American Culture

The end justifies the meaning….

Michael Jackson’s death is having a strange resonance for me.  The feeling I have is like the sound a spring reverb used to make when you bumped into somebody’s guitar amp.

I haven’t been able to work out for myself what it means yet. Of course it’s still early.

I keep hearing Patrick Star’s voice: there’s this Sponge Bob episode where Patrick cries in despair, “Why does this keep happening!?” And Sponge Bob says in a resigned, measured tone, “I – don’t – know.”

It’s like that, if you know what I mean, which I doubt.

Here’s some random information I’m sorting through:

Item: I went to a Doco show back in January. In the middle of their song “Atmosphere,” they broke into a killer cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” Some guy behind me said, “Damn. ‘Billie Jean.’ Michael Jackson was the shit, wasn’t he?”  The chick standing next to me turned to him and said matter of factly, “Yeah, he was. Too bad he got so fucked up.”

We all caught each other’s eyes and nodded at her simple, powerful truth.

Item: I was at band rehearsal a month ago.  We took a break and decided to have a bite to eat.  My band mate is a bachelor so there wasn’t much to choose from. He offered me a peanut butter and banana sandwich. “Fry it,” I said. He burst into laughter.  “Damn, I miss Elvis,” he said.

We fried the sandwiches. They were good. Besides, they weren’t what killed The King….

Item: I timed a pharmaceutical commercial last night. In a 30 second spot 17 seconds were devoted to telling viewers about the bad shit the drug would do to them, 13 seconds to its “possible benefits.”

This is the norm now, my crap detector keeps telling me.

Item:  Lisa Marie Presley has posted a blog entry at her MySpace site telling that she and Michael Jackson had a conversation in which he indicated he feared he’d end up like Lisa Marie’s daddy.

Be sure to read the comments. As Sandburg observed: The People, Yes….

Item: CNN has an article posted about how Michael Jackson’s death nearly killed the Internet yesterday.As if  TMZ and Perez Hilton going away would be a bad thing.

They say 70% of the Internet is porn. Visit any major media site today and you’ll see why.

I don’t know any more now than I did when I started this. But I suspect a lot….

To paraphrase the old Chevy Chase line, Michael Jackson is still dead.

7 replies »

  1. Jim,

    Great post. I only wish you’d post more.

    FYI, When I was in 8th grade, I got stuck taking my young female 6th grade cousin to see the Jackson Five. Myself, I always liked Tito the best.


  2. When I was young I heard a sweet voice sing “Ben”.
    When I was in my teens I saw and heard that voice do “Pop”. Wasn’t my thing.
    When I saw “Thriller” I liked the dance moves.

    One day I was informed about an aging icon insulated by great wealth who would entice children to the gingerbread house. I threw up when I heard about the sensors that alerted him to approaches to his bedroom.

    Would I have had him as a babysitter is the only question I ever asked myself. The answer was not difficult to work out.

    …but the child in me remembers the voice that sang Ben.

  3. I suppose I can file this loosely under F for “Fall of Rome.” Things have indeed gone to hell, and not in the way that my father or grandfather or great-grandfather or Aristotle’s grandfather may have thought in times past. People have ALWAYS thought society was eroding from “the good old days,” but our present moment seems demonstrably different.

    I recently finished reading AFFLUENZA. I assure you, it did nothing to improve my mood…

  4. Ann: anyone can tell the story he/she is in. The telling will be unreliable, of course….

    Sam: …not with a bang but with a whimper,” as the man said…just before the cardiac arrest.

    One other thought – those Mayans are looking way too prescient for me these days….

  5. How about “can’t tell the whole story?” Unless you’ve already planned the ending – and you know about those crazy best-laid plans.

    If the end is near, I’m having another piece of cake and a lot more alcohol.