Saturday, June 27, 2009

Michael Jackson: Favourite son

As you might have heard, Michael Jackson died earlier this week. And it's not just celebrities rushing to make sure the camera catches them pulling their best sad faces, oh no. Towns and cities are jostling to try and turn a man's death into a major tourist attraction.

Gary, Indiana wants the body:

The mayor of Michael Jackson's childhood hometown says he'd like to see the pop singer buried in Gary, Ind.

Mayor Rudy Clay tells The Associated Press that short of a burial, he hopes Jackson's body can at least lie in repose at City Hall.

Rudolph says he'll push for that but hasn't broached the possibility with Jackson's family.

That's a nice gesture, then? Taking the man back to the place where the child was born, completing the circle of life and honouring... hang about, can you smell hot dogs? And the sound of someone hammering together souvenir stands?
The 73-year-old mayor says he also hopes the community of about 96,000 along Lake Michigan becomes a mecca for Jackson fans, similar to the way Elvis Presley fans flock to Graceland in Memphis, Tenn.

- at least, that's what we think he said; it was kind of hard to hear above the sound of the machine churning out 'Jackson's birthplace' t-shirts.

But you know what? If you really want to show your emotions by spending some money in a place Jackson was connected with, why not go to Orlando?

Yes, Orlando. Orlando, Florida. Of course it makes sense, just ask the Orlando media:
The pop star spent a lot of time at Disney. He was seen at the Magic Kingdom with child actor Mccauley Culkin.

Orlando Sentinel Music Critic Jim Abbott worked as a boat pilot at the theme park in those years. "He was kind of like this weird eccentric uncle who would come into town unexpectedly at different points."

Yes, it's well known that Disney World welcomes weird, older, single men who see themselves as Uncle figures, eccentrically holidaying alone with young boys to whom they are not related. I believe they usually have a couple of such guys printed on the front of the brochure each year.

Other towns are worried that they might lost their status as home to the most famous dead black pop star. Augusta has swung into action to try and shore up its position:
Makeshift Jackson memorial outside James Brown Arena

Hey, no, it's not quite so random - after all, Jackson was at the arena for one of his last public appearances, except for the times he appeared in public in the following three years.