Showing posts with label Michael Jackson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michael Jackson. Show all posts

Monday, August 06, 2012

The cure for Monday

Normally, about this time on Mondays, my advice to you would be to start drinking heavily.

And you ought to listen to me. I've been to a doctor.

Sometimes, unfortunately, drinking heavily isn't a Monday-night option -- namely, because you used up the last of your booze Saturday night. Well, in that case, I recommend this bit from a 1990 episode of
A Bit of Fry and Laurie -- Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie -- on BBC2.

It'll make it all better.
I promise.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The dark side of snark

Well, this was ugly. I do not refer here to Michael Jackson's memorial service.

Yes, too much of Jackson's service was too over the top. And the wife and I cut it off when congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee -- on behalf of the U.S. House, the Congressional Black Caucus and, no doubt, self-aggrandizing camera hogs everywhere -- stepped up to the dais and started throwing pipe wrenches into memorial gearboxes.

Personally, I think it would have been a fine and touching trib
ute to a great but tortured artist if the service had begun with Brooke Shields' touching and personal eulogy, brought down the house with Jermaine Jackson's touching version of Charlie Chaplin's masterpiece "Smile" -- Michael's favorite song -- and then ended with "We Are the World" and the family's goodbyes. But we live in a society that's just too "too," and you get what you get, considering.

SOMETIMES, you just have to take your Maya Angelou poetry and your Sheila Jackson Lee with your Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Jermaine Jackson and Mariah Carey's dress.

Over at
Crunchy Con, however, the inclusion of a special poem by Angelou was reason enough for Rod Dreher to discard any public pretense of Christian charity and treat the whole thing as if it were the grandest, most craptastic Jerry Springer Show episode in TV history.

In other words, a man's death -- and the resulting memorial -- has become reason enough, secure in one's cultural superiority and aesthetic development, to glue oneself to the flat screen and yell
"Look at the freaks! Look at the freaks!"
I turned it on long enough to hear Queen Latifah speak of the dead as the Alpha and the Omega of human existence, and then to recite a poem typed emoted discharged composed by Maya Angelou, the Thomas Kinkade of American popular poetry, for the occasion. It was so purplishly, hathotically grotesque it would have made a Vogon blush. Naturally, it made me want to shout with glee at the Prytania screen, "Now I know why the caged bird upchucks!"
AND MANY of his commenters were far worse.
Please, Someone. Please give some lucky soul the opportunity to demonstrate that Richard Gatling did not live in vain.

Please, O Great and Powerful Someone.....give some fortunate creature of Yours the chance to demonstrate that Hiram Maxim's invention can be socially useful.

Please, please, PLEASE, O Most High Someone. Bestow upon us Your gift of Steady Hands, No Wind and Good Aim, and let us advance the cause of the Improvement of the Human breed in quick, rapid, 500-round-per-minute bursts.

Not touched on by Mr. Dreher is how turning on the TV to laugh at the "freaks" and the sublime awfulness of it all still pays tribute
(and buys into) to what he considers a disfigured and destructive culture. Tuning in to laugh at the weirdos, it must be noted, is a far worse sin than actually being a weirdo.

And musing wistfully about mass murder of "weirdo" mourners, as did the above commenter, is just plain evil.

The relative merit of popular poetry -- the philosophical and cultural deficiencies of a public sendoff -- is no good reason to touch off an Internet orgasm of self-righteous vitriol.
Show the respect you chide others for lacking.

Whatever his dysfunction, Michael Jackson was damned talented and broke down damned stubborn racial barriers in entertainment. However damaged his psyche and his soul, Michael Jackson was a child of God.
Everyone who was at the Staples Center today is a child of God.

And to the only One who counts, that's the only thing that matters.

And to a heartbroken child, losing her daddy is the only thing that matters.
Lord have mercy.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


Who needs a sterilization bill? One picture on The Drudge Report is worth a thousand of 'em.

Ick. Surely, Revvum Al, there must be a less grotesque way to combat unplanned pregnancy in the Third World.

Oh, wait. . . .

SO THAT'S HOW it is at Al Sharpton's church. They must have fun wakes.

Well, at least so long as Rev. Al keeps his groove off.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

3 Chords & the Truth: The King of Pop is dead

If you're looking for kicks and giggles about the media orgy surrounding the death of Michael Jackson . . . if you're looking for a snark fest about the untimely end of the King of Pop (and Weird), move along.

Nothing to see -- or hear -- here.

If you're looking for a show that will help you look upon the wreckage of a prominent life as a means of feeling better about your own, this week's 3 Chords & the Truth is not your cup of tea.

YES, Michael Jackson is dead. Yes, there's a media circus under the big top. The Big Show can do nothing about either.

I take that back. We can ponder what went so horribly wrong in the life of arguably one of the greatest entertainers ever. We also can celebrate the good amid the mayhem.

It seems we owe the dead -- owe Michael -- at least that due. That we will do this week on 3 Chords & the Truth.

While we're at it, I saw
this article in The Jerusalem Post by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who had tried to help the famously troubled superstar. An excerpt:
I am no prophet and it did not take a rocket scientist to see the impending doom. Michael was a man in tremendous pain and his tragedy was to medicate his pain away rather than addressing its root cause. On many occasions when I visited him he would emerge from his room woozy and clearly sedated. Who were the doctors who were giving him this stuff? Was there no one to save him from himself? Was there no one to intervene?

By the time I met Michael in the summer of 1999, he was already one of the most famous people in the world, but he seemed lethargic, burned-out, and purposeless. He wanted to consecrate his great fame to helping children but knew he could not due to the 1993 child molestation allegations against him. He was cut off from family and was alienated from the Jehovah's Witnesses Church which had nurtured him. He could barely muster the energy to complete the album he was working on. The only thing that seemed to motivate him was his children, to whom he was exceptionally devoted.


In many ways his tragedy was to mistake attention for love. I will never forget what he said when we sat down to record 40 hours of conversations where he would finally reveal himself for a book I authored. He turned to me and said these haunting words: "I am going to say something I have never said before and this is the truth. I have no reason to lie to you and God knows I am telling the truth. I think all my success and fame, and I have wanted it, I have wanted it because I wanted to be loved. That's all. That's the real truth. I wanted people to love me, truly love me, because I never really felt loved. I said I know I have an ability. Maybe if I sharpened my craft, maybe people will love me more. I just wanted to be loved because I think it is very important to be loved and to tell people that you love them and to look in their eyes and say it." One cannot read these words without feeling a tremendous sadness for a soul that was so surrounded with hero-worship but remained so utterly alone. Because Michael substituted attention for love he got fans who loved what he did but he never had true compatriots who loved him for who he was. Perhaps this is why, when so many of his inner circle saw him destroying his life with prescription medication - something he used to treat phantom physical illnesses which were really afflictions of the soul - they allowed him to deteriorate and disintegrate rather than throwing the poison in the garbage.
ALL HE WANTED was to be loved. Don't we all. The trouble with Jacko was he didn't know how to get there.

God bless him, that's something we all need to be worrying about -- getting there. Getting to love. That's the point of everything . . . the point of life.

Michael Jackson had everything, yet had nothing. How?


And there but for the grace of God. . . . Lord have mercy.

That's the Cliff's Notes version of what
this week's show is about. It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all.

Be there. Aloha.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The child who never was

The Jackson 5 were all that in 1970, and their 45s were more than likely playing on a hi-fi near you.

I know they were playing on a hi-fi near me . . . and on a radio near me . . . and the brothers Jackson were on a TV near me, too. I was nine, and the Jackson 5 became part of the soundtrack of my adolescence.

What I didn't know was that -- for the sake of my entertainment and Joseph Jackson's bottom line -- a little boy named Michael, one not much older than me, was being denied his childhood. That their old man was working Michael and his four elder brothers like dogs in the rehearsal hall.

No, not exactly like dogs. If old Joe had beat Fido every time he messed up "Roll over!" or "Fetch!" somebody probably would have called the Humane Society.

No such luck for Jermaine, Tito, Marlon, Jackie and Michael, the little boy with such star quality.

MICHAEL'S STAR shone brightly back then, and it just kept getting brighter. By the early 1980s, now out on his own, he was the undisputed "King of Pop." He also was becoming the undisputed King of Weird.

There was all the plastic surgery. The hyperbaric chamber, supposedly some sort of high-pressure, pure oxygen Fountain of Youth. The attempt to buy the remains of the "Elephant Man."

He bought a mansion and turned it into "Neverland," a fantasy world with giraffes and Bubbles the Chimp and an entire private amusement park. The little boy who never had a childhood now was the chronological adult desperately trying to revert to what he never had the chance to be.

IT DIDN'T WORK. Not unless you count the unreal world of the deluded inner workings of the man-child's mind.

As Michael Jackson's wealth, fame and professional acclaim grew, his emotional well-being waned and his private life imploded into a bizarre world of excess and scandal. And, later on, massive indebtedness and sex-abuse charges.

Bad things happen when, for the love of fame and money, children become means and not ends. When adults steal their childhood. When they try to turn back the hands of time and reclaim what never was theirs.

Something bad happened -- something unspeakably tragic happened -- to the King of Pop when he was but an aspiring prince. Or, more precisely, when his father's aspirations included his son's princehood.

Something, or someone, got into Michael Jackson's head and his heart, played with them as if they were big boys' toys and left them irreparably bruised and broken. Michael Jackson lived a storybook life, all right -- Humpty Dumpty.

Michael Jackson made "Off the Wall,"
Michael Jackson took a great fall,
And all the King's agents and all the King's men,
Couldn't put Michael together again.

MICHAEL JACKSON the composer, singer and dancer was one of the most amazing stories in entertainment history. Michael Jackson, the broken little boy grown up into a deeply disturbed man, will go down in "HIStory" as one of the great tragic figures of our time.

The King of Pop himself was responsible for some of that tragedy, but not all. His enablers and hangers-on have their role in this Greek tragedy, too.

But this horror had its roots in Gary, Ind., where a bunch of working-class kids played joyous music under a taskmaster's lash, singing for their parents' supper. The little boy with all the star power was being eaten alive by the ambition of a stage dad from hell.

The child on the Ed Sullivan Show -- the one with the face of an angel -- was being turned into an amusement park for untold demons.

Sleep well, Joseph Jackson. If you can.

Jacko's no longer wacko

It's the end of a long, strange trip. Michael Jackson is dead, according to

From the breaking-news item on the website:

Michael suffered a cardiac arrest earlier this afternoon at his Holmby Hills home and paramedics were unable to revive him. We're told when paramedics arrived Jackson had no pulse and they never got a pulse back.

A source tells us Jackson was dead when paramedics arrived.

Once at the hospital, the staff tried to resuscitate him but they had no luck.

We're told one of the staff members at Jackson's home called 911.

LaToya ran in the hospital sobbing after Jackson was pronounced dead.
WHAT A tortured soul he was. Immensely talented, and immensely tortured. God have mercy on him, and on us all.

UPDATE: The Los Angeles Times now reports Jackson's death as well:

Pop star Michael Jackson was pronounced dead by doctors this afternoon after arriving at a hospital in a deep coma, city and law enforcement sources told The Times.