In July 4 IssueRussell County NewsBy Wade Daffron, Columnist
OK, so I’m kind of at a loss about the death of Michael Jackson.
When I first heard mention of it the other day, I was more interested in the “coverage” of his death then the fact he had passed away.
I don’t mean to sound cruel, I am just fascinated by the way things are twisted, tweaked, and tossed around by the media.
Some of you may not know this (and will be shocked), but well over a year ago I quit watching television.
It was not only another monthly bill to contend with, but I realized watching TV put me in a bad mood.
If you think about, television constantly bombards viewers with images of strife, trouble, and grief-and that’s just Nick Jr.
OK, not really, but if you’re a “news junkie” like me, it’s no problem at all to find round-the-clock newscasts, updates, breaking news, etc.
And “bad news” sells, so there’s always plenty of it.
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(Sorry-My one-year-old typed that line, so I better leave it in. Probably makes more sense than what I’m typing.)
Anyway, I thought for sure I’d have “withdrawal” from no TV, but it didn’t bother me at all.
Always been a radio fan, myself.
Of course, there’s the Internet, which, whether you wish to admit or not, has pretty much taken over our lives.
I noticed a blurb on some Internet page which said “Michael Jackson Dies.”
At first, I remembered that very morning I was telling someone “one more famous person will die, because things run in threes.”
Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett…then Michael Jackson.
Need to watch what I say.
I don’t think I was in any way responsible for the “King of Pop” dying, but it just creeps me out a little.
I started looking a “credible” Internet sites like CNN, Yahoo, and Topix. (Ha! Caught you on that one, huh?)
But I “cheated” a little, too, by going to websites broadcasting “live” footage from the hospital where Jackson was taken.
As expected, it was a true “media circus” with reporters fighting for information, fighting for interviews, and fighting to keep each other out of the range of each other’s camera.
There was the occasional goober jumping up and down or talking on a cell phone as they strategically placed themselves behind the “talking heads” during live remotes, and even the early appearances of makeshifts signs and “altars” to the fallen star.
You could see disdain in some newscasters who apparently weren’t allowed to announce just yet that a megastar had died-even though other outlets had said so.
I believe I heard the term “unconfirmed reports” about 120 times in less than a minute as a scanned various news sources.
Which made me wonder: Who wants to be so eager to be the bearer of bad news?
Is there some kind of award for the “First News Agency to Announce the Death of a Famous Person”?
After Jackson’s death was confirmed, practically all news agencies were saying, “As we reported earlier”-almost as if they were winking at you the whole time to subliminally tell you Michael Jackson had died, and they knew it all along, but couldn’t really say anything.
Then came the interviews…
I’m not kidding-I believe I heard one interview with someone who was “an acquaintance of Jackson…who had last spoke with him briefly in the late 1980s.”
There was also a barrage of lawyers for Jackson, lawyers who formerly worked for Jackson, or were “an acquaintance of Jackson.”
Many of the people I heard interviewed said they did not know Jackson personally, but “were really touched by his music.”
Yeah, which could easily be all of us.
Was I a big Michael Jackson fan?
Like everyone else, I have a copy of Thriller because I think there’s a Federal Law that says you have to.
Which brings me to this point: Why in the world are people rushing out to buy Michael Jackson stuff?
First of all, everybody has a copy of Thriller (it’s the law).
Second, this is the WORST time to buy Michael Jackson items because they will be at their highest demand (and highest price).
There are CD factories struggling to keep up with the demand for his CDs.
Trust me-if you wait just a little bit, there will be plenty of Michael Jackson CDs available.
You’ll probably see “Memorial Editions,” “Special Editions,” “Limited Editions,”-who knows what else.
Remember when Elvis died?
One thing I’ll never forget is people rushed out to buy the last album he put out before his death.
It was called Moody Blue, and if you recall, it was pressed on blue vinyl (there was even a sticker on the cover which said so).
Anyone who had that album thought they had a goldmine because they not only had Elvis’ last album, but it was also on blue vinyl. I heard people offering to sell their precious treasure for as much as $1,000.
Slight problem-If you use a little common sense, you would realize that just about everyone owned this album whether they were an Elvis fan or not (just part of our “Celebrity Death Culture”).
Since there was so many of those albums around, how could they be valuable?
Yes, blue vinyl was unusual, but the majority of the Moody Blue albums were made that way, so again, how can that make it so valuable?
In actuality, a very small number of the original, Moody Blue albums were pressed on the common, black vinyl, and those are rare.
To confuse you even more, the RCA record plant in Indianapolis made very few (supposedly less than 10-20) Moody Blue albums in different color vinyl, and even a “picture disc.” Those are extremely rare.
Now, let’s get real confusing…
After Elvis’ death, while trying to keep up with the demand for Presley product, RCA began releasing Moody Blue on BLACK vinyl-which made some people think the “new” black vinyl copies were as valuable as the “original” black vinyl copies, which they weren’t. The “new” black vinyl copies were the least valuable of all pressings of that album.
So, what’s the point to all of this, and why am I obsessed with useless trivia?
(BTW-I have not forgotten Michael Jackson was once married to Elvis’ daughter, Lisa Marie. Heck, it’s interesting Michael Jackson was married, period.)
If you’re looking for some commentary, here it is…
What is it about our culture, or our state of society, that people are not appreciated until they are dead?
I’m sure you’ve heard people say a particular artist will not be famous until they die.
That’s technically correct because their output is literally limited after death.
Wouldn’t it be nice if people could be appreciated and celebrated while they’re still with us?