Michael Jackson’s comeback

Michael Jackson’s comeback July 8, 2009

Lisa de Moraes of The Washington Post reports on the media coverage of the Michael Jackson memorial service:

At least 16 television networks plan live coverage of the Jackson memorial. At press time, the list included ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Fox News Channel, CNN, CNN Headline News, MSNBC, TV One, MTV, VH1, VH1 Classic, VH1Soul, TV Guide Channel, E!, Univision and we’re sure we’re missing a few. Think Princess Di times 2.

She doesn’t mention all of the foreign TV networks that showed up and the untold number of internet sites that streamed coverage.

Why? Someone please explain this fixation, this adulation. Yes, Thriller was a good album, and, yes, Michael Jackson was a really good dancer. But what accounts for this outpouring? When Michael was alive, the media was accusing him, wrongly or rightly, of all kinds of insanity bad behavior, including child molestation and child abuse. (Remember him dangling his baby off the balcony?) But now the media is worshipping him, as is much of the public. Watch for spiritual claims to be made about Michael in heaven, how he is always with us, how he hears our cries, etc., etc. Michael Jackson is an American idol. But why him, in particular?

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  • Mary Ann

    I find it puzzling and disturbing how the media not only refashions history for fallen stars but feeds the notion, by saturation, to a floundering public in search of an object to worship. I never got it with Elvis either, and the saturation in 1977 was comparable to today given the rate of inflation of coverage to all things entertainment.
    As I was surfing the channels yesterday I heard more than one news anchor expressing frustration with the wall to wall coverage, particularly with so much real news needing to be reported…..but those decisions were made from higher up the food chain.

  • Mary Ann

    I find it puzzling and disturbing how the media not only refashions history for fallen stars but feeds the notion, by saturation, to a floundering public in search of an object to worship. I never got it with Elvis either, and the saturation in 1977 was comparable to today given the rate of inflation of coverage to all things entertainment.
    As I was surfing the channels yesterday I heard more than one news anchor expressing frustration with the wall to wall coverage, particularly with so much real news needing to be reported…..but those decisions were made from higher up the food chain.

  • Bdozer

    I’ll give you my top four:

    1) The (visible) Christian Church has been taken out of the public square and put on a reservation.

    2) The dumbing down of America by a government education system that is controlled by politicians, bureaucrats, unions and tenured Vietnam Era draft dodgers. Think “Expelled.”

    3) The fact that if your living in the 21st century and your don’t have any racial remorse for all the ills our white forefathers imposed on the black man your Neanderthal.

    4) I think it was Calvin who said that all men are natural “idol factories.”

  • Bdozer

    I’ll give you my top four:

    1) The (visible) Christian Church has been taken out of the public square and put on a reservation.

    2) The dumbing down of America by a government education system that is controlled by politicians, bureaucrats, unions and tenured Vietnam Era draft dodgers. Think “Expelled.”

    3) The fact that if your living in the 21st century and your don’t have any racial remorse for all the ills our white forefathers imposed on the black man your Neanderthal.

    4) I think it was Calvin who said that all men are natural “idol factories.”

  • Rev. Tom Fast

    Wrt the media? Follow the money.

    You know what’s really sad? For all the coverage of Michael Jackson’s death, it’s still the very thing being virtually ignored. Too bad some young, serious journalist doesn’t break away from the pack and wonder out loud what it means that a hard working, talented, rich, successful, famous man is being buried under six feet of clay. Not exactly a crowning achievement.

    Kyrie eleison.

  • Rev. Tom Fast

    Wrt the media? Follow the money.

    You know what’s really sad? For all the coverage of Michael Jackson’s death, it’s still the very thing being virtually ignored. Too bad some young, serious journalist doesn’t break away from the pack and wonder out loud what it means that a hard working, talented, rich, successful, famous man is being buried under six feet of clay. Not exactly a crowning achievement.

    Kyrie eleison.

  • Michael Jackson was the perfect icon for our time (sadly). He was neither white nor black. He was neither male nor female. He was neither Christian nor Muslim. He was neither child nor adult. And his sexual drives were so strange that it appears not even he knew what they were.

    How could millions of Americans not identify with him?

  • Michael Jackson was the perfect icon for our time (sadly). He was neither white nor black. He was neither male nor female. He was neither Christian nor Muslim. He was neither child nor adult. And his sexual drives were so strange that it appears not even he knew what they were.

    How could millions of Americans not identify with him?

  • I think in many ways, his music symbolized a generation. When you think of the 80s, how can you not think of Michael Jackson? So, I think for many people it isn’t that a particular person is dead, but rather that their youth and that which symbolized it is dead. In many ways, I think the grief is over a whole generation’s youth. I remember the first time I saw “Thriller.” I’m sure that many people in my generation have a “Thriller” story.

    I’ve seen so many people on so many blogs carry on about how they don’t like his music. I’m not a collector of Jackson albums or anything, but how can you not tap your foot to Billie Jean?

  • I think in many ways, his music symbolized a generation. When you think of the 80s, how can you not think of Michael Jackson? So, I think for many people it isn’t that a particular person is dead, but rather that their youth and that which symbolized it is dead. In many ways, I think the grief is over a whole generation’s youth. I remember the first time I saw “Thriller.” I’m sure that many people in my generation have a “Thriller” story.

    I’ve seen so many people on so many blogs carry on about how they don’t like his music. I’m not a collector of Jackson albums or anything, but how can you not tap your foot to Billie Jean?

  • LAJ

    Sarah, I think you are right. Once the star is gone, people think of his and their good times and willingly forget how weird he became. Happened with Elvis also.

  • LAJ

    Sarah, I think you are right. Once the star is gone, people think of his and their good times and willingly forget how weird he became. Happened with Elvis also.

  • Dr. Jack Kilcrease

    I found it interesting that all the pictures that were on tributes to Jackson were of him when he was in his early 20s. It’s as if they are remembering him when he was a cool and friendly young guy with alot of talet and not the strange person he became. Besides, as my father will tell you from 20 years in the ministry, no one bad ever died.

  • Dr. Jack Kilcrease

    I found it interesting that all the pictures that were on tributes to Jackson were of him when he was in his early 20s. It’s as if they are remembering him when he was a cool and friendly young guy with alot of talet and not the strange person he became. Besides, as my father will tell you from 20 years in the ministry, no one bad ever died.

  • CRB

    As someone said, “The heart is an idol factory” (Luther?)
    M.J. is just one more fallen idol. Why the adulation? Perhaps because this is the interlude until folks can find another idol? We wait for who’s next on the long list, all the while folks continue to reject the true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

  • CRB

    As someone said, “The heart is an idol factory” (Luther?)
    M.J. is just one more fallen idol. Why the adulation? Perhaps because this is the interlude until folks can find another idol? We wait for who’s next on the long list, all the while folks continue to reject the true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

  • There may be an age factor in understanding the attraction. He was someone my age and anytime someone my age dies, that gets my attention! We baby boomers have always thought we’d live a long healthy life and are confused when we don’t, Christian or not. At any point in my life, his music was usually at the top of the charts and his face was usually in the news…since I was 5 years old. I was never a fan, but I enjoyed the most of his music. I greatly admired the fervent dedication to his vocation of music and dance. I have always felt bad for what he claims to have experienced in his youth and how it obviously affected his ability to be a healthy adult; conversely, I never knew quite what to make of the accusations that he adamantly refuted. As someone who lives with chronic back pain, I deeply sympathize with his search for relief that ultimately appears to have killed him. I marveled at the Christian witness given at his memorial service, given that Hollywood usually rejects any mention of Christ. Both Mariah Carey and Lionel Ritchie said, “Thank you, Jesus!” Only God knows the hearts of them and of Michael Jackson, but in our hurry to convict them we should consider that they may be worshiping at the throne of Christ with us. To my knowledge, the rest of the Jackson family are Christians and I am thankful that the children have a huge family to turn to in their grief. Sure, I occasionally critique the doctrinal shortcomings of various churches, but we Lutherans won’t be the only ones in heaven. Michael Jackson was an imperfect soul with talent surely given by God. He was acquitted of the charges. His children called him a wonderful father. His family cries out to God through Jesus. I cannot say anymore than that. I am neither a supporter nor a detractor…just an observer.

  • There may be an age factor in understanding the attraction. He was someone my age and anytime someone my age dies, that gets my attention! We baby boomers have always thought we’d live a long healthy life and are confused when we don’t, Christian or not. At any point in my life, his music was usually at the top of the charts and his face was usually in the news…since I was 5 years old. I was never a fan, but I enjoyed the most of his music. I greatly admired the fervent dedication to his vocation of music and dance. I have always felt bad for what he claims to have experienced in his youth and how it obviously affected his ability to be a healthy adult; conversely, I never knew quite what to make of the accusations that he adamantly refuted. As someone who lives with chronic back pain, I deeply sympathize with his search for relief that ultimately appears to have killed him. I marveled at the Christian witness given at his memorial service, given that Hollywood usually rejects any mention of Christ. Both Mariah Carey and Lionel Ritchie said, “Thank you, Jesus!” Only God knows the hearts of them and of Michael Jackson, but in our hurry to convict them we should consider that they may be worshiping at the throne of Christ with us. To my knowledge, the rest of the Jackson family are Christians and I am thankful that the children have a huge family to turn to in their grief. Sure, I occasionally critique the doctrinal shortcomings of various churches, but we Lutherans won’t be the only ones in heaven. Michael Jackson was an imperfect soul with talent surely given by God. He was acquitted of the charges. His children called him a wonderful father. His family cries out to God through Jesus. I cannot say anymore than that. I am neither a supporter nor a detractor…just an observer.

  • Carl Vehse

    Lars Walker: “Michael Jackson was the perfect icon for our time (sadly).”

    Now that he is brainless, Michael Jackson is the perfect icon for our time (sadly).

  • Carl Vehse

    Lars Walker: “Michael Jackson was the perfect icon for our time (sadly).”

    Now that he is brainless, Michael Jackson is the perfect icon for our time (sadly).

  • Jonathan

    “What accounts for this outpouring?”
    It’s kind of basic.
    A guy who sold more music than virtually anyone else on earth probably has a few fans. Most of these fans couldn’t attend his funeral, though many of them probably wanted to see it. That’s called demand. The networks, etc., and their advertisers responded to that demand.
    Sort of like Super Bowl Sunday. Lots of interest worldwide in one football game. But in the case of football, some network pays a lot for exclusive coverage. Here, apparently, any network could cover it. Demand is thus satisfied.
    Why so much demand? I suppose it’s because entertainers, well, entertain. It’s their vocation. Their music, comedy, acting, etc., makes others happy. Their fans are sorry to see them go. Besides, their funerals generally remind their fans of why they liked what they did. Plus, it gives fans a chance to participate (visually, audibly) in an event that’s otherwise very personal for the entertainer’s family. Now, MJ was pretty successful at his vocation. Hundreds of millions of fans. Hence, the interest in his funeral. Hence, the media cashing in on demand. Capitalism at its finest, really.
    Why was MJ so popular? If you don’t know, ask a fan. Go to websites where, particuarly, some black Christians are discussing this. Why do you like the entertainers you do?

  • Jonathan

    “What accounts for this outpouring?”
    It’s kind of basic.
    A guy who sold more music than virtually anyone else on earth probably has a few fans. Most of these fans couldn’t attend his funeral, though many of them probably wanted to see it. That’s called demand. The networks, etc., and their advertisers responded to that demand.
    Sort of like Super Bowl Sunday. Lots of interest worldwide in one football game. But in the case of football, some network pays a lot for exclusive coverage. Here, apparently, any network could cover it. Demand is thus satisfied.
    Why so much demand? I suppose it’s because entertainers, well, entertain. It’s their vocation. Their music, comedy, acting, etc., makes others happy. Their fans are sorry to see them go. Besides, their funerals generally remind their fans of why they liked what they did. Plus, it gives fans a chance to participate (visually, audibly) in an event that’s otherwise very personal for the entertainer’s family. Now, MJ was pretty successful at his vocation. Hundreds of millions of fans. Hence, the interest in his funeral. Hence, the media cashing in on demand. Capitalism at its finest, really.
    Why was MJ so popular? If you don’t know, ask a fan. Go to websites where, particuarly, some black Christians are discussing this. Why do you like the entertainers you do?

  • E-Raj

    If I’m not mistaken, aren’t (or weren’t) the Jackson family Jehovah’s Witnesses?

  • E-Raj

    If I’m not mistaken, aren’t (or weren’t) the Jackson family Jehovah’s Witnesses?

  • Dr. Jack Kilcrease

    E-Raj, I think you are correct. The Jackson at least used to be JW’s. I’m not certain if they are now.

  • Dr. Jack Kilcrease

    E-Raj, I think you are correct. The Jackson at least used to be JW’s. I’m not certain if they are now.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Rev. Tom Fast is right that one needs to follow the money with this pagan extravaganza. Randy Phillips, president of AEG Live, staged the “funeral” yesterday. It’s estimated that the cost to LA is about $4 million. Phillips problem is an already substantial investment in the fifty-concert series that was to begin in London and then move to other European and Asian cities.

    According to a WSJ article today any potential return of Jackson to the U.S. was three years away, AEG Live being well aware that U.S, audiences would be indifferent if not hostile to this gonzo character. The promoters hoped to first rehabilitate his image with these overseas concerts.

    Of course, the celebrity/business complex cum Jackson/Sharpton et al plus the networks are involved in a media frenzy that says much more about the parlous state of American popular culture than it does about the essentially pathetic life of Michael Jackson.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Rev. Tom Fast is right that one needs to follow the money with this pagan extravaganza. Randy Phillips, president of AEG Live, staged the “funeral” yesterday. It’s estimated that the cost to LA is about $4 million. Phillips problem is an already substantial investment in the fifty-concert series that was to begin in London and then move to other European and Asian cities.

    According to a WSJ article today any potential return of Jackson to the U.S. was three years away, AEG Live being well aware that U.S, audiences would be indifferent if not hostile to this gonzo character. The promoters hoped to first rehabilitate his image with these overseas concerts.

    Of course, the celebrity/business complex cum Jackson/Sharpton et al plus the networks are involved in a media frenzy that says much more about the parlous state of American popular culture than it does about the essentially pathetic life of Michael Jackson.

  • I researched Wiki for the denomination and it says JW. I had erroneously remembered SDA, which is Christian. In the service, it was mentioned that Pastor Lucious Smith is a Jackson family friend. He is a Baptist pastor. The choir from his church sang at the memorial. The rest, I guess we will learn in the coming days..or much later.

  • I researched Wiki for the denomination and it says JW. I had erroneously remembered SDA, which is Christian. In the service, it was mentioned that Pastor Lucious Smith is a Jackson family friend. He is a Baptist pastor. The choir from his church sang at the memorial. The rest, I guess we will learn in the coming days..or much later.

  • Rose

    CRB #8 is right. People crave personal connection. When they have minimal contact with God, family and friends, they attach to the famous. They buy the CDs and talk about the celebrity’s life. What a waste of time and money. “Layers and layers of nonsense.” The identity and peace they seek is only found in Christ.

  • Rose

    CRB #8 is right. People crave personal connection. When they have minimal contact with God, family and friends, they attach to the famous. They buy the CDs and talk about the celebrity’s life. What a waste of time and money. “Layers and layers of nonsense.” The identity and peace they seek is only found in Christ.

  • theresa kiihn

    Rose, please clarify. Are you referring to all buyers of CD’s or all fans of any artist…or just certain artists and/or fans?

  • theresa kiihn

    Rose, please clarify. Are you referring to all buyers of CD’s or all fans of any artist…or just certain artists and/or fans?

  • Rose

    Theresa, It’s the scale of the investment of time and money that seems unhealthy. When the entertainment budget in a family is higher than their offering, the heart begins to move to where the treasure is.

  • Rose

    Theresa, It’s the scale of the investment of time and money that seems unhealthy. When the entertainment budget in a family is higher than their offering, the heart begins to move to where the treasure is.

  • theresa kiihn

    Well, Many items in my budget are higher than my offering, but that makes me no less close to God. I think this thread has taken on a tone that makes me uncomfortable. We are not called by Christ to judge others. I was attempting to explain why I think Michael Jackson life and death attracted people’s attention. Being a fan or supporter of something apart from one’s church is not inherently sinful. A well-trained and catechised person who is also a part of culture in some manner is well-positioned to share the good news with others. I am positive that many Christians are fans of MJ’s music, just as a know a couple of huge Bach fans!

  • theresa kiihn

    Well, Many items in my budget are higher than my offering, but that makes me no less close to God. I think this thread has taken on a tone that makes me uncomfortable. We are not called by Christ to judge others. I was attempting to explain why I think Michael Jackson life and death attracted people’s attention. Being a fan or supporter of something apart from one’s church is not inherently sinful. A well-trained and catechised person who is also a part of culture in some manner is well-positioned to share the good news with others. I am positive that many Christians are fans of MJ’s music, just as a know a couple of huge Bach fans!

  • wayne pelling

    I see the outpouring of grief over here in Ozstralia,for Jackson ,and really hsould not be shocked ,given that people have turned their backs on God and will chase after anything/anybody . I want to know why “Shifty” Al Sharpton was involved.Afterall Jackson’s family are JWs’ .But then Sharpton will do anything to parade himself in the media. Sorry but i think the man is an apostate.

  • wayne pelling

    I see the outpouring of grief over here in Ozstralia,for Jackson ,and really hsould not be shocked ,given that people have turned their backs on God and will chase after anything/anybody . I want to know why “Shifty” Al Sharpton was involved.Afterall Jackson’s family are JWs’ .But then Sharpton will do anything to parade himself in the media. Sorry but i think the man is an apostate.

  • LisaV

    At least two of the Jackson brothers are Muslim. Jermaine and Randy have both publicly stated that they have converted to Islam. Not that it answers what the rest of the family believes.

  • LisaV

    At least two of the Jackson brothers are Muslim. Jermaine and Randy have both publicly stated that they have converted to Islam. Not that it answers what the rest of the family believes.