Welcome, every one of you to the most intense nightly read anywhere on the ‘sphere… The BitsBlog Nightly Ramble
This is the “Delivery Truck” Edition.
- Jackson: If you’re looking for a glowing obit, singing the unalloyed praises of the 50 year old kid who died yesterday, look elsewhere, This ain’t it. I won’t insult you by even attempting such a piece. What I will give you is honest impressions.I suppose by now I’m used to the idea of American success stories being played out as American tragedies. And who can deny that Michael Jackson was both? I made my living spinning records in the 70’s and 80’s, both on air and in clubs, and weddings and so on, so I perhaps had more experience with his music than some. Instantly recognizable riffs, and a groove, as I used to say, you couldn’t stop with a truck. Innovative, yet a dependable sound; a standard part of the toolkit of the DJ’s of the era. I built quite a few mixes based on his records, as did most back then. Radio, too, couldn’t get enough of him.He was one of the few child stars that actually made it into adulthood, with both their popularity and talent intact, and indeed, on the rise. Others have done it, of course, but that path is often littered with problems for the child star, usually but not always linked to the degree of their success, and most certainly linked to the degree of a real childhood they had. And for the next hundred years at least, Michael Jackson will be the primary example of that syndrome, because few others managed to make it through that meat grinder, and remain popular, and active, creatively. Jackson was undeniably more of a screwball than most of them. There are kinder words for it, but few more accurate. I suppose those quirks engendered as much fan affection for him as headshaking. I wonder now, though, as I have often in the past, if Jackson wasn’t living out the childhood he didn’t have. Money and success drives the most grounded among us off the rails, if you don’t mind me mixing metaphors. A look at lottery winners tells that tale rather well. Almost invariably, they don’t know how to handle the money. We try to let the money fill those areas of our lives we see as lacking. So, it seems to me natural that when Jackson went Bozo on the money, he did so in the direction of the childhood he never really had.?Was he a child rapist? I honestly don’t know, though it wouldn’t shock me if he was, given the rest of it. It fits the pattern, seemingly. It’s easy to believe.
That said, it also wouldn’t shock me if the court cases we kept hearing about weren’t brought on by his vast success, and the lottery of the lawsuit. Sadly, if the latter is true, he was truly a victim of his successes.As he was yesterday. And yes, I’ll say it… I suspect that what happened here was health problems brought on by his terminally weird attitudes about health, which resulted in a combo of prescriptions. We won’t know for sure until the autopsy is done. Prelims should be out in a few days, and the full thing in a week or two.
The investigation, I hear, is looking at Demerol. Ouch. I’ve had that stuff myself, incidental to a radiator blowing up on me about 20 years ago. I don’t remember much about it, really which ought to be enough of a description of the stuff, right there. This report does seem to confirm my suspicions, though.
I suppose this case will be a complex one, and given the level of money involved, and the possible lawsuits that will occur, the Coroner’s office will want to take the time to do this one right. But it’s an even money bet in the end, that the report will confirm what I suspect. We’ll see soon enough, I suppose, for what difference it’ll make. As in life, MJ in death is a diversion for most of us.
Meanwhile, the mold is well cast… we know how to create a mega star. We’ve done it often enough. What we’ve never mastered is how to help them deal with the consequences of it. But we never seem to tire of this same sad show we see every damned time, do we?
Don Surber suggests  the next child star train wreck is Britney Spears. I must say, that’s not a bad call, though I wonder if Lindsay Lohan… oh, never mind. See how easy it is to get caught up in this diversion nonsense? Billy has comments, too . He suggests the real thing was the J5. And he’s right, I think, that the stuff doesn’t get the attention it deserves, anymore.
I hadn’t really missed Michael Jackson in many years. There had been a time when I had, beginning right around “Thriller”. I was always ready to congratulate him on the monster success of that record. However, I didn’t get “Billie Jean”, and I still don’t. It was the work of The Jackson 5 that had stamped me. In my experience, that project had come perfectly in trail of black American music threads like Jackie Wilson and Stax/Volt: this was a clean and logical extension of R&B into more electric domains, stroked-up with the sparks flying off of work like that from James Brown and Sly & The Family Stone. “The Love You Save” was seminal to me: after that, I was ready for Rare Earth; by the time “Celebrate” and “Big Brother” came along, I knew what I was listening to.
Well, see… that was the difference between Motown in the day, and the rest of them. Remember, Billy… Rare Earth was a Motown act, too, a point I’m sure didn’t get by you…. having recorded most of their hits in the old Motown studio, dirt floor and all. Listen to the echo on the drumkit on “Get Ready” for example, and tell me that’s not the Motown sound with white Rock and Rollers. Gordy was a genius in signing them, I think, because thet influence went both ways. I think the only way you’re going to ‘get’ his later work is to evaluate it on it’s own. It’s Jackson trynig to break the cutesy mold, without losing his roots outright, and on a musical basis, it worked. And you know, I can almost hear Sly doing “Billie Jean” or “Off the Wall”. I can almost see that working, with the group being a lot looser on the harmony stuff and Sly screwing with the tempo some.
- This is news? Jackson’s death yesterday brought every publicity bug out of the woodwork. I had no sooner made the prediction to my wife that would happen, than we saw Al Sharpton on all channels. I know that when you’re in wall to wall mode, you scramble looking for something to fill the time with. But Sharpton? C’mon, guys. That’s the first sign you’ve run out of things to say. And a special note to Fox; Do yourselves a major favor, along with us. Dump Rivera. I place that journalistic flyweight in the same publicity seeking class as I do Sharpton. The difference is, Rivera isn’t as smart. 
- HEY! What about Farrah? Well, yeah, doesn’t THAT suck? I mean, dying on the same day as the Gloved one? I think personally, I’d have preferred the relative anonymity that being gobbled up by the news cycle surrounding Jackson provided those surrounding Farrah, as opposed to the news media going wall to wall on the thing, as they likely would have, had Jackson’s death not occurred as it did. Then again, I’m not a star. That said, though, I can’t imagine, say, Ryan O’Neil isn’t breathing a little easier for not having to face all that now. So maybe that’s all good, I don’t know. Then too, we’ve known for some time about her impending demise. We knew about the cancer, most of us. So the collective shock value didn’t rate as high, I suppose. All we knew of Jackson was he was supposed to be doing concerts in London next month…
- Holy Overload, Batman! When news broke yesterday of Jackson’s death, the Internet, already abuzz with Farrah’s death, went into a full stop traffic jam. By no means unexpected, but a little different than what I’ve seen for other events. Example; When 9/11 happened, I was in my office in Downtown Rochester. Almost as soon as I’d heard the news, my alarm bells started ringing as the bandwidth consumption at routers I was watching went through the ceiling. The company I was with at the time, had two POPs… one in LA, and one in New York… as it turned out, almost underneath the towers. Both reflected a huge jump in traffic, despite the early hour on the west coast yet. Numbers from routers on the far side of the firewall in each case were even worse. I have always marveled that while slow, the net never quit outright, as it did yesterday in a lot of cases. New York’s POP particularly shocked me, because as I found out later, the outer wall on the building the POP was in, had been seriously damaged by the towers falling.I imagine there’s a few differences that might account for this difference; We’re far more ‘on the net’ as a people than we were then… the net wasn’t nearly as universal. Broadband apps weren’t used nearly as much… such as video and audio streams. And since that time, more folks are using the net as their primary source of news.
Bang, Boom: I note Pajamas Media having server issues this morning. I’ve been getting 504 errors off the place all morning. I see Billy’s having some hardware problems , too. I think Billy’s issue was lightning if you want my honest opinion. He caught a decent thunderstorm down there while he was gone. Trust me, I’m hip to those… I lost the server room router in one, last month; an 8 porter. I had wanted to get a big 24 port router for my LAN here at Casa De Bit, but after losing one of the smaller ones in a thunderstorm that went through here a month back, I’ve decided to run a number of smaller ones, spread around the house. Cheaper on cable for one thing, and yes, I take a small performance hit… bur if I lose a small one, it’s not nearly the price hit.
- Cap and Tax: The Pelosi-Waxman-Markeybill , better known as cap and Trade and better described as cap and tax, was up today. Watch this: Waxman, transparency advocate that he is when Republicans are in power, decided overnight to replace the 1091 plus page monster, with a totally different bill… one coming in at only 300 pages. Good so far, right? Well, apparently the Democrats figure it won’t withstand scrutiny so after replacing the bill last night, they’re pushing it through today with only 2 hours of debate, given nobody any time to read the bloody thing. This not only is as dictatorial a move as I’ve ever seen in the Congress, but it makes me wonder what it is they’re hiding in this new bill.And perhaps we’ll never know. Word from my contacts in DC is the thing doesn’t have the votes, and so it won’t come to a vote today. Others are saying it’ll pass by a few votes. As usualy with one like this, the feedback is a bit of a jumble. But ponder what happens if despite all of that, they still couldn’t get it through. David Axelrod is being quoted by at least one source as suggesting that it “proves we can’t govern”. Yeah? No kidding? This going to come down to ten votes or less as it looks now. And again, this isn’t the Republcians doing this; The Democrats have near super-majorities in both houses, and can do any damned thing they want to. As a collection, they don’t want to. And no wonder; who wants to kill our economy as this thing surely will. True, Obama’s out there telling us all it’s going to work… but the Democrats in Congress listened to that about $800 billion ago, and have seen the results in their approval ratings. They know they’re on thin ice.
- Caption First: A first place for the Boss at OTB’s caption Contest. 
- Whatever happened to draining the swamp? Word from the Washington Times :
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. has backed off his plan to investigate wrongdoing by the liberal activist group ACORN, saying “powers that be” put the kibosh on the idea.Mr. Conyers, Michigan Democrat, earlier bucked his party leaders by calling for hearings on accusations the Association of Community Organization for Reform Now (ACORN) has committed crimes ranging from voter fraud to a mob-style “protection” racket.
“The powers that be decided against it,” Mr. Conyers told The Washington Times
Uh huh. Gee…. I can’t imagine why. Remember when ethics was the thing, Mr. Congressman?
Unity: There’s a thought that occurred to me, last night as I was going to sleep. Someone commented within my hearing that attaining the kind of popularity Jackson had in the day is impossible to do, today, such a rise will never be duplicated, even by Jackson himself, assuming he’d lived and the comeback tour had been everything anyone could hope. In thinking on why that might be, I come to one conclusion: We were far more of a homogeneous culture, then than now. I wonder if some of the mourning we’re seeing isn’t on some level a reflection on that loss. Heh. No, I don’t propose to hold Jackson up as a symbol of our culture in those days. Yet it’s undeniable that culturally speaking we were collectively far more willing to all see something in the music, than I suspect we would be, today.