Yesterday saw the passing of a major star, cruelly cut down in their prime. And then Michael Jackson pegged it and stole all of Farah Fawcett’s thunder. So now we are subjected to endless hastily cobbled together tributes about the life and times of Michael Jackson with little reference to the fact that he was a utter nutjob. Yes, he was. You see, this is what annoys me. When people are alive and well they’re plastered all over the papers and those trashy magazines. “Journalists” (for want of a better word) like to regularly shame them by dragging up nasty little tales of wrongdoing or, if they haven’t got evidence of anything, ridicule them for the way they dress or cut their hair.
Michael Jackson was ever the subject of such things, he was mostly referred to as Wacko Jacko (or Wacko Jackson as the woman on the BBC news said this morning, silly moo), and they loved it when he was publicly tried for sexual abuse against children, they always knew he was a wrong ’un. They didn’t like it as much when he was found not guilty because they had to go back to taking the piss out of his rather alarming looks. And they’d been doing that for years and it had become a bit boring.
But now he’s dead. No more Wacko Jacko, no no, behold the “King of Pop”, a “musical genius”. Hmmm. Now, I’m not saying he didn’t used to be good, because he was, very good but that was a long long time ago. Back before his skin became whiter than mine, and I’m practically blue. And yes, it is sad that he’s dead (unless you believe the conspiracy theorists). But people die. Other people don’t seem to realise that we all will, even those who are in the public eye. If you watch the news (which, frankly I’m now boycotting because of it all) you will see fans, hysterical with grief, sobbing into their floral tributes and utterly inconsolable. Oh, so you knew him personally then? Of course they didn’t. I really can’t understand this behaviour. It was the same with Princess Diana and that all seemed over the top to me too. It went on for weeks. Yes, it’s a shock when celebrities die, especially if they’re young, but they’re just people and for me the shock passes, I might say “oh, that’s a shame” and then I get on with my life.
Seemingly that’s just me, though, because the once reviled now become revered in the public eye. Jade Goody is the perfect example of that. Look back to when she first became well known on Big Brother and she was all over the tabloids referred to as an ignorant fat pig. The British public hated her. They hated her even more when she made racist comments to Shilpa Shetty on Celebrity Big Brother. And then she got cancer and died young. The British public clearly has a very short memory because in some circles she is now likened to Princess Di. Erm…. Only Michael Parkinson, it appears, had the guts to tell it like it is about Jade, “When we clear the media smoke screen from around her death, what we’re left with is a woman who came to represent all that’s paltry and wretched about Britain today.” The tabloids were up in arms, of course they were, because they were instrumental in the reinvention of Jade the fat pig as Jade the tragic cancer stricken mother.
The world’s media, it seems, has a major problem with perspective. Too much store is held in celebrity in the modern world and the news of Michael Jackson’s death has overshadowed the infinitely more important story of the conviction of a 15 year old boy for murdering a toddler when he was babysitting her. Now that story made me want to cry.