Mays, obnoxious TV pitchman who you may not know the name of, but you know from commericals died.)
There was a similar tweeting of a list of celebrities who died on the 25th... of any month, not just June and of ABSOLUTELY ANY YEAR. Many of the lists only included African Americans, musicians, or African American Musicians (James Brown Dec 25th, Aaliyah Aug 25th, Left Eye Lopez, April 25th, Static Major Feb 25th.) Accompanying comments include "How random is dat?" "Creepy, huh?" "WTF? Is it a conspiracy?" "Weird, huh?" Allow me to answers those in order.... It's not random, it's cherry-picking. I'm betting I can find approximately 30 times the number of people who have died on different numbered days from exactly the same demographic sub-sets you are using. / Creepy? Fuck off and quit trying to make something of your cherry picked information that totally ignores the laws of large numbers. / No, it's not a fucking conspiracy. Why do you feel the need to victimize yourself by the thinnest of associations? You are just embarrassing yourself. / Weird? Yes. It is. It's weird that anyone can be bothered to make something out of such a meaningless and ultimately imagined pattern. But if you really want to talk about weird, let's go back to Michael Jackson...
In his address outside the Apollo, the Rev. Al Sharpton began with "I hope that finally Michael will be given the respect that he is due..." Let me put aside my acknowledged lack of respect and begin with "What the fuck are you on about? You mean, being labelled the King of Pop, being the fourth biggest selling artist of all time including the biggest selling album of all time (which incidentally rose to #1 on iTunes in the course of hours yesterday after the news broke.) isn't enough? But I just want to peek at one major boner - later on CNN he claimed "Michael Jackson did 'We are the World' before Live Aid." While technically correct, it implicitly skips right over the facts. 'We are the World' followed on the heels of the original famine-relief song by Band Aid on the UK 'Do They Know it's Christmas?' Sure, Reverend, let's make him out to be something more than what he was. Sigh.
I'm going to be curious what kind of information about his life gets revealed over the next several years. I think I'd prefer to not find out that his dealings with children were more questionable than the current official legal version, but I have no faith that that ground is safe. Similarly, I'm going to be curious to see how the trajectory of his children's lives go now that he is not a direct influence.
One last thing that amused me... the approximate time it took CNN to compare his death to Princess Diana's - one hour. Yeesh!
Okay, that's it, I'm off to go and respectfully listen to some Alien Ant Farm and jerk-off to a certain 70s pin-up poster, but for larfs... 3:10 PM... here's the latest trending topics on Twitter... Hmmm Jacksonville, but no Jackson.
allow amendment ana beck blue blvd boehner cocktail cspan cubs damage detention dinner dre executive filibuster findingthegood frank glenn gods hail helped hhrs hoyer indefinite jacksonville jax kaberle kisses leader leads lightning mythbuster netflix newsnight nhl plays preparing producer pulled punk rain raining recap rehearsal remembering reportedly revolt ross savage shade shine sirens springs stimulus storm suspects terror thunder thunderstorm tila tix tornado tornadoes tornados trial tsn unlimited warning waxman