Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I Just Don't Get It and then Some

I SWORE I wasn't going to write anything about Michael Jackson. But I'm going to break that oath and say this ... I'm certainly thrilled (as opposed to Thrillered) that I do not work in downtown Los Angeles! Today is going to be a nightmare for the folks who daily fight normally horrible traffic.

But what I want to know is: Who in the hell is paying for all the extra police, security, traffic control, etc. needed to manage the hundreds of thousands of people expected to crowd into LA for today's memorial at The Staples Center? The financially strapped city of Los Angeles? The breadline bound state government of CA? CNN reported that the city will be footing the bill for the law enforcement needed to handle today's mass of mourners. MY taxes are paying for crowd control for an event I think is over the top even by Whacko Jacko standards.

I know Jackson was a world-class entertainer. I know he was beloved by millions (though I'm not among that number), but come on folks! He was an entertainer ... a fucking ENTERTAINER. And one with questionable personal behavior at that. He didn't discover the cure for cancer. Or stop world hunger or genocide. As far as I can tell, he lived a very self-centered, self-indulgent life. I just don't understand why all the adoration and idol worship. Are we that hard up for role models? Or are we just that decadent in our standards?

Personally, I think the memorial should have been held at the Neverland Ranch at the expense of Jackson's estate. At most of the funerals and memorial services I've attended, the mourners usually gathered back at the home of the deceased for sandwiches and coffee. I'm sure Jackson and his family could have afforded it a lot better than the government.

Above photos: Homeless people in downtown Los Angeles. Where is their non-stop news coverage?

This from CNN.com today:

The total cost for security at the event is estimated to be between $2 million and $4 million [emphasis added], said Matt Szabo, spokesman for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The city, in the midst of a budget crisis, will foot the bill, said Councilwoman Jan Perry last week. But it needs help. By the time the memorial begins, about 3,000 officers will be at the Staples Center site, police said.

This from Los Angeles Times June 16, 2009:
Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti said this morning that it appeared that enough private donations had been pledged to cover the city's costs for Wednesday’s parade to celebrate the Lakers’ NBA championship.

Several council members had voiced opposition to spending any tax dollars on the parade because of the city’s financial crisis, which is expected to lead to widespread layoffs and worker furloughs starting in July [emphasis added].

Council members Jan Perry and Bernard C. Parks today filed a motion authorizing the Lakers’ parade, but only with the understanding that “event sponsors will reimburse the City for all fees and costs associated with this event," including police protection and other staffing necessary for city street closures.

Is it just me or should the Jackson estate be held accountable for the monies being spent today? People are losing their fucking jobs and the city is paying $2-4 million for security for one event that is not even a city sponsored event.

As a tax paying Angelino, I am OUTRAGED!


Stacia said...

I just don't get it either....

Stacia said...

And is it just me or is it odd to have his casket on stage at the Staples Center? Talk about self-indulgent, bizarre, and creepy. Oops, that describes MJ perfectly. Never mind....

Alan Orloff said...

Amen, sister.

Sharon said...

i heard a spokesperson for the City of LA being interviewed who said that the City was going to seek reimbursement from the Jackson estate. Well, good luck with that. Whacko was only over 200million dollars in debt,(money no doubt spent on all that research to find a cure for cancer)
Since the City and the State are as broke as Jackson, I'm sure that Federal money will have to pay the expense, so that all of us taxpayers can bleed a little more.
All of that homage for a creepy drug addict with a skin condition. We Americans have to be just nuts!

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

I am posting this for Abigail:

I love your most recent blog post. I tried to post a comment but no dice. So I am emailing it to you!

My comment:
I am a big Michael Jackson fan...and even I am outraged that LA is footing the bill for the memorial service. I find this whole situation extremely concerning for several reasons. First, why is the memorial even being held at Staples? It's a memorial service, not a benefit concert. I abhor the idea of charging people to attend a memorial service but basically these people are paying to see a celebrity and I don't think it is out of the question for them to pay a nominal fee to cover security.

Second, why is MJ such a big deal in the first place? I love his songs, I love his dancing, I think he was a true visionary who basically created the world of pop, including the modern music video, but never in 1000 years would I think that his death deserves the news coverage that it is getting, to the exclusion of other worthy news - actual news - about real issues like the budget crisis, homelessness, genocide, and civil rights violations all over the world. Why can't the media cover more than one story at a time? Because our society completely glorifies celebrity. Sue Ann and I see it all the time, especially in LA! It is disgusting. And this memorial service is a complete and total glorification of MJ's celebrity. It makes me concerned for the future of humanity, it really does.

Thanks for letting me email you! I have been feeling this way all day and I can't put it on FB because so many of my friends have status updates about how they are crying and watching the memorial and how it is a sad day for the world. BAH. Every day is a sad day if you look at what really matters.

JeanC said...

I've pretty much avoided all thing's memorial today (listening to country radio out of Nova Scotia helps) and the little I have heard about has me shaking my head.

As much as I loved MJ and his music (he was only 2 years older then me, so I kinda grew up with him in the background), this whole outpouring of "grief" is sickening. His whole life has been a media circus and now it has gone even beyond that. This whole thing has been a feeding frenzy for the media and the family should have put a stop to it and insisted the media back off.

I am sad that Michael died, as I said, he was always there in the background as I was growing up. I loved the Jackson 5 when I was a kid, I listened and watched him in the 80s and I shook my head in sadness to see him trying to find something he was missing with all the plastic surgeries, trying to forever be a child at Neverland, trying to escape reality.

He was surrounded by enablers on one side and users on the other, all pushing and pulling him. No wonder he never had a normal life. He didn't know what one was.

So RIP Michael, I hope you now can find in the next life the happiness and life you searched for and never found.

Meanwhile, the circus we call the media will be looking for the next victim to sink it's teeth into.

Armanda said...

I just feel bad for the other people that died on the same day he did (farrah fawcett and Ed McMahon... they were great actors and no one even remembers that they died... boo-ness to that

sparkly_jules said...

Well said, Sue Ann. Fortunately I've been traveling and I've missed most of the media circus. I just don't get all the adoration for a singer/dancer and who may have been a drug user and a child molester. I just don't get it.

BTW, the memorial service was free, no one had to pay to attend. Maybe they should have and reimbursed the city for security etc.