Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Michael Jackson memorial service upstaged by Paris's tears

Over at NJ.com, I have some thoughts on Michael Jackson's memorial service. I had to watch it for work; what did the rest of you who watched think?

64 comments:

Craig Ranapia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig Ranapia said...

What did I think? 11 year-old Paris being "nudged forward" to cry for a sold out crowd might not have been child abuse on the part of the people who are supposed to love and protect her, but it was pretty damn close.

It also provides more evidence, if any is needed, that the Jackson clan are totally devoid of a sense of irony (considering how fraking damaged Paris' father was by the absence of a childhood or a private life), self-awareness, or common human decency.

Never mind, I'm sure the ratings and the flow on effects on the estate's bottom line will be spectacular -- and that's all that matters. Right? Because the human dignity and grief of a little girl who had just lost her father didn't seem high on anyone's priorities.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I could certainly view it that way, Craig, but at the same time, if I'm an 11-year-old kid who truly loved her daddy and knows all the awful things people are saying about him, I might have wanted to take my one opportunity to plead his case to the world.

It was uncomfortable, and the family probably should have had the good judgment to not let her do it -- or they should have if they weren't all crazy and lacking in self-awareness -- but I also didn't get the sense that Paris had to be talked into doing it.

Craig Ranapia said...

Alan:

You might be right, though I guess it ultimately comes down to one of those "known unknowns" Donald Rumsfeld used to like talking about.

And I hope I don't come across as slamming an eleven-year-old child -- I can't even begin to imagine how thoroughly s***y it must be to lose a parent at that age. And I certainly hope she's blissfully unaware of the more stomach-turning details of the abuse allegations made against her father.

But surely its a no-brainer that it was neither the time nor the place for a childish effort at image rehabilitation? Sometimes, being a parent or a loving adult is about saying "no".

Omagus said...

I thought that it was a rather well done memorial service right up until Congresswoman Jordan's part. That seemed just a little too self-serving and it really took me out of the whole thing...until Paris Jackson's few short sentences.

That might have been the most uncomfortable thing that I have ever had to watch in my life. However, I don't blame the family at all because I think that she wanted to speak. And in the big picture, I think it was necessary. It reminded us that, while we lost an entertainer and controversial figure, there are a few people who lost a family member. And three young children lost a father. Nothing he did in life ever made Michael Jackson seem as human as the words his daughter spoke today.

Thumbs up also go to Brooke Shields and Magic Johnson for also providing perspectives of Jackson that most of us never got to see.

J said...

I'd like to think that, were Michael still alive, he'd be aghast that ABC bumped tonight's Better Off Ted rerun off the air in favor of a prime time memorial service summary.

Paris' appearance could be seen as iffy, but at least they did not shove her out there with a stick. She was pretty tightly encircled by family, and hopefully everyone on the planet will have the good sense not to chase the poor thing around for a follow-up. The first network that touts an exclusive for badgering the man's children should be firebombed. We just keep forgetting our mistakes over and over again.

Anonymous said...

Stop talking nonesense about child abuse. Its her dad and she wouldnt get a chance to share how she fells anyways.... a lot of people's hope is that she will be taken away from the Jackson family. Some even say she dont look like them..... news is - she has MJ's DNA in her dont matter how the kids look like.....the kids will never be given to that woman who didnt give a shit a few weeks ago. So u all make your case...you'll never win.

Kimmy said...

Alan,

I was intrigued, so I watched about thirty minutes while at work. I was move by some of the performances, and by Smokey Robinson. Paris did bring tears to my eyes. She looks like a lovely young lady. I truly believe that she needed and wanted to speak about her dad. She wanted everyone to know that she loved her dad no matter what. Years from now, I feel that she will be a great testimony to the good side of Michael Jackson. The side none of us saw.

PJ said...

I lost my Dad when I was young. I insisted I get the chance to speak at his funeral because I wanted to whole damn world to know what a great person he was and how much I loved him, and I didn't let anyone talk me out of it.

Craig Ranapia said...

However, I don't blame the family at all because I think that she wanted to speak.

Omagus: With all due respect, you don't know that any more than Alan or I do. We just hope she wasn't coerced or pressured into it, because that would be too fraked up for words.

And in the big picture, I think it was necessary. It reminded us that, while we lost an entertainer and controversial figure, there are a few people who lost a family member. And three young children lost a father. Nothing he did in life ever made Michael Jackson seem as human as the words his daughter spoke today.

Um, so you weren't aware that Jackson had three children before Paris did her turn? As I said, perhaps making her father "seem human" shouldn't have been the priority; the dignity and well-being of a bereaved child should have been paramount.

I guess we're just going to have to agree to disagree, but I don't really see how Paris' best interests were served by being put in the eye of that particular media story. To the contrary, I wonder how many people will mount the argument that since she has made herself a public figure she has surrendered her right to privacy. Beginning to sound familiar?

Omagus said...

Wow, Craig. You ARE a cynical one.

Now, you are correct. I do not know that Paris Jackson wanted to speak, which is why I said, "I think that she wanted to speak." That was just the impression that I got, and given PJ's recollection of losing his or her father, I don't think it is completely out of line.

Um, so you weren't aware that Jackson had three children before Paris did her turn? As I said, perhaps making her father "seem human" shouldn't have been the priority; the dignity and well-being of a bereaved child should have been paramount.

Double wow. Really? Of course, everyone was aware that Michael Jackson had three young children. But as far as I know, this was the first time that the public has really seen any of them. And nobody said that "making her father seem" human was the agenda. But that is what she did with her words. If that was contrived, then shame on the family. But I don't think (think!) that it was.

I wonder how many people will mount the argument that since she has made herself a public figure she has surrendered her right to privacy.

Speaking a few words at the memorial of her recently deceased father makes her a public figure? If so, then society is much more messed up than her family is.

Craig Ranapia said...

Wow, Craig. You ARE a cynical one.

Well, I'd note that when Princess Diana died and become the centre of a three ring media circus, her sons were not trotted out to deliver eulogies at the funeral. In 'the big picture', it was more important that two young men (barely in their teens) be allowed to grieve in private, among their family.

If it's 'cynical' to think the Windsors showed better judgement than the Jacksons, I plead guilty as charged.

Omagus said...

Craig,

You're missing my point. I don't think that Paris Jackson spoke because she was trotted out. I think that she spoke because she wanted to speak.

Anonymous said...

Um, so you weren't aware that Jackson had three children before Paris did her turn?

Actually there were a number of comments around the media (and on websites) to the effect of "He couldn't have been a good father" "He probably didn't spend any time with those kids" "Those kids aren't even his" since his passing. Whether or not it was necessary a lot of people did seem to forget that there were three young children who had lost the only parent they had ever known and were likely grieving. For better or worse Paris made it clear that they had lost someone.

mizenkay said...

I also think that Paris wanted to speak, and did so unprompted by anyone. She just wanted to say she loved her dad and I was very moved by it. I don't think there is anything unseemly going on there at all folks. Campell Brown interviewed Kenny Ortega tonight and he said it was totally unplanned.

Caught only some of the tribute, thanks to Time Warner cable constantly fritzing out on me, but I was moved by Brooke Shields as well. Very genuine and heartfelt.

On a much, much, muchlighter note, if you haven't heard the MJ tribute recorded by NBA player Ron Artest, head over to YouTube and do a search (not linking it here as there are some lyrics in it that are rather NSFW). But if you are a fan of the crazy, and Ron, you are so...crazy, it's really hilarious.

Anonymous said...

how is there is there so much coverage of a pedophile? i dont get it

Pamela Jaye said...

my DVR says they were going to run Scrubs tonight. hmmm... that would never happen. (has it been?)

BigTed said...

I was at work and missed this, but from the sounds of it the whole spectacle was as entertaining, and creepy, as the Grammys and the Jerry Lewis Telethon rolled into one.

As for Michael's kids, I feel sorry for them, especially given the legal limbo the two older ones may have been thrown into. If it turns out that their beloved father was neither actually related to them nor ever legally adopted them, who knows what their situation will turn out to be?

Q Ball said...

how is there is there so much coverage of a pedophile? i dont get it

I don't know Anonymous, maybe because the "pedophile" is the single greatest musician of the 20th century.

They say ignorance is bliss, but idiocy surely isn't.

Anonymous said...

Michael Jackson was the single greatest musician of the 20th century? Really? What has he done that was so spectacular since Thriller?

Norm N. Conquest said...

Enrico Caruso. Frank Sinatra. Marvin Gaye. Bing Crosby. Elvis. Christopher Parkening. Leonard Bernstein. Luciano Pavarotti. John Philip Sousa. Billie Holiday. Duke Ellington. Irving Berlin. George Gershwin. John Lennon. Judy Garland. Chet Baker. Chet Atkins. Les Paul.

LA said...

I'm with Craig. I fear she was trotted out by a family (or at least a grandfather) with an agenda. I might feel differently had there not been another option. But I believe a young girl who wants to speak about her grief is going to be far more comfortable doing so at the private family service held earlier that morning among close friends and family rather than at the Staples Center in front of thousands of strangers and cameras.

Linda said...

Eleven years old is old enough that you have to think carefully before you simply forbid her from speaking at her father's memorial service if she is determined to do so. It is young, but it is not too young to have her opinions considered. I can't possibly judge that situation without knowing anything about it, let alone throw around the phrase "child abuse."

Frankly, declaring that the entire family is "devoid of common human decency" seems wildly disproportionate to anything I have ever read about most of the rest of the family. This girl is far from the youngest person to ever speak at a parent's memorial service, I am quite certain, whether the parent is famous or not. If, indeed, those are her words spoken from the heart, then I think it's unfair to belittle them as an effort at "image rehabilitation."

You can think whatever you want of him, and I won't disagree, but to HER, he was her father. Maybe he was a horrible person, maybe all the allegations were true, maybe he was immensely weird and deeply troubled and an absolute villain. But to me, that looks like a very sad girl who has lost a dad she loved very much, whether he deserved it or not.

Nicole said...

I didn't think that Paris was forced to speak, because what she said seemed natural for someone that age. As others have said, regardless of what he may or may not have done, he was her father and she loved him. She and her brothers will suffer the loss more deeply than anyone else, which her words poignantly made clear to those watching.

The memorial was far less tacky than I thought it would be, and really was impressed by Brooke Shields's comments as well as Stevie Wonder's performance.

Omagus said...

Michael Jackson was the single greatest musician of the 20th century? Really? What has he done that was so spectacular since Thriller?

I don't think that Michael Jackson was the greatest musician of the 20th century. However, I do think he was the greatest entertainer. In my mind, James Brown is the only one who comes close and, between the two, Jackson was a far more talented singer (and was fortunate enough to have a bigger platform thanks to music videos). And Jackson's influence speaks for itself.

By asking if he has done anything great since Thriller, I think that you are selling Bad short. But even if Thriller was his last great accomplishment, that is still an incredible body of work that spanned three decades and was both groundbreaking and genre bending.


You can think whatever you want of him, and I won't disagree, but to HER, he was her father. Maybe he was a horrible person, maybe all the allegations were true, maybe he was immensely weird and deeply troubled and an absolute villain. But to me, that looks like a very sad girl who has lost a dad she loved very much, whether he deserved it or not.

Well said. I agree with every word.

Anonymous said...

It annoyed me how everyone surrounded Paris like they did. It’s like the overbearing parent. She probably would have done a better job and not freaked out towards the end if they weren't all shoving the microphone down her throat and tell her what to do. They seemed like they were all acting. I don't think she was though. I didn't see any tears but I think she bailed out at the end because everyone was freaking her out.

Rick said...

I just still can't believe that George Wendt was Macaulay Culkin's father. Who saw that coming?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Eldritch said...

Anonymous said...
It annoyed me how everyone surrounded Paris like...like the overbearing parent. She probably would have done a better job and not freaked out towards the end if they weren't all shoving the microphone down her throat and tell her what to do. ...I think she bailed out at the end because [her relatives were] freaking her out
.

Just my opinion, but it looked differently.

If the camera were pointed the other way, you would have seen what Paris saw, a huge, cavernous stadium filled with thousands of strangers, bright lights, cameras, technicians of all kinds running around.

I would be afraid (or at least nervous) to get on a stage in front of such a huge crowd. I think anyone who isn't a performer would too. For an 11-year old, I'm sure it took a lot of courage.

But she wanted to speak at her father's memorial service. Her words seemed sincere to me. So her family stood around her to support her. They seemed supportive. That's how I saw it.

We could find more agreement that the rest of the Jackson family were less sincere, but they are professional performers.

Brandy said...

I was a decade older than Paris at my father's memorial service. I wanted to go up and say something, but I didn't want to fall apart in front of everybody. I made the choice not to go and if I had it to do over, I'd make the other choice.

So it might be projecting but I really read it as she wanted to say something, he was overwhelmed by the enormity and they tried to prod her to finish, but that going up was her choice.

Mallory said...

Why did she speak at the memorial when she could have just spoken at the private ceremony? That's easy!

The very first words out of Paris' mouth were "I just want to say..." That to me is a classic defense line. She was defending her father to the world!

For a kid that's spent most of her life protected from the media, she stood up in front of a worldwide audience without hesitating to defend his name - that's not someone who was pushed!

John Royal said...

To the person who said Michael Jackson was the greatest entertainer of the 20th Century. You've obvioulsy never seen Prince or Bruce Springsteen in concert.

Sonia said...

I don't think she was pushed to speak about her father. And I think it took tremendous courage for her to say what she said in front of all those people. She struck me as a poised and lovely young lady, and MJ seems to have (had?) done a great job raising her so far.

As for the family surrounding her...please. What is the big deal? They are ALL grieving for Pete's sake. They all seemed to want to be there for her. And when she was done, she didn't cower away from them...she turned right into her aunt's arms (think it was Janet). That doesn't seem like a kid who was forced to do something she didn't want to do. And it certainly wasn't child abuse in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Did everyone forget that this man/thing was up for three child molestation charges? This whole Michael Jackson thing has made me sick to my stomach.

Michael said...

Sheila Jackson Lee. Un-frickin-believable.

She's a Congresswoman from Houston (where I live). She's never met a camera she doesn't like - wherever there's a chance to get on TV, she's there.

She's as bad as Sharpton. And Jesse Jackson was there - how did he not get a starring role like Lee or Sharpton?

Muz said...

I didn't watch but we got a fairly heavy dose of this down here in the Australs. The commercial airplay situation at the moment makes me happy as hell Princess Diana and Steve Irwin weren't musicians of any sort.

I'm torn on the media coverage in this sort of thing; I can never tell if they're craven mercenaries or just completely obtuse. As with those previous occasions of dead person hysteria, once they get bored of the main show they start pushing the 'human angle' of all this attention from the media (ie; them). How can Katy Couric et al start meta commenting scale of the media coverage without either being the most cynical manipulators imaginable or dying instantly from the irony overdose? I really don't know.
All their christmasses have come at once this time, since they have an entire family of hysterical show-people to work with.

As for the hyperbole about the man's career. Well, he was pretty good once and I get that a lot of people liked him when they were young and when someone dies it's a time for elevating and celebrating and later for the rankings game. But still, if the crazy pro-wrestling-esque praise for him is even remotely true, we need to do all we can to make sure Prince never dies because relative to all that Michael stuff, the planet is obviously going to implode without him.

M.A.Peel said...

Caught the last half in my hotel room. I fell asleep during the BBC rampup. It is on the front page of The Times with the headline " Brotherly glove: family's final salute to King of Pop.". When did the London Times become the Daily News?

Anonymous said...

The fact that a memorial service needs to be covered professionally by a TV critic shows is the greatest testament to the absurdity of this. I saw "highlights" on the news, and it just seemed like a bunch of opportunists feigning bereavement to sell more of whatever it is they sell. I am guessing that Paris' comment resonated because unlike all else seen there, it was genuine.

erin said...

I thankfully avoided the whole spectacle except to watch the Brooke Shields and Paris pieces on YouTube. I thought Brooke Shields had a really touching tribute, and reminded people what Jackson was like before the mid-90s, when he just went off the rails. I think he truly was a case of arrested development, and never got past the age of 12. Everyone else just grew past him (I read the last time Shields saw him was in the early 90s). He never understood just how weird he became or was perceived by people.

And if you think that Paris was nudged to speak, like Alan said, then yes, I think that's gross, but watching it, I didn't get that sense. For someone living in the spotlight like her dad did (and she did as well to some extent) she must have known some of the things that were said about him (true or not). I'm sure she loved him and I thought it was more that she wanted people to know that, and how much she would miss him. I thought it was a little defensive, but I understood the defensiveness. I really hope the 3 kids (and man, did I cringe when I heard Brooke say "Blanket"--what a creepy nickname) disappear out of the lime light. Like, forever. It would be the best thing that could happen to them.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:24, I think you nailed it. I don't blame Alan for covering it because it was a huge event, but should it have been a huge event---no, for many reasons we're all aware of. And the speakers at the service, most of whom probably criticized Jackson privately for grotesquely altering his features and sleeping with 10-year-olds, now all proclaimed him as the greatest hero of the black community. Just embarrassing and pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Here's something important to consider while thinking about little Paris's speaking yesterday: What would her father have thought? My bet is he would be horrified. Yes, he was eccentric, controversial, etc etc. BUT he always made a point to try and protect those kids from our preying eyes. He didn't want them to be instantly recognizable to the public. He wanted them to enjoy the childhood he did not have. Out of respect for Micheal the family not only should have kept Paris from speaking, they should have never taken them up on stage to be photographed for us all to see. To be whether or not Paris wanted to speak is irrelevant. She never should have been put in that position to begin with. It is something her father would not have allowed and would not have appreciated. That in and of itself is all the proof need the Jackson family is interested in nothing more than the bottom line.

DeeTV said...

I didn't watch it, nor have I read any of the other print media about MJ's death. It was enough for me to know he was dead. That's all the news about it I needed.

I find it absurd that with everything that's happening in the world, The Star Ledger is using this news on the front page for multiple days.

I am also tired of hearing/reading that the public is obsessed with "stars" deaths. No I am not obsessed with it. It is the media that is obsessed with it and the media that is trying to shove it hown our throats for days on end.

Enough already.

spiderpig said...

I'm not sure how many of you follow Alan on Twitter, but one of his tweets about the memorial pretty much nailed it.

"All cynicism aside, all mockery that this event deserved at times, that was brutal at the end. Those poor kids."

Yes, it was a spectacle to be sure and lots of it was worthy of mockery and even disdain, but the fact remains it was a memorial for someone who died. Those who were interested watched it and continue to show their interest by discussing it here. Those who say there is way too much coverage and "enough already" could easily avoid it by not watching the coverage itself and even by not reading or commenting on the topic on this or other blogs. We get exactly the media coverage we ask for.

erin said...

Spiderpig, I agree with you. I think it's over the top, but I also think it's what people want. The media is satisfying viewer need. Gretchen Carlson on Foxnews said they were just going to briefly cover it on Fox and Friends, but as the hours passed on the show, they lost ratings because people were going to other news shows to see coverage. People want it because he was a flawed, fascinating character, and we enjoy peering into celebrities' personal lives.

Marc R said...

I'm with the sentiments Alan shared in his tweet.

I was watching the memorial on the web while simultaneously reading liveblogging of the event. Of course, the liveblogging was full of comments about the strangeness of the spectacle and, of course, of Michael Jackson himself. And, make no mistake, they both were strange.

But seeing the clearly genuine emotion from a heartbroken little girl really makes you feel horrible about discussing another human being that way, even if the discussion is accurate and/or funny.

It reminded me of this scene from the brilliant movie Heathers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk6vqt782H8&feature=related
The characters played by Winona Ryder and Christian Slater are laughing at a funeral service for two loathsome high school jock bullies. Then one of the bullies' sisters turns and looks tearfully at Ryder and she remembers that they're mocking someone with a family who misses him, even though he is flawed. (The relevant part starts at about 2:44 and only lasts less than ten seconds, though the entire clip is worth watching.)

Robin said...

I tend to agree with the opinion that Paris wanted to speak. I think if the family had put her up to it, or did it purely for spectacle, we would've seen all three kids, not just her.

I wasn't a huge MJ fan (other than Thriller, when I was in middle school), and there's no doubt he was a messed up human being. Living in Chicago, I got a lot of coverage from the local stations on the Gary, IN reaction, including interviews with people who knew him from childhood before he was famous. Over and over, they simply said he was a sweet and good kid who only wanted to please people. It seems to me that the saddest part of all of this is how that kid was tragically altered into the adult he became. It's just one more indication of the importance of childhood, and if nothing else, MJ seemingly tried to give his kids a good one.

Now, can we all let the man rest in peace and go back to obsessing about Lost?

Mark B said...

maybe because the "pedophile" is the single greatest musician of the 20th century.

To the counter-examples that have been suggested, I'll add:

BB King, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Count Basie, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Thelonious Monk, Eubie Blake, Erroll Garner, Ray Charles, and Scott Joplin.

The memorial was a festival of hyperbole. The speakers made it sound like no black performer would have a career if it weren't for MJ "breaking barriers."

The most significant barriers were broken long before he came along.

MJ had the benefit of growing up in a post-civil rights era. He never suffered the indignities many of his predecessors did. His race never prevented him from performing anywhere, or staying anywhere, and his black fans were never kept out of his shows.

Those barriers were broken by people like Lena Horne, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Ella Fitzgerald, Dorothy Dandridge, Josephine Baker, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis Jr., Harry Belafonte and Billie Holliday. (I think even MJ would acknowledge that.)

He did break a color-barrier at MTV (sort of), but that barrier wasn’t a matter of MTV saying “we’re going to exclude black people.” JJ Jackson couldn’t have been a VJ if that were the case. It was that until such a channel came along, there weren’t very many videos at all, from anyone out there.

The "most ridiculous item" from the memorial came from Magic Johnson declaring that finding out MJ ate Kentucky Fried Chicken was the greatest day of his life. Other than that MJ professed to be a vegetarian, was that a better day than being a #1 draft pick? Than winning NCAA and NBA championships? Winning Olympic gold? The birth of his child?

nick said...

My question is why is everybody wearing sunglasses except Paris? It makes for a strange image.

dez said...

Then one of the bullies' sisters turns and looks tearfully at Ryder and she remembers that they're mocking someone with a family who misses him, even though he is flawed.

If only Joe Jackson had gotten up at the memorial and said, "I love my dead, gay son!"

I was in meetings all day and couldn't watch the memorial, but was highly amused by all my FB friends who claim to hate MJ, yet were riveted to the coverage and bitching about it to boot. The media we deserve, indeed.

I did catch the Paris part on YouTube and it broke my heart. That poor little girl :(

Elena said...

To understand what happened at the end, you have to watch more than the clips they are showing all over. Marlon was speaking, then someone (Jermaine?) said that Janet wanted to say a few words. Paris inserted herself in front of the microphone, indicating she wanted to speak. And she did, and that broke everyone up so much, not Janet or anyone followed her. It was not staged, prompted, or forced upon her.
I liked most of the memorial, some of the tributes (spoken) were a bit over the top, but the musical selections were brilliantly chosen and for the most part, performed. See http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com/turn_it_up/2009/07/michael-jackson-tribute-the-music.html
for a good explanation of the musical selections performed at the memorial

Travis said...

"... the Gloved One's loved ones..."

Nice work, Alan!

John Royal said...

Spiderpig, thanks for your suggestion to just not watch it or to just ignore it. I tried to do that. I went to a sports talk station, but they talked about Michael Jackson. ESPN talked about Michael Jackson. I turned on my tv to watch Better Off Ted last night, it was Michael Jackson. I tried watching a baseball game, they talked about Michael Jackson. Just where in the hell was I supposed to go to ignore it if everywhere I went to ingore it was talking about it?

Lorrie said...

I'm no cynic. I though it was a very moving memorial. I don't mind saying that I cried more than once. I'm grateful the Jackson family let us experience it.

I thought it was obvious that Paris wanted to speak. It was in her body language. She wanted to say how much she loved her daddy and what a good father he had been. Should she have been prevented from saying what was in her heart? She is obviously a very brave girl.

Confused Sardar said...

Wow, so much hatred, all in one place.

I was traveling the week before the event. I heard about the event being on Tuesday, could not quickly figure out what time it was before I had to leave for work, so I just recorded CNN for over 14 hours so that I do not miss a minute.

Am I a crazy MJ fan? Am I black? Am I just aware of his good work, and not the bad part of his life? Have I not heard about the trials?
NO, NO, NO and NO.

However, why are we mixing stuff? Maybe he was not "the greatest entertainer of the 20th century", but was he one of the greatest. Of course. How does it matter if he was not the first, but in the top 10? He was still way up there. He still did entertain us. He still did a lot of good.

Did he screw up? Yes. But please live with the pressures as he had for maybe 10 years, and let's talk then.

What happened to being gracious?

...

A few comments from my side

- I did not watch live, and when recorded - skipped through quite a few pieces
- I did have tears in my eyes a few times - including the Paris speech. However, the issue is not Paris, but the media. I saw it sort of played in a loop on both Larry King Live and AC360 within the first 5 minutes.
- Al Sharpton is a professional speaker, and it shows. But if you want to believe or grieve or just celebrate, you need people like him who will help you through your process

Last, Long live Dish network, and other similar tools!! Last week, when they were showing an MJ special, I was able to set a recording of it over internet.

spiderpig said...

@John Royal I understand the coverage was pervasive, I'm not denying it at all (as if I even could), but if you really wanted to you could have avoided it. Read a good book or a baseball magazine perhaps? My 7 year old has no idea who Michael Jackson is nor have they any inkling about the current hoopla of a memorial for a dead pop star, so it can be done.

And can I point out that here you are actively participating in a discussion about MJ right on this blog. Why not go read another post? You choose to be here posting about Michael Jackson's memorial just like the rest of us. We accept you! One of us! One of us! Gooble gobble, gooble gobble! One of us! :)

TomV-Piscataway said...

In my non-cynical opinion...
It was a moving, at times very sad, and well done tribute to Michael Jackson. He deserved it. Sharpton was great, and I usually don't care for him. Usher, Brooke and Jermain all had me in tears, as well as that brave little Paris.

I thought this tribute could have been a crazy mess, but it wasn't. It was respectful. Some parts were a little rough, but why dwell on them.

I still can't believe this "King of Pop" that I grew up with, is gone.It doesn't seem right. Thanks for a wonderful review Alan.I didn't expect anything less from you.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:24-spot on comments. I did not dvr this memorial. My evening news was splashed with all the highlights, so to speak. It did break my heart to see his daughter in that much pain.

Michael said...

Sheila Jackson Lee's hometown newspaper, the Houston Chronicle, slams her appearance at the memorial as whatever her motives for appearing were, we'll find out when "the next high-profile, camera-garnering occasion arises".

Paul said...

What did the Jackson family do to all those people?. Is there any pick-axe murderer in the family?. Is there any serial killer?. Is there anyone in the family that would walk out on the streets with guns and shoot and kill strangers randomly?. Whats it with this attempt to demonize the Jackson family... whats wrong, what did they do that is so wrong?. Why is a constant attempt made to Cast a shadow on the one black American family that has been a light among the dark existence of black people in the USA for so many years. Why do they attempt to destroy their reputation with such passion?.Help me,because I struggle. Is it because they are black?. Surely, it cannot be solely because of the stories of Joe Jackson. They grab the slightest opportunity to stain everything thats black..... that there's no one black that we could take pride in and be proud.... they attempt to destroy it. If they had told the kid to speak they would have told her what to say. Its obvious Paris spoke in her own words, even sobbing in between. Why would they coerse her to speak in front with the world watching?. The single black family unit, though not perfect have been a light on a hill for us blacks in the USA. Though peacefull people, there seem to be an unexplained hate in so many thats trying to destroy them....My guess is simply because they are b.............

dez said...

@Paul, for some, it might because they are black, but I suspect for most, it's because there are so many scandals associated with them (Michael's trials; allegations of domestic/child abuse, drug abuse, and alcohol abuse; various divorces/children-out-of-wedlock; the fact that they're celebrities; and so on). It seems like the usual focus on celebrity life, to me, though the scrutinizing of the Jacksons is probably intensified because of Michael's extreme global popularity.

Anonymous said...

Paris did want to speak.

Jermaine finished and then said Janet would talk, but Paris reached up and grabbed the mic and spoke instead. So she chose to talk.

Craig Ranapia said...

Paul:

That's right -- any criticism I have is motivated by racism, and I've have gotten away with it too if it wasn't for you damn pesky kids (and Scooby Dooby Doo!)

Ben 4 said...

its late to this comment thread but I wanted to mention, that whether or not it IS heartfelt by the 11-year old, shouldn't the adults have decided an 11 year old isn't old enough to decide such things - what is natural about going on global television live to say basically how much you love your father? If you know it, you know it. If you don't, going to stand up in a Jackson Family menagerie isn't going to make it heartfelt or authentic. Like MJ was about authenticity, it was lie after lie about the baby who speaks now herself. We are all suckers for children's authenticity and heartfelt whatever, and certainly when a father dies. But an 11 year old is not the right person to decide anything and normally, except in this family and entertainment industry in general, adults should be responsible guardians of these decisions, if they are the right thing to do. The sad part is that it seemed the adults needed her to SPECIFICALLY insist Jackson was a normal, loving father -- again, why is that necessary... and how would SHE know what is a normal loving father. Think about it, would MJ have said that on a public stage about his father at 11 years old? He was trained to do so, and did. Only later we heard otherwise.

The whole thing was just showing that the real Hollyweird is not from New York or L.A. but from the Heartlands, just like really weird politics...

Anonymous said...

I think the people who are upset that Paris spoke are the people who have issues with WHAT she said. Those who say she shouldn't have said such things on national TV, really, how is it any different than Brooke Shields talking about a relationship over a decade ago. Wasn't the whole point of the memorial to allow people to share their feelings? I think people are just bothered that MJ's children could actually love him and think he was wonderful. I think Paris was the only one who got up on stage simply for Michael Jackson and not for a few minutes of spotlight. Also, not everyone in the family was wearing glasses including the brothers and also, innocent until proven guilt is still what our judicial system is based on correct?