Wednesday, July 1, 2009

It's a Matter of Style..... and Taste

For the past week it's been the King of Pop 24/7. Since he died late on Thursday [June 25th] he has been the major news story - eclipsing even the pecadellos of the governor of South Carolina. What did his doctor do? or perhaps not do? was he qualified? did he wait too long? Was Michael on drugs? [Yes!!] Where are the kids? what's going to happen to them? Is Joe Jackson over the top? [Also, yes.]

He's been publicly mourned by Jessie Jackson, Diana Ross, the Rev. Al Sharpton and many fans of all ages. Dance-ins have been held. Special tributes at The Apollo. News anchors have gushed over what his music means to them. The pundits have found ways to connect his life to current politics. Rush has claimed that his career flourished under the Reagan administration, but then lagged under Bush, Clinton, and Bush and he asks if his death under Obama portends bad things for the U.S. [I'm serious. I saw a tape of it on MSNBC.] We've seen all the good music videos again and again, and seen more of the Jackson Five than anytime in the past thirty years.

Today we are worried about who gets what in the will. Apparently he left me nothing - just like almost everyone else. And by the way, what does he actually own anyway? and is his estate worth $200 million, $700 million, or was he way in debt? Will the spike in record and DVD sales and potential future sales from re-releases increase the estate's worth exponentially - remember Elvis? Will Neverland become Graceland West? [Probably.]

And, now we are obcessing over the plans for the funeral. Apparently no public viewing at Neverland, and no burial at Neverland - both outlawed by the county. What celebs will speak? Who will attend? [Quincey Jones will not.] Will we see the children? And while we are on the children.... too many questions to write down. [Well, just one: did he consult with George Foreman when choosing their names?] It looks like the event will be held on Sunday in Los Angeles. I have weekend plans and cannot make the trip - drat! But if the funeral does take place on Sunday, it will be a mere 10 days after his death.

In the meantime, Farrah Fawcett who died less than 12 hours before Michael, was [almost] quietly buried on Tuesday in Los Angeles. Plenty of stars were there, and the media of course, but it was not a three-ring circus. Sad stories about Redmond getting out of jail for three hours to attend, wearing civilian clothes with his handcuffs, and being able to spend a bit of time with his father. All tastefully done, and in only five days.

No one can deny that Farrah started out as a leader in "jiggle TV" or that she made her first big impressions as a model and commercial actress. I remember my younger brother getting really excited about Farrah when he was only in junior high school - perhaps his first crush! But she grew up. She worked at her craft and became a good, steady, if not sensational, actress who was nominated for several Emmy Awards. She took on more challenging roles and in her last years gave her time and her celebrity to worthy causes. Her final project was heart breakingly brave.

But her family and friends did not let her death become a spectacle - and good for them. In the beginning I was a bit miffed that she had to share the day of her death with Michael. His death completely wiped her off the news cycle. Later tho, I heard a member of her family say that it was actually a relief to them; that she preferred to keep her personal life private, and it was easier with all the attention turning to Jackson. She started as a poster queen, but ended up as a class act. RIP, Farrah. And, Michael.

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