Gibbon’s Lament

I didn’t watch the Michael Jackson memorial service. I didn’t boycott it, exactly, but I actually had some work to do, so I didn’t turn on the television to catch it.

I know. I can always watch the replays or catch it online. I think I will resist that urge, however.

Michael Jackson was a weird dude. Yes, he made some really cool music. My favorite song was “Billie Jean,” a song about a guy who is trying to explain away a child who was conceived out of wedlock. Nice values, eh?

But it had a nice beat, a cool video, and the song reminds me of my crazy days as a college freshman. If I knew then what I know now, I could have been dangerous. But I digress …

Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) put it pretty well the other day. He called Jackson a pervert. And it is hard to refute that charge. Jackson bought his way out of being charged for child molestation, which is pretty stunning if you think about it.

How many people are serving hard time for child molestation? Hundreds? Thousands?

It is really a pretty remarkable commentary about our society that Jackson has gotten the kind of post-mortem deification that he has. Elvis Presley had a weird life, but he didn’t abuse kids, for chrissakes.

And Jackson had other eccentricities that are hard to explain. His gloved hand? His propensity never to pay off his creditors? His Neverland ranch? His drug addictions? His ever-changing complexion?

One of the more remarkable aspects about this media circus is the emergence of Al Sharpton as a spokesman for the family. What is that all about?

About three weeks ago, most of black America was perfectly willing to forget that Michael Jackson was ever black. Now, the good reverend has somehow made it racist to point out that Jackson was a fruitcake.

It was pretty funny to see Mr. Sharpton dance on the stage of the Apollo Theater in tribute to Michael the other day. When it comes to dancing, Sharpton is no Michael Jackson. He is no Tito Jackson, either, for that matter.

But there he is. Odd Al defending Weird Michael as if the Voting Rights Act of 1964 were on the line. Come on! Give me a break.

There are a lot things going on in the world that deserve the nation’s attention. There is a major revolt going on in China. The Iranian revolution is still bubbling along. We pulled our troops out of Iraq’s cities. We are going on the attack in Afghanistan. The president’s stimulus package is a failure and the vice president has admitted that the Democrats have misread the economy. Congressional Democrats are trying to nationalize both the health and energy sectors. The president is backing a Hugo Chavez candidate in Honduras over a more American-friendly regime.

These are serious times. And yet, like a moth to the light, the American people are focused on a man that Pete King rightfully pointed out was a pervert.

Not sure what Edward Gibbon would make of all this, but I am sure it wouldn’t be good.


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