I have not watched any of the coverage about Michael Jackson in the past few days, because I have been busy doing real-world things such as camping with the family for four days over the holiday and taking my daughter to have a planned out-patient procedure on Monday. And frankly yesterday I was just so worn out from worrying about her and her recovery, that I could not bear the thought of listening to all the blather.
However, I did hear on the radio yesterday a quote by the Rev. Al Sharpton to MJs kids. He said, "There was nothing weird about your Daddy," and then he said something along the lines of the only thing weird was the stuff he had to deal with or some other such nonsense. I'm thankful I was just pulling out of my driveway, or I may have run off the road. Nothing weird!?!
I find it very irritating that when some people die all of their bad traits/decisions/actions seem to be immediately erased from the collective consciousness and all that is remembered is the "good." This man was a train wreck! Whether the train wreck was his own fault or whether it was caused by his overbearing father and crazy childhood really does not matter. If you look up 'weird' in the dictionary, MJs face would be staring back at you.
Now being the good Southern girl that I am, manners dictate that you do not throw a person under the bus at his own funeral. You say a few "bless his hearts" and everybody gets the picture. Here are just a few examples of what the Rev. Al could have said to MJs kids, "Your father loved you very much," or "Your father was an incredible entertainer," or "Your father was an amazingly talented man who will be missed by many." All of these statements are true and kind about said crazy man.
The ridiculousness of this quote reminds me of another ridiculous quote a friend of mine posted on Facebook. It was from The Tennessean (the Nashville paper) over the weekend about Steve McNair, the former Titan's quarterback who was found shot to death with his mistress. The quote was from a fan who said, "Anyone can get famous. But it takes a genuinely moral person to be a leader." Really? The married father of four was found shot to death WITH HIS 20-YEAR-OLD MISTRESS, and the Tennessean chooses to run a quote that calls him a moral person? My friend wondered if that was really the best quote they could get or had they not interviewed enough people. I'm wondering if they were trying to be ironic.
Don't get me wrong. I think Steve McNair had some amazing qualities. He was very generous to his mother and the Nashville community. He set up a foundation that helped disadvantaged children and also raised a ton of money and supplies for Katrina victims in Mississippi. He was a truly amazing athlete who took us to our only Super Bowl. I am a fan of his and am deeply saddened by his death -- and disappointed by his affair. I know that we all sin and fall short of God's grace, so I am not judging him. However, I think it is painfully obvious now that we do not need to say things like he was a 'moral' leader just because he is gone. That is like saying MJ was not weird just because he is dead. Maybe we should say "if you can't say anything nice -- and true -- after a person's death, don't say anything at all."