Now that the Michael Jackson circus is on hold until the narcotics prosecutions, Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez delivers a post-mortem on the crass hoopla and greedy opportunism that marred the pop star's sad farewell.
Lopez's column is headlined "Michael Jackson's memorial was not our proudest moment," and the "our" does not refer to LA. He faults the media, the hucksters, the merchandisers, the Rev. Al Sharpton (who was "on the scene roughly 10 minutes after Jackson was rushed to the hospital" and now is making "progress in getting Michael Jackson on a stamp"), the marketers at the Staples Center, even the cops loafing on the overtime beat, the man in the mirror.
And after nearly two weeks of gushing panegyrics, Lopez takes off the blinkers and takes a hard stare at Jacko's creepy sleepytime with little boys:
Jackson had some great years as a groundbreaking and barrier-crashing, once-in-a-lifetime talent with a message of peace and harmony. But that was followed by a decade or two of extremely disturbing weirdness -- not that you'd know that from the recent news coverage.
You had to wade through acres of shallow water to find media references to Jackson's reported $20-million settlement of a case involving a boy he was accused of molesting. And then there were his comments about seeing nothing wrong with sharing his bed with children, which tells me that if the scheduled comeback hadn't panned out, Jackson could have had a second career as an Irish priest.
Lopez doesn't even get into whether Jackson's artistic legacy is vastly overrated. While Liz Taylor may have christened her pal the King of Pop, his body of work is easily surpassed by McCartney, Dylan, Springsteen, Neil Young, Jagger/Richards and, as a global pioneer, Bono.
Lopez references a suggestion by his buddy, Jim Rainey, writing, "Maybe the only proper tribute is to launch that casket into space. Then, no matter where you are in the world, he'll be in the heavens above, moonwalking into eternity."