Everyone likes a dead man’s money

Who was not shocked when they heard that Michael Jackson had died? I know I certainly didn’t believe it until I read it for myself. My sister informed us, “Hey, Michael Jackson is dead!” and I thought it was a hoax, maybe someone’s wishful thinking, because let’s face it: it certainly seemed like the man had no friends who would care to have him stick around. Upon checking every news outlet and confirming that indeed he had passed on, that feeling of blind-sided shock that accompanies a car accident in which you are the main star promptly overcame me. It was that same feeling of shock that came when we all heard of Princess Diana’s death.

Between that day and today, the media has been filled with all kinds of stories. Forget who will get the money of his surprisingly vast estate (I mean, weren’t we all led to believe that the man was completely and utterly broke? Turns out he could have cashed in that Beatles catalog for a cool billion dollars) and who will get the kids. Those kinds of stories are about par for the course. The kinds of stories that grabbed my attention were the ones discussing an entirely different facet of Michael Jackson. Normally, when a person dies, the media rehashes everything that we already know about the person. With this death, we’re seeing new depths.

For example, I had no idea that Mr. Jackson was something of a bookworm. I found myself, when reading this article, becoming slightly outraged that we were always given the impression that the man was a bit, shall we say, dim-witted. According to this article,

Largely an autodidact, Jackson was quite well read, according to Jackson’s longtime lawyer. “We talked about psychology, Freud and Jung, Hawthorne, sociology, black history and sociology dealing with race issues,” Bob Sanger told the LA Weekly after the singer’s death. “But he was very well read in the classics of psychology and history and literature . . . Freud and Jung — go down the street and try and find five people who can talk about Freud and Jung.”

For a man who could read Freud and Jung (for God’s sake, how many of us have done so?!), one of the greatest tragedies must be that he was taken for an idiot. Why did his handlers never make the media focus on his more intellectual side? I can’t imagine how they could have thought that would hurt his image.

While I couldn’t care less about either his moon-walk (ok, that’s a lie–I just saw his moon-walk on YouTube, and it was crazy good) or the tabloid sensationalism of his legal quagmires, I find it an incredible shame that we are being allowed, by the media, to admire him death. In a just world, we would have been allowed to admire more than his moon-walk in life as well. And something tells me that this newfound respect from the media has everything to do with money.

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6 Responses to Everyone likes a dead man’s money

  1. Ajla says:

    I was so heart-broken when I read the news, just minutes after they were published in the TMZ site, who were the first ones to report about his death. It was minutes past midnight and I just sat there in shock. I thought, hoped, prayed it was all a bad, bad joke but next morning I realized it really was true. Until the memorial yesterday, I didn’t want to really believe it. I had flash-backs of the day Diane died, I was seven. I remember 9/11. Shocked and just couldn’t believe it, although I do know fo a fact death comes whether you want it or not.

    I always believed he was very intellectual, you can’t pull of those kinds of lyrics or interesting videos or shows by being dumb. Reading that article made me smile, finally people can know more about the ‘real’ Michael. It made me love him even more, being a fan since early childhood. Who was he? A mere human, of course. But his death does touch because he did so much for a world that for the most part just took advantage of him. He believed in the human goodness and gave his all to help children and those suffering worldwide. Music was his way, politics is someone else’s way, art is someone else’s… Doesn’t change the fact that he was special, ironically, although mere human.

    When I saw his daugther Paris talk and cry infront of all the people, I cried with her. He had been abused, kicked and laughed at all his life, this sensitive and good person, the good father, son and brother, and for what? This is a cruel and beautiful world.

    • I think Brooke Shields said something about how most people see with their eyes, and Michael saw the world through his heart…isn’t that the most difficult way to see the world, and the people in it? Because sometimes the heart sees things that other’s eyes cannot even comprehend.

      And, yes, his daughter’s pain made me cry too (my brothers will so laugh at me for that!). It is a cruelly beautiful world.

  2. realistic bird says:

    Salaam,

    Yup I was surprised to know he was a bookworm too when I read it the other day. I was telling my brother that if they didn’t harass the man and put him in seclusion we would have seen like a new album or two from him and other inventive stuff. It makes me upset that they made his life horrible when he was alive but when he is dead now they want to remember him! You are right sis it is all about the money.

    • Wa’Alaykum Salaam! 🙂 The ironic thing is that we will learn more about him now that he’s passed away than when he was alive! It’s almost as though the media wanted to make him suffer, and now that he’s not around to be affected by their words, they can pretend to be humane.

  3. Hey salaams!

    One simple point – the reason why nobody would EVER highlight MJ’s intellectual side when he was alive is because things like that don’t sell, and if that doesn’t sell then where will the money come in from which the whole world can “enjoy” from in his death.

    It is a very very very sad way of life unfortunately – but the madness sells, and it’s what people care about.

    • It’s very odd, because the madness that sells is very specific to certain people. It’s like the media has their villains (MJ, Martha Stewart) and then they have their darlings (Brad and Angelina, for example). Perhaps this is the way the media maintains it’s image of “objectivity…”

      Tragic way to live and to die.

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