Topic: The Media
Enough Already: Michael Jackson So Over
As editor of this web log and its weekly parent site, Just Above Sunset, I have really, really tried to avoid commenting on the Michael Jackson trial.
Oh there have been lapses:
May 8, 2005 - Celebrity trials are the opiate of the masses? - This is stupid stuff!
May 29, 2005 - Michael Jackson and Postmodernism - Maybe we can use the trial to talk about something else?
June 5, 2005 - "Maybe a little less of the pervert of the day..." - The news media are fools to cover this.
Monday, June 13, late in the afternoon, Jackson was acquitted on all counts. Can we stop dealing with this now?
But the problem is my ace local columnist, Bob Patterson, is pressing really, really, really hard for these two sites to devote as much space as possible, as often as possible, to this Michael Jackson business. I think the idea is we're missing the biggest story of our times. We may have an inarticulate, dim-witted and causally sadistic leader who has lied to us and put us in an endless war. As one fellow puts it - "We are losing the war in Iraq. We are an isolated and reviled nation. We are pitiless to others weaker than ourselves. We have lost sight of our democratic ideals." Yep, we now are the torturers, the economy is being stripped to make the ultra-rich richer at the expense of the average Joe, we are fast heading toward something like an angry evangelical theocracy, and all the environmental laws are being dismantled by this crew that just doesn't like science – and there's Social Security issues and this and that about who we really are. But I'm being told the biggest story is Michael Jackson.
Bob has told me several times that had Jackson been found guilty there would be race riots across America. Well, he floated that one at a press function recently, and was met with silence, and then wry smiles.
Perhaps he thinks covering Michael Jackson will help our circulation. It seems Just Above Sunset has leveled out at just under 12,000 unique logons each month, and that seems to be a plateau right now. Will doing less on political matters, particularly French politics, and on where the country is headed, and more covering stories like this Michael Jackson trial, move us up a notch or two? Perhaps. More readers all always welcome.
Bob urges that Just Above Sunset and As Seen from Just Above Sunset decide on its audience, and dump what doesn't appeal to that target audience, and grow because of a really intense focus on what is hot for those readers. I think he is really discouraged that we haven't grown as much as we could.
I don't get the marketing stuff. I publish what interests me. Thus, it seems, I am doomed to a small readership and logons from servers like these in the last ten days –
unwgsgs4.customs.treas.gov - The Treasury Department (four hits in one day)
wdcsun25.usdoj.gov - The Department of Justice
p124-72.senate.gov - The US Senate
wcgwcc.ocio.usda.gov - The Food and Drug Administration
gk-west-24.srvs.usps.gov - The US Postal Service
ws244-042.f04.nsf.gov - The National Science Foundation
si.edu - The Smithsonian Institute
host463.ny.corbis.com - Microsoft's photography folks
ptohidea.uspto.gov - The United States Patent and Trademark Office
gov.ab.ca - The website of the Government of Alberta
gov.bc.ca - The website of the Government of British Columbia
proxy-ny.cbs.com - CBS
tacom.army.mil - US Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command
uscourts.gov - the site maintained by the Administrative Office of the US Courts on behalf of the US Courts - a clearinghouse for information from and about the Judicial Branch
Those and all the universities are getting us nowhere. Yep, we hit a wall.
But I still don't want to deal with Michael Jackson.
Monday morning Bob tried to get me going with this -
And I wrote back -
And I sent him this:
Jacko: American Nightmare
Andrew Sullivan - June 10, 2005, Sunday Times of London (UK)
A bit of that?
Well, I would have liked to happily forget Michael Jackson, but sometime after noon on Monday the phone rang ? Bob telling me to turn on my television, quick! The jury in the Jackson trial had reached a verdict! This was followed by instructions on how to take screen shots of the coverage ? shutter speed and exposure and all that. I had to cover this!
Well, Bob spent much of his career as a newspaperman - he used to work for Associated Press. I don't have that background, or that nose for news. He does.
But what the heck - it was a chance to learn more about what the Nikon can do, and what more can be done in Adobe Photoshop. Why not? I watched a bit.
Michael Jackson was acquitted on all counts. Like I care?
Bob sent this a bit later -
Well, if he says the two things are connected, who am I to argue?
But I don't see it.
Below are the screen shots ? and perhaps there will be a big spike in readers today because of this. If so, Bob wins.
But perhaps then I will continue with these sites ? commentary and analysis of politics and the culture - and Bob can start his own site that covers the real "news" as it is defined today in this country. I'll stick with my modest audience - and he can really get famous with hundreds of thousands of hits each day. We'll both be happy then.
The screen shots -
You can sort of make out the French flag. What's THAT about?
The accused entering court to learn his fate ?
Leaving the court - a free man - and that's his sister Janet with no wardrobe malfunction at all -
Playing with Adobe Photoshop - the two of them leaving (free at last!) with the umbrella to protect his pale skin from the harsh Californian afternoon sun -