Who, if anyone, will benefit from Michael Jackson’s death? The obvious answer is TMZ, the Web and TV tabloid organization that was supposedly legitimized by their breaking the news that the King of Pop was indeed dead. The more obscure answer is the Center for Great Apes in central Florida.

It’s not that anyone welcomed the news. It’s just that the Center is the current home of Bubbles. Everybody remembers Jackson’s pet chimpanzee, who appeared with the singer in the ’80s. But nobody really knows whatever happened to him. In the wake of the singer’s death, rumors circulated that Bubbles was a plastinated display in Gunther von Hagens’ Body Worlds exhibit in London (and that Jackson had plans to join him). But Bubbles was actually still very much alive, and still in the States.

More…

 

Don’t you feel bad that you made fun of Michael Jackson after hearing the tragic news of his death? — TCP

To say that I “made fun of Michael Jackson” ignores some of the complexities of my response to that query a couple of months ago. I quoted poet Mary Jo Bang, and if Michael Jackson had read that column, I bet he would have been thrilled, so no, I don’t feel bad for the response I gave.

Now, do I feel bad about his death? Yes, very much so. I wasn’t a follower of his really, but he’s been an icon throughout my youth and adulthood — the news shook me up and saddened my heart, as I know it did for many around the world. One of my students in Uzbekistan admired Michael Jackson so… More…

For many performers, top billing at the county fair is as good as the comeback trail ever gets. Michael Jackson had bigger ambitions. Two years ago, London’s Daily Mail reported that the singer was not only planning to go a 250-date reunion tour with the Jackson 5, he was also going to build a Las Vegas casino and hotel. And a museum. And a sports stadium. Why not a light-rail system too, one wondered. Or at least a shopping center.

And yet as grandiose as Jackson’s career renovation plans seemed, they had a certain plausibility. He’d won 13 Grammys, enjoyed 13 #1 singles, and sold 750 million records worldwide. But for most of the previous 15 years, he’d been a notably underutilized commodity, producing only one album of original music and performing infrequently. Sure, there was a steady drip of increasingly redundant “greatest hits” albums, and “ultimate collections,” and “essential”… More…

 

Michael Jackson wants to give you a kiss — what course of action do you take? — Ian, Kent, England

I have to admit, I often do things that will make a good poem, and that would make a pretty good poem. I suppose your query is in response to Michael Jackson’s poems that went up for auction in March, and which many have analyzed for positive proof of his affection for young boys, but his poems are awful and there’s absolutely no way I’m going to quote those words in my column (but let me just say that anybody reasonably skilled in literary analysis could find pedophilia in MJ’s grocery list, if that’s what they’re looking for).  Let’s use the words of another MJ to answer your query: poet Mary Jo Bang. Michael Jackson wants to kiss… More…