The passing of a king

Mar 23, 2010


One of the macro trends of the news business for the last decade or so has been that there are more and more news outlets chasing fewer and fewer stories (you can read all about it at; that particular observation was in last year's study, if memory serves). This is largely a result of the rise of cable news, which is all about the big story right now, and the systematic gutting of network news departments.

Some news outlets have counter-programmed quite effectively, offering cogent, in-depth news on a variety of subjects including some of what is actually important. Most notable is The New York Times, though it's also truer of newspapers in general than it is of another news medium.

Generally I find whatever the national media pack is obsessing over at any given moment to be utterly trivial and made even more so by their inane coverage — and the Michael Jackson story is no exception. Really, I think it's sad he died, but no sadder than when anyone else dies. Which is not to say it isn't news, but really, to the exclusion of everything else? No.

Of course, if Rolling Stone wants to cover it obsessively that makes more sense.

But I am going to make an exception in the Michael Jackson case because of one thing. Say whatever else you will about him, the man could dance. Justin Timberlake is a poor, poor substitute. The comparison between Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake is the same as that between Gene Kelly and that-other-guy-in-Singing-In-The-Rain-whose-name-no-one-remembers. Seriously. I am not much of a fan of his music, nor is it even the kind of music I generally like, but I keep the music video Thriller on my iPhone at all times. It is effectively in a glass case in my pocket, ready to be busted out in case of emergency. No matter how bleak things get, watching the Thriller dance will always put a smile on your face, I don't care if you are in fact the Grinch himself. (I also keep the Christopher Walken/Fat Boy Slim video, Weapon of Choice on my phone for the same reason.)

So, here's my Michael Jackson tribute, if you watch it, I guarantee satisfaction:

After watching this one, I'm thinking of divorcing my wife, just so I can get married again and do this:

Apparently, if you're going to go to prison, do it in the Philippines (the poster on YouTube felt it necessary to specifically say that this was not a punishment):

And, in case you want to spread the joy yourself:



By "that-other-guy-in-Singing-In-The-Rain-whose-name-no-one-remembers" are you possibly referring to the great Donald O'Connor?  The same Donald O'Connor who arguably out-danced Gene Kelly in the "Moses Supposes" number and whose "Make 'Em Laugh" dance number is considered by many to be one of the best comic dance scenes in any movie?  Glad for your tribute to Michael, but there is no excuse to denigrate an amazing dancer.