The Media and Michael Jackson: Welcome to the Jackson School of Law, Public Health and Race

I had to stop watching. The orgy over Michael Jackson was deserved to a point, and then with 24-hour cable channels pumping out to a “Thriller” beat, it just got embarrassing with the media practically pandering to the mass audience the story is attracting.

Leave it to the Wall Street Journal to put things in perspective. Wednesday’s front page featured above the fold horizontal photos of Uighurs and Hans!  (The Uighars? Did they sing a cover of “I Want You Back”? )  Where was Jackson in the new hip Journal? MJ was in a small box, a photo of his coffin and a caption  on the left under the masthead.

A triumph of journalistic restraint!

The story now unfolds like any other emotion-filled  mega-story before it , i.e., the O.J. trial. that’s when the news became our de facto public school of law.  O.J  was our criminal law class.   MJ is our our  family law and probate class.

As we learn of the details of Jackson’s life,  you’ll be asking yourself if you have a will or an estate plan. You can count on that. You wouldn’t want to end up in the mess the courts are about to untangle.

So the news will become part law school, part business school case study , and potentially a seminar in the Jackson  school of public health; that is,  if we ever during the course of the next few months discover what killed Jackson, what tormented  him, and what he was running away to or from.

We have lots to look forward to!

Notice I have avoided taking the contrary approach like  one blogger on Alternet which called Jackson an icon of mediocrity who wasn’t a good dancer, singer, musician. Like what’s the fuss?  That’s an elitist approach, to which I’ll confess to using it in the past.  But save that tack for denigrating mass love shown for Donny Osmond. Or at the passing of one of the Monkees.

Jackson was far too complex and gifted.  And troubled.

His most complicated role that’s worth examining may well be the psychological toll race had on his psyche.

Jackson wanted to transcend race as if he were music and the dance, the universal forms that made him the King of Pop.

He couldn’t do that as a person, no matter how he tried. Jackson didn’t survive his fight against race and identity, no matter how he tried to transform himself.

But his music triumphed and that shall live forever.