The Michael Jackson Memorial: LA's version of the Tim Russert funeral | Harper's Magazine

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[Washington Babylon]

The Michael Jackson Memorial: LA’s version of the Tim Russert funeral

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An excerpt from a good piece by Chris Hedges about Michael Jackson:

His memorial service—a variety show with a coffin—had an estimated 31.1 million television viewers. The ceremony, which featured performances or tributes from Stevie Wonder, Brooke Shields and other celebrities, was carried live on 19 networks, including the major broadcast and cable news outlets. It was the final episode of the long-running Michael Jackson series. And it concluded with Jackson’s daughter, Paris, being prodded to stand in front of a microphone to speak about her father. Janet Jackson, before the girl could get a few words out, told Paris to “speak up.” As the child broke down, the adults around her adjusted the microphone so we could hear the sobs. The crowd clapped. It was a haunting echo of what destroyed her father.

I have a big appetite for pop culture and liked some of MJ’s music, but i couldn’t stand more than 30 seconds of the memorial service, even for the entertainment value of the media overkill. That’s how long it took to see that it was a memorial to the stars who appeared, not to MJ, exactly like the Tim Russert memorial. Anyone who was anyone just had to be (seen) there.

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