Friday, June 26, 2009

Pop Culture Musings

That picture was taken down the road this morning at the new Cowboys Stadium. Today are the "American Idol" auditions and people have been lining up since 4:30 a.m. I hope none of them die of heatstroke. When that episode airs next year, you will get to see just how hot it really is here.

Michael Jackson and the Viral Spread of Info: More fascinating than the odd death of Michael Jackson was watching how the news spread around in a public place. I had just left the doctor's office after an appointment to have some skin things looked at and although I had been dreading a possible shot to the face and some cutting, all I got was some "freeze and squeeze." I won't tell you about the squeeze part, but he froze a "mole" on my clavicle and one on my back. Fortunately, the thing by my nose was pronounced "an age spot." I guess that's good anyway. But it was all stressful and I stopped in at Logan's Roadhouse for a few beers.
So I'm sitting there and my phone rings. My husband says, "Did you hear that Michael Jackson is either dead or in a coma? He went into cardiac arrest." I told him I had not heard that. The TV in the bar was on ESPN. Just a few minutes later, the bartender girl asks one of the waiters, "Is it true about Michael Jackson?" I told her about my husband's call. Then a lady dressed in scrubs who was waiting for a "to go" order, said, "He's in a coma." I guess because she was dressed in scrubs, we took her pronouncement as official. Slowly more waiters and waitresses began to trickle down to the bar and she changes the channel to CNN. And there it was. The main pic was of a crowd gathering at the hospital, but the bottom section said, "L.A. Times reports Michael Jackson is Dead." Meanwhile, I get a text from my daughter at work asking, "Is Michael Jackson dead?" I texted back, "Dead or Coma" just as the bartender finds the channel and I see the bottom so I added, "L.A.Times says dead." So then I imagine my daughter is telling everyone around her, "Mom says the L.A. Times said he is dead." Then I suppose, they started texting people based on my text to my daughter.
I started thinking how the cell phone spread that news so quickly. I suppose in the past, someone would have walked into that restaurant and said, "I just heard on the radio that Michael Jackson may be dead." Then the TV would have been searched and I would have known, but that would have been the end of it on my end. I just thought it was really interesting to see how this piece of information jumped around so quickly.
No one in the bar was really a Michael Jackson fan and it was more of a "good riddance" feel. As we watched the crowds gather on TV, I said, "I don't get who these fans are." And a young girl, a waitress that was maybe 18 or 19 that I hadn't noticed standing to my right, said very defensively, "I LOVE Michael Jackson!!" And she was all sad and gloomy. I was just perplexed thinking she wasn't even alive when he was normal and making good music. In the years of her young life was his baby collecting and baby dangling and masking and face cutting. I didn't get it.
As I got up to leave, I turned back to the bar and in a sarcastic fake sad voice, I said, "I'll always remember where I was the day I heard the news." And everyone laughed.


Carole said...

No kidding! The news spread like a wild fire! My daughter called me and said her whole office was buzzing about the "rumor" of death, so I googled it, and found the "dead" report on TMZ before it was being reported anywhere else. I knew it was true the moment I found it.

I think the reason so many people are so saddened by this, is that they remember him from his sweet early years, or kids like ours remember him from his Thriller Days. I remember that played all the time when Jen was little. I loved that video!

Michael Jackson's life started out with such possibility, he was so talented. The real tragedy of his life began unfolding years ago; his young demise seemed inevitable.

Carole said...

Oh and...I loved your remark "I hope none of them die of heatstroke." That totally cracked me up! :)

Jazz said...

I wonder how long it took for the news to spread around the world. it's actually quite freakish when you think that 100 years ago people sent telegrams when there was important* news.

Do telegrams even still exist?

* which I don't qualify MJ's death as being. Yeah, he changed pop music forever but to some large extent, who cares.

mrwriteon said...

I'm with you and Jazz on this puppy. Or, as somebody wrote, he should have died in prison where he deserved to be. And as Jazz also wrote: "Poor Farrah, upstaged again." Bad bit of timing similar to the one when Mother Theresa died the same day as Princess Diana. Oh, I am so ashamed for being so cynical.

xup said...

I'm not weeping over his death, but I've been sad in the past over his life. It's too bad that the events of the last couple of decades have overshadowed the quite amazing stuff he did in the past. He had a freakishly bizarre life from day one and could not have been anything other than freakishly bizarre as an adult. I'm still not convinced about that whole pedophile stuff.

ticknart said...

Here's a comic that goes along with all of the hoopla.

Jammie J. said...

I guess he died as freakishly as he lived... weird.

Scarlet said...

I heard about it right away, before CNN and the LA Times confirmed it, on Facebook of all places. Someone had actually heard it on Twitter...and it spread quickly.

I like your sarcastic last line at the bar. It's "Bad" but it's good. :)

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Well, there are people who actually do feel they will always remember where they were when they heard the news about Michael Jackson.....Whatever one might feel about the very strange way Michael Jackson's life turned out, he was undenuably one of the GREAT Entertainer's, ever.

How the news travels so quickly now---think of Lincoln's time and how some people didn't know for mnoths about his assasination....And now...Texting.

What I find so disgustimg is how the 24 hour News Cycle is going to wring every teeny tiny rumor and untruth out of this. Disgusting.

In the end, it will be his career that will be remembered,, not whether he dangled a baby over a balcony....This world is nuts!

geewits said...

~~It's funny that you said: I knew it was true the moment I found it.

In this day and age I don't really trust anything at first glance. I always feel like I need proof. But according to reports, you were right and TMZ had it first.

~~Great question about telegrams. I actually sent one once. I should look that up.

Ian (mrwriteon),
~~You are not cynical. You are right on.

~~I have to respond to your last two sentences. As for his "freakishly bizarre life from day one" I don't follow. There have been hordes of men throughout history that were beaten by their fathers and forced to work from early childhood and the majority of them grew up fine. If you are referring to "the spotlight" look at Jodie Foster and Prince William. Jodie's mom was a bitch and Jodie had to support the family as a child.
If you are not convinced of the "pedophile stuff" ask yourself why anyone would pay two different families 8 figures ($10 million or more) just to avoid a trial when they are not guilty. You at least have to acknowledge that he had un unusual relationship with young boys. Millions of people have had horrible childhoods but they didn't grow up to talk like babies and sleep with little boys.

~~That's great! And it applies to almost everything!

~~I'm going out on a limb here and will say that I think even his staunchest defenders will be disappointed when they learn the real cause of death.

~~Yeah, he had good music and invented dance styles and broke the color barrier at MTV, but he ruined all of that for me with his fetish for little boys.

Jocelyn said...

I always marvel at these mass bereavements--and roll my eyes a bit when it was someone who was so widely mocked in recent years. I guess it shows how years of dumbassery melt away, and everyone remembers the joyful child with promise.

xup said...

Oh ya, his relationship with young boys was very odd. And yes, other kids grew up in the spotlight and had crappy parents, but no one grew up continuously in the spotlight like MJ. They are calling him the most famous person on earth and they called him that before he died, too and for some time now. He was a superstar at age 6. Add this to his very weird childhood and, maybe most importantly his personality which was weak and submissive and painfully shy from all accounts. Under the circumstances, I can see why someone would pay off accusers to avoid a long trial dragging who knows what personal stuff into the spotlight. But who knows. I'm the last person to defend a child molester, but I just can't see it in this case. Tons of parents left their kids at Neverland --kids who to this day (as adults) say what a kind and gentle guy he was; how comfortable he made them feel; how nice he was. But again, I'm just going by a gut reaction to what I've seen and read over the years.