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Archive for Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wrong focus

July 9, 2009

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To the editor:

The spectacle that is Michael Jackson’s death and its obvious importance for millions of American citizens is emblematic of the continued deterioration of our once great republic.

Mr. Jackson was an entertainer of middling talent for a succession of generations whose estimation of middling talent is emblematic of their rather low attention spans: a flashing light show, a near-anorexic performer, lyrics written to the level of a 4-year-old (“beat it, beat it”), a voice grating in its expulsion and music played in excess of normative decibels. This then is what constitutes entertainment for the intellectually challenged.

One need not dwell here on Mr. Jackson’s well-publicized personal life and its bizarre tendencies. Suffice it to say, were he not in possession of millions of dollars and a purchasable dream team of aggressive and unscrupulous lawyers he would long ago have gone the way of less affluent aggrandizers (to jail).

While much of America has focused on the Jackson death syndrome, we have ignored the more pressing problems of our two current wars. We have now lost in excess of 4,000 American service members. Thousands more have returned home minus a leg or arm courtesy of the seemingly unstoppable plague of improvised explosive devices. These casualties of war should be our focus, not Mr. Jackson and his putrid performances.

Benjamin Franklin famously intoned that we might not be able to keep our Republic. It is a shame we are losing it to the likes of Mr. Jackson and his fans.

O’Connell is from Lawrence

Comments

Lynn731 4 years, 9 months ago

That crap clogged the airwaves for two weeks and I am sick of it and him. As the child molester he was, he should have been locked up, but money buys most anything. Thank you, Lynn

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none2 4 years, 9 months ago

lgreen17 (Anonymous) says…

Michael Jackson embodied everything that is great about this country. He was born to a low income family and yet his talent made him millions. He was accused of a crime and found not guilty by a jury of his peers. He could reinvente himself and his music over and over again, and most importantly he was/is adored by millions of people around the world. Isn't that the American Dream?

You don't like him Matt, but that doesn't mean the sky is falling. Another great thing about America: we can all have our opinions. You opinons are no better than mine, just different!

I totally agree with your post. No, I wasn't a fan of MJ's as I prefer more classical styles of music, but I do give respect where respect is due.

MJ was a child star who managed to reinvent himself over and over again. Few people get that far in life as adults -- let alone as children. He did both. Likewise, he wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He got to where he got because obviously enough people in the US AND around the world wanted what he had to offer. That speaks volumes.

Likewise, I remember an early comment by someone (on ljworld.com) soon after his death. They said, he didn't deserve any recognition as his life didn't really make any impact on others. Well I was very naive about his life as I really wasn't into his music. So I had to do a bit of self-education, and was surprised by some things I found out. It seams to me that he did do things for altruistic reasons. -- such as "We are the World" for African aid. Thus now I think that such such comments where his life had no value are not only rude but show an ignorance as to what he did while he was alive.

Furthermore, if Mr O'Connell thinks that having a blackout on stories such as MJ's death would some how help the military, then where the hell has he been for the last few years. The 4,000 plus casualties and all the wounded didn't happen on and/or after June 25th. I think Mr. O’Connell needs to pick up some kind of hobby -- ASAP.

Finally, I agree with another comment posted earlier: The editorial writer should go back to watching Lawrence Welk reruns. If Mr. O'Connell doesn't like MJ because his life wasn't clean cut enough for him, then I also suggest he get out and buy some old Donny Osmond, Tom Jones, and/or Englebert Humperdink vinyl records. I'm sure those clean cut artists could use some more record sales revenue.

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Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 9 months ago

Matt you are a total idiot. Michael Jackson was a great performer, way above average. Those dance moves of his were fantastic. My granddaughter and I both enjoy his music and dancing which proves that his talent crossed generational lines. I am very sad that he is gone. You should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.

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Tony Kisner 4 years, 9 months ago

need to put Matt on invite list for my next dinner party. Sounds like a fun guy.

What is art any way?

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lgreen17 4 years, 9 months ago

Michael Jackson embodied everything that is great about this country. He was born to a low income family and yet his talent made him millions. He was accused of a crime and found not guilty by a jury of his peers. He could reinvente himself and his music over and over again, and most importantly he was/is adored by MILLIONS of people around the world. Isn't that the American Dream?

You don't like him Matt, but that doesn't mean the sky is falling. Another great thing about America: we can all have our opinions. You opinons are no better than mine, just different!

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parrotuya 4 years, 9 months ago

I find myself in agreement with this LTE. Honduras, Iran, and China are in the back pages while MJ's death is headline news. If I want the latest gossip on celebrities, I turn to the mainstream media for an instant fix. Even conservatives and progressives are talking about it! Mediocre at best, how does MJ get everyone to fuss over him after he's dead? Is he really dead? Now the conspiracy theories begin...

DOWn, baby, DOWn!

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toe 4 years, 9 months ago

How true. Decline is seldom noticed on the inside, but readily apparent from without.

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devobrun 4 years, 9 months ago

Logic, it is true,I could not have a less sanguine attitude toward the media than I have now. The NYT invents stories about homeless druggies. The television is covered with Entertainment Tonight stories. The weather channel runs "earth in peril" shows. Every corporation, advocacy group and flim flam operation has a newsletter and news releases. Many of these stories are published in newspapers as news.

Spreadsheet science is currently coupled with the media. Throw data into a correlation routine and see what comes out. Produce a press release. Promote yourself, your work, and recommend further study. The press laps this up.

But what do you expect from the people who couldn't read or write well enough to major in history or literature. Couldn't work a math problem to save their life. Intramural athletic ability and a wanna be attitude?

Hey scooter...goin' back to the house is all grown up and having to meet a deadline. What's on the wire. Maybe I should go to one of the verbose KU profs for a take on Michael. Yup, that's it. News baby.

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logicsound09 4 years, 9 months ago

devo,

I see a couple of problems with your stated "open-mindedness":

1) You seem to supplant healthy skepticism (as I agree that the media is largely an entertainment venue rather than a valid source of relevant and important news) with outright scornful cynicism.

2) If you assume that everything the media covers is propaganda, you aren't being terribly open-minded. You are just replacing one auto-response (believing everything the media says) with another (disbelieving everything the media says. Don't you think it's possible that at least some of the issues covered by the media has some basis in or degree of truth?

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couranna1 4 years, 9 months ago

"middling talent"? Are you stupid? The man was amagingly talented regardless of what you think of him. The reason those boys died in the war is bushie put them there against the will of the people It is an immoral illegal war on two fronts OConnell, this was one the lamest LTEs I have ever read. You are a stupid stupid sad lil man whoprobab;y would not know talent if it bit you in the as* Now Reagan's funeral was a travesty. We have seen what his policies did to this country Too bad he could not remember how he screwed us The MJ stuff was fine. If you thought he was talentless why did you watch Losers

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bennyoates 4 years, 9 months ago

The coverage of MJ's death bothered me a lot less than the worshipful coverage of Ronald Reagan's passing in 2004.

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mistygreen 4 years, 9 months ago

I found this LTE interesting as I felt that I was the only one that was 1). Felt MJ was overrated. 2). Sick and tired of hearing about him and how his survivors are fighting over his estate. 3). Tired of everyone boo-hooing over the loss of a pop icon.

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Paul R Getto 4 years, 9 months ago

Nothing new; the third chimp on the planet has supported a celebrity culture for man centuries. The tradition is quite old. Check out the treatment of the Olympic athletes back in the "good old days" when some cheated, lied and bribed people to win. At least they did 'stop' the wars a bit for the benefit of the games. Jackson was a strange fellow in some ways, but a mighty talent. http://www.museum.upenn.edu/new/olympics/olympicintro.shtml

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devobrun 4 years, 9 months ago

Big Al:

Aretha Franklin, BB King, James Brown, the Isleys.

Old guy soul. Michael Jackson was bubble gum during these times. He came back with a fabulous Quincy Jones album, where he danced great. Subsequent albums didn't live up.

So, one worthy album and he's the king of pop. Not.

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devobrun 4 years, 9 months ago

beerguy: The whales probably don't need saving. They'll be fine. The people trying to save the whales are probably not doing much to save the whale, anyway. I don't need the guilt.

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devobrun 4 years, 9 months ago

logic: The absurdity of current media is a result of people buying into it. The media is giving the people what they want. People want stories that are absurd, scary, amazing, hopeful, and entertaining. The people have chosen the bad wolf, as Moyer's Indian friend would define it.

Environmental stories allow people to feel guilty and redeemed. MJ and Princess stories allow people to feel sad, but not really. Doom and gloom stories from AL Gore and heroic remedies make people feel scared but determined.

The media creates reality and meaning. The media creates solutions that soothe the human soul.

By choosing to believe the media, people have given over their souls to the bad wolf. There seems to be no stopping it either. Now we have twitter so that the people can be fed their reality even when they are on the go.

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Beer Guy 4 years, 9 months ago

Whats wrong with saving the whales devo? I respect MJ's talent but I agree with you, people that mourn a rich man who O.D. and mismanaged his fortune have no lives of there own.

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devobrun 4 years, 9 months ago

Bozo: My agenda throughout all my posts to LJW is to challenge authority. I challenge the authority that Michael Jackson is important, or: That Al Gore knows anything about the temperature of the globe. That we know that all apelike creatures share an ape-like ancestor. That abstractions, implemented in computer programs are just as good as a real test. That "new". "alternative", "progressive" anything has any meaning. That "alternative" anything is necessarily good. That recycled ideas, like windmills are now any different than they were 20 years ago.

My agenda is to challenge modern replacements of old traditions. I do this not because I wish to maintain old traditions. I do this because new ideas must be properly tested. If they work, fine. If not, then be honest about it.

Media hype is not honesty. Jackson, environmentalism, scare tactics abound in the media. I buy none of it. Advocates that I challenge think that I have an agenda to defend the old wisdom. I offer only that we probably don't know.
The limited extent of human knowledge combined with the possibility of error makes open-mindedness a highly desirable attitude. Buying into media generated hype is sad, whether it is Jackson, Princess, Di, or programs on History Channel about the end of the world. Garbage, all of it.

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logicsound09 4 years, 9 months ago

devo,

I'm not sure what your point is--at least in the context of responding to my post.

I agreed that the media spends way too much time on issues that aren't newsworthy and disagreed that Micheal Jackson had no talent.

I don't see how your response fits in...

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 9 months ago

".yep, just about everybody with an agenda, feed the bad wolf."

Sure is a good thing you have no agenda, devo-- just pure, unadulterated truthiness.

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devobrun 4 years, 9 months ago

logic: if you listen to the speech by Mr. Moyers linked by bronze, you'll hear a story about a man battling two wolves within himself. The good wolf and the bad wolf. The winner is the wolf who is fed by the man.

People who believe politicians, news preparers, corporate spokesmen, advocacy groups.......yep, just about everybody with an agenda, feed the bad wolf.

MJ, Princess Di, Bill Clinton, global warming, crisis this, crisis that......and people buy it.
There is plenty of energy, your are being jerked around. The globe is not in danger from CO2, your are being led like cattle. The food you eat is safer than at any time in the history of man, forget the cancer scares. Picograms of mercury in vaccines don't cause autism. Michael Jackson was just another entertainer, not the king of anything. Elvis is dead, too.

You are an individual on this planet, defined by what you do, and the content of your character. External, media driven agendas shouldn't have nearly as much effect on your feelings. You have a choice people, feed that which is right there in front of you (like your family), or that which is received by you (like MJ and save the whales campaigns).

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Liberty_One 4 years, 9 months ago

One thing is for sure, O'Connell is a terrible writer. Ben Franklin...."intoned"? WTF? Put down the thesaurus and pull out the red pen--less is more.

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demonfury 4 years, 9 months ago

Who really talks like this guy writing this LTE? I mean really. What, did he sit down with a thesaurus and decide to impress himself with as many 10-12 letter words as possible? What exactly is an aggrendizer anyway. How about just saying, Jackson is dead, how about we focus on the war? Summed up your whole LTE in one sentence there. And you thought MJ was self indulgent?

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Eric Neuteboom 4 years, 9 months ago

"And one more thing: Get Off My Lawn!"

  • Matthew M. O’Connell
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BigAl 4 years, 9 months ago

Finally, Nancy Boy and I agree on something. I did enjoy MJ's music but the man was odd. Al Sharpton says that MJ paved the way for other black artists. Apparently Al has never heard of the Supremes, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Jim Brown, that whole Motown thing. MJ was NOT a civil rights leader by any stretch of the imagination. He was simply an entertainer that became a little weird.
Peace to his family.

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bronze 4 years, 9 months ago

MJ story just another distraction to keep you all away from the 'real news' 2007 Ben Cohen on the federal budget - then!

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bronze 4 years, 9 months ago

sorry but the MJ story is just another distraction from the REAL NEWS:

p>realnews.com http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4YIU6...
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bronze 4 years, 9 months ago

just another facet of the 'corporate controlled media' of the national security state:

Bill Moyers, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nT0aOORRwOU

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Kirk Larson 4 years, 9 months ago

While I'm no big Michael Jackson fan....

Geezameenie, and I thought I was getting old!

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logicsound09 4 years, 9 months ago

I agree that the media frenzy over Jackson is a bit absurd, but then again, that is the M.O. for our current-day corps of news media. Everything is about beating a storyline they feel is of interest into the ground. If it wasn't the Jackson story, it would be some other piece of faux-news that was chosen for it's perceived ability to increase ratings rather than it's relevance or gravity.

That being said, Mr. O'Connell ruins his point by inserting his own ridiculous personal feelings about Jackson. Jackson's music may not be for everyone, and he certainly lived a bizarre life, but anyone who understands the first thing about music or pop culture should recognize that he was incredibly gifted and made significant contributions to the world of music.

Better stick to reruns of the Lawrence Welk show Mr. O'Connell. Wouldn't want you to have to open your mind to something new and different, now would we?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 9 months ago

I don't care too much for opera or figure skating, and Michael Jackson's music wasn't really my cup of tea, either. But that doesn't mean he had no talent. He wrote some very good songs, and his dancing ability was highly praised by other dancers.

Sure, the celebrity hype machine is very problematic, but that doesn't mean that celebrities that are hyped by it are automatically talentless.

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labmonkey 4 years, 9 months ago

Although you can tell by the tone of this letter that Mr. O'Connell probably gets angry at "those kids in his yard," he does make a very good point about there being other, much more newsworthy stories.

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Tom Shewmon 4 years, 9 months ago

White skin, white babies. But we're all racists according to Al Sharpton and other race-baiters. Would one single VIP at the celebration of his life and death let their young 'uns sleep in his bed?

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CLARKKENT 4 years, 9 months ago

CONSIDERING THAT MJ HAD A FAMILY AND FRIENDS THAT FEEL THE PAIN AND SADNESS OF HIS DEATH, MY SYMPATHIES GO OUT TO THEM.

OTHER THAN THAT, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, WELL WRITTEN LETTER.

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beobachter 4 years, 9 months ago

The LTE summed up the feelings of a lot of us.

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Norma Jeane Baker 4 years, 9 months ago

How long did it take you to write this letter, Mr. O'Connell? I'm sure you took extra care to make it sound as high brow as possible, something which has become emblematic and even endemic of certain LTE writers. I'm sure we all feel duly enlightened that you derive no pleasure in the life and death of Michael Jackson or his music.

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jaywalker 4 years, 9 months ago

This LTE is emblematic of the middling....................well, I think PeeUuu will suffice.
And there has to be more to that Franklin quote, isn't there?

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