Extraño adiós a Michael Jackson
Por: César Albarrán Torres07-07-2009
Vera Anderson hace un recuento del homenaje en Los Ángeles.
[GALERÍA FOTOGRÁFICA DEL MEMORIAL]
Estoy sentada frente a mi pantalla plana, con las piernas cruzadas, escribiendo este blog mientras veo el homenaje a Michael Jackson, y trato de recordar cuándo en nuestras vidas un sólo evento había dominado de esta forma las noticias. Cuando John F. Kennedy o Martin Luther King fueron asesinados, simplemente no existían tantos medios. Cuando John Lennon murió miles de personas se organizaron en el parque Central de Manhattan y en diversas partes del mundo se dieron vigilias pero fueron espontáneas y no organizadas como esta. Este bombardeo mediático de todo Michael todo el tiempo no tiene precedentes y culmina con el servicio público que se está dando en el centro de Los Ángeles. Si la atmósfera no fuera lo suficientemente circense, a las 4 de la mañana de hoy, 11 elefantes asiáticos caminaron varios kilómetros de la estación del tren al Centro Staples. No, no era parte del gran evento, sólo una irónica coincidencia, el tradicional desfile de paquidermos antes del amanecer que siempre ocurre la mañana previa que el circo Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey inicie su temporada de un mes en la misma arena. Imaginen la sorpresa de todos aquellos fanáticos de hueso colorado que ya estaban reunidos cerca del recinto.
Goodbye Michael Jackson
Sitting cross-legged on the bed in front of my flat-screen TV, writing this blog while watching the Michael Jackson memorial, I am trying to remember when in our lifetimes any event so dominated the news. When John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King were assassinated, there simply wasn’t as much media in existence. When John Lennon died thousands gathered in Manhattan’s Central Park and in silent vigils around the globe but it was organic as opposed to organized. This all Michael all the time media blitz is unprecedented, culminating in today’s public memorial service in downtown Los Angeles. If the atmosphere didn’t feel circus-like enough already, at 4 a.m. this morning 11 Asian elephants walked the several miles from the train station to the Staples Center. No, not part of today’s big event, just an ironic coincidence, the traditional pre-dawn pachyderm parade that always happens the morning before the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus opens for it’s annual one month run at the very same arena. Imagine the surprise to those diehard fans already gathering near the venue.
At 8 a.m. Jackson’s family and personal friends gathered for the funeral at Forest Lawn cemetery, nestled in the Hollywood Hills between Warner Brothers and Disney studios. From there, the entourage of 50+ private vehicles and literally dozens of news vans and helicopters followed the hearse carrying the casket to downtown the public memorial. Some 9,000 tickets were held aside for use by the Jackson family, while1.6 millions people had registered for the lottery to get free tickets to the event. Only 8,750 were chosen to receive two tickets each, but even then not everyone with a ticket, including the media, had a guarantee of being inside the actual arena, as many were stuck watching on a big screen in a nearby auditorium. Though illegal sales were supposed to be curtailed by computer codes on wristband, some fans, arriving from all around the world, said they purchased their tickets from scalpers on eBay. Others flocked to L.A. anyway, hoping they might buy a ticket on the street, and if not, just hang out somewhere nearby to collectively mourn their idol with like-minded fans. Some theaters across the country, including the Chinese Theater near Jackson’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, streamed live coverage for free.
Meanwhile on stage at the Staples Center, 6 days before Michael Jackson was to begin his 50-date comeback tour, friends and fans gathered instead to pay their respects. Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, Usher, Smokey Robinson, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Jennifer Hudson, John Mayer and Queen Latifah were among those who shared personal memories and anecdotes about their experiences with the legendary singer. A notable absence was longtime Elizabeth Taylor, who posted a message on Twitter that she declined an invitation to speak because she "cannot be part of the public whoopla. I just don’t believe that Michael would want me to share my grief with millions of others," Taylor tweeted. "How I feel is between us. Not a public event."
Brooke Shields recalled always joking with Michael that he was a slacker, since she was thrust in front of the camera at 11 months and he was like 5 years old when he started. “People often refer to him as the King,” she said, “but Michael always reminded me more of the Little Prince.”
The show – and it was a show – was heartfelt, respectful, loving and emotional. At the end, the singer’s 12-year-old daughter Paris spoke through tears, “I just wanted to say, ever since I was born Daddy has
been the best father you could ever imagine. And I just wanted to say, I love him so much.” As the crowd exited the arena, the stage went dark except for a spotlight on the lonely microphone.
[GALERÍA FOTOGRÁFICA DEL MEMORIAL]
Es investigador del Programa de Culturas Digitales de la Universidad de Sydney. Es el editor fundador de cinepremiere.com.mx y escribe sobre cine, televisión y tecnología en diversos medios nacionales e internacionales.