Friday, January 16, 2004

Wanna Be Startin' Something
The cable channels were all over the Michael Jackson court appearance today. (Count on them to tell you what's really important, and you'll get crap like this.) What strikes me as even more pathetic than Jackson himself, and his mind-boggling insistence that sharing a bed with children isn't wrong and that he'd do it again, are the throngs of people carrying banners proclaiming their support and weeping at the "injustice" in Jackson's "persecution." We're all fans of different people. I happen to be a fan of Brett Favre, John Cusack, Rosanne Cash, and T. Coraghessan Boyle, to name just four. I have enjoyed their work in the past, have an interest in what they'll do next, and would likely be reduced (and in Boyle's case, I have in fact been reduced) to a grinning, inarticulate goober in their presence. But if they were to break the law in some way, I don't think my first response would be to loudly proclaim that the accusations couldn't possibly be true, that they're being persecuted, and that it's all a witch hunt. (As with Jackson now, so with Kobe Bryant last summer.) And even if that happened to be my immediate kneejerk reaction, if evidence appeared that made the accusations seem more credible, as it has in both the Jackson and Bryant cases, I don't believe my response would be to stopper my ears, cover my eyes, and proclaim my idol's innocence even louder.

But that's just me--a guy with a life. My guess is that many among the throng of Jackson supporters today are people with no life beyond what they see on E and read in People. But that's no excuse for the rest of us, and for the news directors at the cable channels. Just watch. Every prime-time show tonight, from Bill O'Reilly to Aaron Brown to Keith Olbermann to Court TV to Headline News--will lead with the Jackson story, even though the Iowa caucuses are coming down to a dead heat and Bush agreed to modifications in the Iraq power transfer plan, both of which have to do with people's lives in a meaningful way--as opposed to Michael Jackson, who deserves 15 seconds at the end of the newscast instead of 20 minutes up front.

Yada yada yada, though, right? You will be able to find hundreds of entries just like this one throughout the blogosphere tonight and on the editorial pages of newspapers in the days to come. We all hate it, but we all pay a little bit of attention to it. The most precious part of it was the quote from one of Jackson's lawyers when the judge admonished Jackson for being late to court. The lawyer said: "We are lawyers. He is an entertainer and there is no rule book on how he can perform. He is not a professional defendant." I don't know what the hell the first part means--he's not performing, he's entering a plea in a court of law. And as for not being a professional defendant, well, even an amateur defendant should know enough to get to court on time. It's easy as 1-2-3. As simple as do-re-mi, actually.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?