Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Reflections on Michael Jackson's Memorial Service

I watched the service yesterday, and I have some observations:

1. The opening of the service bordered on the sacrilegious. (For those who didn't watch, Michael's golden casket was brought into the Staples Center as a choir sang, "Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King." It was unclear whether they meant God or the King of Pop.)

2. I enjoyed the performances, particularly John Mayer, which surprised me, as he is generally the sort of behatted hipster I avoid. However, his guitar-solo rendition of Human Nature was tasteful and beautiful. Jennifer Hudson's performance was also stellar. Lionel Richie, Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder, and Usher also performed.

3. Of the speakers, most struck me as self-serving and sycophantic. Being from where I'm from, I'm accustomed to Sheila Jackson Lee's style of rhetoric, but I thought it was inappropriate. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III's speeches seemed out of place, somehow- they seemed more suited to a political rally than a remembrance.

4. Brooke Shields, by contrast, told of the personal, human side of Michael Jackson. The stories about their exploits as children and her sincere emotion was very moving.

5. Paris Jackson, in my opinion, provided the true memorial. She was in the spotlight for a few seconds, but it wasn't until she spoke that Michael Jackson was really, truly human. She didn't say anything about his fame, or the controversy, or his music...she just talked about her daddy. Despite myself, I cried. Also, despite myself, as I watched her being cradled by her aunt and her brother, I hoped that the kids will be allowed to stay with the only family they know.

So, really, for me the whole memorial could have been 30 seconds long. Just a little girl saying that she loved her daddy. There is some controversy today: some people saying it was staged, others insisting that it was bad for Paris to allow her to speak. That will be hashed out, I suppose, as people try to squeeze another couple of days' worth of headlines out of this.

I'm just going to listen to some music.


Barbaloot said...

I didn't watch the thanks for re-hashing it. I think I would've just preferred the little girl, too. Although, I did see a video of Jermaine singing "Smile" and since that's one of my most favorite songs I would've let that stay, too:)

Kristina P. said...

Blech, blech, blech. I watched about 15 minutes, and I was honestly disgusted. It felt like a show to me, it was over the top, and that people were posturing for the cameras. I thought that Brooke was real and genuine, but I don't understand why some people were even there.

MJ made Kobe Bryant a better basketball player? Really?!?

Sorry. I'm just SOOOOOO over it. Especially since I did not respect him as anything other than a talented musician at one time.

Like I said on the board, he was not God.

Boy Mom said...

Dang, I had to work! How sad is it that I listened to every minute of the Clarence Thomas hearings and missed Michael Jackson's funeral. My cultural acceptance education has been compromised.

Tellie said...

I agree, Paris had a more profound impact than everyone else that walked on that stage. If none of the kids had spoken, people would have talked about that. You can never win when it comes to the media.

Lynn said...

I planned not to watch it and didn't...
Thanks to your great post I didn't have to...his daughter broke my heart too !
I locked myself out of the house for 2 hours so I did some yard work instead until my Hubs came and rescued me.

He asked me when he got home from work if I watched the service and I said I'd had enough of it all and my post on my blog said all I had to say about it.