Contrary to what the local media would have us believe, the Michael Jackson trial is not the biggest news item on our radars. I base this on my scientific survey of my immediate circle of friends and co-workers, none of whom ever even talk about the trial, other than to snort derisively and say, "Ol' Mr. Bad himself? Heh."
The MJ Trial™ has, of course, garnered its share of national media. After all, this is the self-styled "King of Pop" we're talking about. But the locals act as if there is no other news story worthy of our limited attentions. Every morning for the past several weeks I have heard no fewer than three reports connected with the trial, and on those mornings when they can get on-air interviews from someone connected - however remotely - with the trial, they have literal swooning fits in the studio. On days when other news simply won't be ignored, they grudgingly give it some air time ("Um, about 1,000 people were evacuated because of some landslide or other. No deaths."), then return to the trial as soon as they can politically swing it ("But, in other news, Michael Jackson was seen in court to actually nod off during his lawyer's summation! We'll talk with Legal Anal-ist S. O. Terrik to get his perspective on how this may affect the jury!").
This morning was, I must say, the best of breed in my opinion. Comedian/Activist/Nutritionist-to-the-Stars Dick Gregory was scheduled to be interviewed on the early-morning commute show on our local CBS affiliate. They got him on the phone, then waited for commercials to finish. When they were back on the air they tried to ask some questions, but Gregory wouldn't respond. They could hear breathing on the line, so they knew they were connected. Finally they sent the hotel manager up to knock on his door, only to learn that Gregory had been up late with MJ and had fallen fast asleep while waiting for the interview to start. No amount of coaxing could rouse him, so that interview will have to wait for another day (and, one hopes, a more caring audience).
Meanwhile, MJ's life continues to unfold as a spectacle worthy of the scandal rags that are making millions on the story. Poor stressed-out Jackson is in and out of medical care, being worried over by zealous parents and (gasp!) The High and Holy Almighty Right Reverend More Powerful Than God Jesse Jackson, who holds nightly prayer vigils with MJ. I presume he prays to himself as he seems to ignore the Lord's counsel in just about everything else.
So why worry? This trial has nothing (repeat: n-o-t-h-i-n-g) to do with me, my family, or even my casual acquaintances. MJ could spend the rest of his natural (natural??) life in jail and it wouldn't make one iota of difference in my life. He could be acquitted and spend the rest of his days being lampooned by the press and over-adored by his fans. What's different about that? Assuming he survives the trial, would he be forced into exile on some wasteland of a beach owned by dead movie stars? Good. Hasta la Bye-bye.
Oh, wait. There will be one difference for me: Like OJ before him, MJ will finally drop from the local media radar, and I won't have to listen to this stuff anymore.
Until the next superstar screws up.
The Minneapolis effect
9 minutes ago