I’m very anti-celebrity culture. You might not agree with my stance, but most would concede that a balanced media diet is a good thing to strive toward. Too much celebrity trans-fat is a terrible thing. Still, obviously I’m fascinated with the whole MJ thing, but without a TV, I miss most of the absoludicrous coverage. Lynn Crosbie has written intelligently about MJ in her Saturday Globe column (not her most recent blab, which was pretty good, but a column from a few months ago that really gave him the gears) and so has… well, that’s the only person I can think of immediately.
At the other end of the spectrum, I found a link to a transcript of the CNN show Reliable Sources which aired November 23. Now I haven’t watched Entertainment Tonight in a long time, so perhaps I’m too far removed from the world of infotainment to judge it accurately. But, well, um, just read this, which refers to the coverage of MJ turning himself in:
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, "CELEBRITY JUSTICE": It's wild and it is a scramble. And I'll tell you, you show up there and you're in a suit and high heels and you're running and your hose is getting ripped and people are pushing and shoving you. My photographer was nicked by the actual caravan as it went into the sheriff's booking center.
Well, I might feel a little silly at times, but I think it is a very legitimate story. And when I was up in Santa Maria covering the civil case, where Marcel Avrahm (ph), the promoter, was suing Michael Jackson, I shouted out a question and Michael Jackson answered me.
And for a second, his mask dropped, figuratively perhaps, and literally, and he said, to hell with Gloria Allred, because that's who I asked him about. And for one split second, we saw the real Michael Jackson behind the facade. And I think it was worth all that scrambling to get that authentic, genuine moment, because all these celebrities come out there with their mask and with their persona that they don't want us to crack, and we have to chase after them to crack it.
Real Woodward and Bernstein territory. Amazingly, it gets worse:
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But if one parent out there sees something in this coverage that says -- that sets off an alarm bell and says, you know, the guy down the block, Uncle Jack there that little Johnny is always visiting, maybe I won't let him go on that fishing trip, then we've done a service.
And there is a bedroom within the bedroom where -- that's apparently where his sleepover guest stayed, his young boy sleepover guest. I mean, if anybody looks at that and says, gosh, that reminds me of somebody else's bedroom that my child has contact with, then we've done a service. Child molestation is a very, very serious issue in this country.
Thankfully, the host of the show, Howard Kurtz replied, "Right, although I would hasten to point out that television networks don't often cover it as an issue unless a major league celebrity is evolved."
Two other things from the transcript:
WOLCOTT: Also, I have to say that my favorite new TV personality is Michael's personal magician, Majestic Magnificent. I mean, you would think calling yourself Majestic would be enough. But no, he's majestic and magnificent.
According to the November 23, New York Times, Mark Geragos, Jackson's lawyer got 620 calls on his pager from reporters in one 24-hour period.
By the way, I forget where I found this old MJ interview snippet, but I assure you, it is real:
Q: Did you approach Invincible with a single theme in mind?
A: I never think about themes. I let the music create itself. I like it to be a potpourri of all kinds of sounds, all kinds of colors, something for everybody, from the farmer in Ireland to the lady who scrubs toilets in Harlem.
And they say he’s lost touch with the common people.