A friend wrote and asked me today if I thought the memorial service for Michael Jackson was too much.
I watched part of the service online while at work today. I didn’t think the tribute was too much. I think it was appropriate, I think it’s what fans wanted and what his family wanted.
I was very surprised, however, that his daughter spoke. I don’t think he would’ve wanted that. And, I’ve seen 11-year-old-kids at their father’s funeral (when the father was 50 and died suddenly) and I’ve been the uncle at the kid’s side, and while that kid had guts to speak at all, I hated that they put a microphone in front of her. Even if they did, as they did, surround her. I don’t know whose idea it was, but I suspect it wasn’t hers. All that kid needed was someone to hold her.
Ironically when I saw her speaking I could only think of Lisa Marie Presley, who was about that age when Elvis died. (Then the irony of Lisa Marie Presley actually being that kid’s father’s ex-wife was a bit weird.) But as for the service itself—it was big, because it’s a big moment. It can only be compared, generationally or equally, to the death of Elvis Presley. We know in hind-site that was a huge moment for music and pop culture.
Our news cycle is different now than it was then, but still I don’t think we knew what that moment in time was when Elvis died. Only now looking back at it can we see it, and can we see how his “empire” has continued to grow and influence and be a part of Americana. Now we collectively have that knowledge and experience—so this time….we know it, and we treat it as it is, for what it is.
So was it too much? For the most part, I don’t think so.
Was it a lot. Hell yes!