Tuesday, July 14, 2009

MJ media put the 'fun' in funeral

As Stephen Colbert noted in his first show back from vacation last night, the coverage of Michael Jackson's death has finally come to an end.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Remembering Remembering Michael Jackson
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorJeff Goldblum

Call me insensitive, but I am very relieved that the media have stopped doing anything about the death of Michael Jackson. The news was huge when it came out, but the amount of coverage that has been on TV in the past couple weeks is frankly a bit too much.

Michael Jackson was a great artist and a crazy human being. He made Thriller and Billie Jean, two songs I quite enjoy listening to, along with many others that have made him the King of Pop. His albums have sold millions upon millions of copies, and you have to feel sympathy for his family members because it's always tough to lose a loved one. But I have to stand tough on this point: his "funeral" ceremony was a joke, and it was actually a little offensive.

Funerals are held in churches. Funerals are sad, reminiscent and a celebration of life. Funerals are for relatives and close friends. I've been to a few. There are heartfelt speeches and pall bearers, memories and tissues, people in suits and black dresses. A group mourning a communal loss.

Funerals are not held in the Staples Center. Funerals are not shown on VH1. Funerals don't need $1.4 million of police service. People don't sell tickets to funerals. It's not a performance; it's not a nationwide spectacle; it's a time for reflection and a time to honor the memory of the deceased. Usher should only touch the coffin if Michael Jackson touched him emotionally.

And maybe he did. Maybe a majority of the performers at the "funeral" knew Michael personally, and maybe they were all truly sad that he died. But that doesn't make it right to bring in cameras and microphones to broadcast it to the world.

Michael Jackson was a famous public figure. It's right to honor him. So hold a benefit concert after his family and friends have a real funeral and celebrate his life in a way none of us would understand. Bring Usher and John Mayer and Stevie Wonder back for a concert to remember the man's music, but do it after the fact. Do it after Michael's daughter says a heartfelt goodbye to her Dad so she doesn't have to have her face appear on the front page of thousands of tabloids and newspapers across the world.

It's a tragic thing to have a popular musician who shaped an entire decade of music die of a heart attack brought on by a drug overdose. So treat it like a tragedy. Don't force it on television and don't force it on an audience. Heath Ledger's death was equally as tragic, but I don't remember seeing a lineup of famous actors appearing at his funeral on national TV. In fact, I don't remember his funeral being on TV. And that's how it should be.

It's good that the media storm of Michael Jackon's death is over. But it should have been over a while ago. Michael's family will feel the loss for years to come, but for the general public, for people who never knew him outside of an album, the loss has already subsided.

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