The moment had finally arrived. I was able to sit down, stress free and engage in some much needed TV therapy. My eyes were wide and I was ready for anything; educational, trashy, foreign – you name it. For the first time in a long time, I approached watching television with a zeal that I thought was only reserved for Saturday morning cartoons in my former life. My moment of glory however came to a screeching halt once I turned on the TV. Much to my chagrin I was face to face with the king himself and the reality that the media still panders to the masses. Their response upon his passing was a reaction to the on-line upheaval that it caused. All of the sudden everyone was surfing the web. His death nearly brought down several social networking sites such as Twitter and almost the Internet in its entirety. After that, the media wasted no time. Every talking head out there was waxing poetic on Michael Jackson. I was convinced I was in the twilight zone after hearing Larry King utter the name Blanket as casually as one would say John, Jack or Pete. All of the sudden everyone was not only beside themselves but so understanding. The same people who ostracized him just months before, condemned him with impunity for both personal and social choices, were now ingratiating themselves into the mourning of his death. They provide a caliber of coverage I naively assumed would be reserved for the person who found the cure for AIDS.
I recognize the sadness of the situation. Both my heart and my condolences go out to his family and fans. The loss of a loved one and an icon are never easy things to grieve. I speak from experience. I mourned the loss of the King of Pop back in the early 90s when he admit publicly that it was okay to share a bed with a small boy...one that he was not even related to. Cue the ever awkward and uncomfortable sound of crickets. It seems, however, that most have forgotten about that little snafu. His sovereignty was a fallacy and I promised myself then that I would never purchase his music or merchandise for fear that I would be funding a child's ticket to the Never Land Ranch.
Now, die hard fans will ALWAYS retaliate with the claims that such abuse was never proven. Well, the 20,000 dollar bribe offered to the family to drop the suit is telling enough for me. A run of the mill, middle class man would not be entitled to such ready understanding if he shared a bed with his son's friend. However, these circumstances weren't all that ordinary. After all, this was the King of Pop. From a young age, he sang, dance and acted his way into the hearts of many including mine. Some say that he brought races together in harmony, which is probably true since the majority of musical acts do. Concerts often attract a variety of demographics. I recognize his singing and dancing skills yet almost all video shots of him these days are of his 'ground breaking dance moves' - him twirling and grabbing his junk. I'll give him the moonwalk and the lean. They never had my father convinced and they convince me less and less these days. Obviously they are still invoking reaction from the masses because the media plays them ad nauseum. The slightly modified definition of 'king' is noted as a person, animal, or thing considered to be the best or most important of its kind. I do not see that correlation here and due to this collective malfunction my worries increase about the message we are sending. On a lesser note, my TV therapy sessions are confined to the Golf channel, the Food Network and TCM. In the words of Peter Griffin, it grinds my gears.