The entire weekend seems to have been Michael Jackson! Michael Jackson! Michael Jackson! Michael Jackson! Billy Mays? …err…. Michael Jackson! Michael Jackson! Michael Jackson!
The news media once again shows incredible irresponsibility and a total inability to grasp the bigger picture. The Czar agrees that MJ was a major phenomenon 25 years ago, and was a bit of a series of smaller news stories 15 years ago. He warrants his hour on the news this weekend.
But the incessant coverage, the interviews with people who knew him no better than a valet who parks your car, the blatantly manufactured groups of people massing in the streets (the Czar hated the implication that thousands of people in every city of the world were massing together to celebrate his life and music…and loved the sweeping crane shot on one major network, showing crowds of people singing with the two fatal words file footage at the bottom of the screen), and the looped images of him on various red carpetsall these have prompted people to ask the Czar why?
Let us not be sugar-coated here. Jackson was not a glorious figure. He was far from the most talented singer, he couldnt really play any instrument, took credit for dance moves developed by paid choreographers, and his songs generally consisted of basic spins on simple R&B riffs. His genius consisted of exploting the recording industry to make millions. Seriously: you could hand Michael a dead raccoon, and he would find a way to get fifty million for it from MTV. This is not to humiliate him: this is to acknowledge that he was gifted in controlling the industry to an unprecendented degree (Madonna came close).
But he was also a frightening travesty of humanity: he physically deformed himself, suffered from no end of self-inflicted disorders, had no ability to discern between friends and dangerous people, or discern between smart actions and dangerous ones. He was appalling, insulated from help, and landed somewhere between criminal and somewhat malevolent: time will tell. For each person celebrating his life with dancing and music, there are perhaps fifty people who think That pitiful SOB needed a good punch in the face.
So why is the media obsessing about him? Follow along.
The media obsesses over anything that is more popular than they are. MJ trumps Ed McMahon and David Carradine for that reason.
The media was unprepared. They had all their video montages and scrapbooks ready for Farrah Fawcett because her passing was so clearly imminent. But MJ caught them off guard and they had nothing ready. So MJ trumps Farrah.
The producers and anchors think they knew Michael. They listed to his music, danced to his moves, and some of them may have even interviewed him. Iran is a million miles away, and they probably speak some other language there. Some non-English-speaking person dying in the street? Cant relate to her, but sure remember where I was when Bad came out. So MJ trumps Iran.
See the pattern? Its okay if you dontits quite subtle. Basically, all three points share the idea that the news media are a bunch of self-absorbed pricks. They worry about anyone or anything that has more followers, like the 14-year-old freshman girl who obsesses over the popular cheerleader clique, and what they think or say. The news media was embarrassed that they werent right on top of MJ. They took their eyes off him for a second, and pow: Jackson dies. They have to make up for it, because They Were In Charge, and They Failed to Call It. Omigod, the freshman girl says, I cant believe he died. Omigod. And three, they dont care what you think, or what you feel is important. Only what they, in their vain, shallow, and selfish way, care. Consider again that 14-year-old freshman girlparents are fighting over dads lost job, and shes angrily staring in the mirror at this zit that just showed up the day before class pictures. Ask her what the worst thing is she can think of, and she will point right to the mirror.
Once again, this stopped being about Jackson around…maybe…5:00 on Thursday afternoon. Since then, it has all been about the news media gazing into its mirror. Yes, you feel annoyed and even disgusted with the endlessly fawning coverage (cough, cough, Barack?), and why? Because it is the news media themselves becoming the story.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.