First published in USAToday.com, The Huffington Post and SFgate “City Brites.”
Michael Jackson is dead. Now we love him?
Farrah Fawcett’s dead. Now we love her? And, finally, in death, a death bed proposal!
Death just brings out the best in us all! Aren’t we special?
And, if one is terminally ill and at death’s door…that’s really sweet. People look up from their Palm Pilots and stop Twittering, or tweeting, or whatever it is they are doing…if only for a moment. In the final hours, perhaps one even gets to communicate with their loved ones by spoken word! Holy trifecta! It’s almost worth dying for!
Perhaps it is easy to get worked up about all this celebri-tainment. But, this fascination with other people’s train wrecks has got to stop distracting us from connecting to each other. Think about it people. If we “social network” with actual conversations and exchange ideas, perhaps we can create a government afraid of the people instead of the other way around. As we spiral into a third world country…how exactly do we tweet our way out of that?
News producers…can you hear me?
I had the misfortune of traveling cross country over the weekend. That meant waiting for hours in airports with nothing to do but watch our corporate-owned mass media spin out of control over Jackson’s death and, like a carnival freak show, work the public into an absolute manic frenzy.
CNN news, once an internationally-recognized source of information, has devolved into Entertainment Tonight periodically juxtaposed with feeble efforts to convince us otherwise. How does that work? So glad you asked. It works like this: Hours upon hours of talking about M.J’s tragic life interspersed with promotional video showing a correspondent with a Hijab on her head. Note to reader: Hijab is not the same as jib-jab.
Here’s the real news flash: CNN is no longer serious news. No matter how many reporters wear an Islamic head-dress.
Our brains are being hijacked and our memories are shorter than the lifespan of a Med fly. The mass media is Anna Nicole Smithing us into a coma. And here’s another news flash for ya’: The mass media loves death because it’s cheap. Let me be more specific. It cost little or nothing to send reporters to Los Angeles and stand outside a dead celebrity’s home.
But, putting boots on the ground reporters in places where U.S. bombs are killing civilians? To cover a drone-strike that leaves behind dead Afghani children? No one wants to see that. We like celebrity death. We ignore all those other deaths. Not to mention the “cost-ineffective” expense of sending unbiased correspondents (Dahr Jamail proves that’s not always an oxymoron) to places like Afghanistan and Iraq .
No way Jose! Instead, America ’s mass media shows the world what it thinks the American people care about most…Michael Jackson’s “Dirty Laundry.”
“We can do the innuendo.
We can dance and sing.
When it’s said and done we haven’t told you a thing.
We all know that crap is King
Give us dirty laundry!”
From the scathing words of Don Henley to the sweet innocent words of Michael Jackson’s hit song, Man in the Mirror:
“If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change!”
In Jackson ’s honor, let’s look into the mirror of our national psyche and make a change by turning off the television, putting down our micro-blogging devices and actually speak to one another out loud and face to face. Perhaps then a word could lead to a desire to listen, then listening could lead to open hearts, then open hearts could lead to….well, dare I say it …perhaps a kind word or even a hug.
One good honest caress is more powerful than all the oxycontin in Michael Jackson’s body…and that simple act certainly would have done him a world of good.