Deleted Scenes and Death | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Deleted Scenes and Death

Hello JFP readers, Katie Eubanks here. Editorial intern with a few "deleted scenes" to share from my internship experience. I know, I know: Deleted scenes aren't always the best part of a DVD. (If you've watched the ones from "Titanic," then you understand. Fortunately for the moviegoing masses, Kate and Leo's acting skills have seriously improved.)

But when it comes to journalism, I think some of the best stuff is in the deleted scenes--the images, incidents and info that didn't make it into the official story. So here are a couple "extras" from my first month as a JFP intern.

Scene 1: I'm at the home of Daniel Guaqueta, host of local radio show "Mississippi Happening." I'm doing a story about the show and the people who make it happen every week, and I'm sitting in Daniel's living room. The best-selling album of all time, Michael Jackson's "Thriller," is playing on a turntable to my right (I'll hear about Jackson's death about a week and a half later when a friend texts me, "RIP MJ." I'll reply, "What? Jackson, or Jordan?" but I'll be pretty sure about the answer, since this friend of mine is a musician).

All right, fine. Michael Jackson died. This probably deserves more space than my "internship outtakes." Besides, I'm interested to hear what y'all think about this, even if I am a week or so late: Should we really be making a big deal out of Jackson's death when 99.999% of us never knew him personally? Yes, he was one of the greatest entertainers in American history, but what had he done lately? Got acquitted of child molestation (yuck). Released a terrible album (trust me). Lost Neverland Ranch. His death was not exactly a tragedy in the pop-culture world, or even in the music world. Twenty or thirty years ago, we would have been deprived.

But now? The real loss belongs to Jackson's family and friends. I watched CNN with my mom for awhile on the day of Jackson's death, and after a lot of filler-talk and reporters repeating themselves, they got the Jackson family attorney on the phone. He was with Jackson's siblings at the hospital, and he was crying. After listening to him talk for a few minutes, I welled up a little too.

And as a Christian, the main thing I thought about after Jackson's death was whether he was saved. Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, Jackson's eternal destiny is something to ponder and, in my opinion, matters more than the mere fact that he's gone--though few if any of us in Jackson, MS would have been in a position to "witness" to him.

But all the Facebook statuses about "mourning the death of a legend"? I'm not sure I buy into them. Are we really mourning? Or are we just listening to "Beat It" on repeat and trying to turn that forceful guitar riff into a dirge?

Finally, my biggest question: Does Michael Jackson's death deserve more coverage--or more sadness--than the deaths of Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon and Billy Mays? Does it matter more than all the non-celebrity deaths that occurred in the past week? Or are we trying to measure a person's worth by a flawed standard?

Previous Comments

ID
149344
Comment

Considering Elvis died when I was a kid, all this seems very, very familiar. For me, it seems a lot of it is out of proportion to how people actually thought of him before he died. Now, however, they do mock Elvis for how he died....

Author
Ironghost
Date
2009-07-07T08:40:58-06:00
ID
149345
Comment

yes yes, the "King" died on the "throne," etc. it did make me laugh the first time someone made that pun...

Author
katie316
Date
2009-07-07T08:44:09-06:00
ID
149346
Comment

Most people don't mourn the passing of the actual man. Like you said - they didn't know him personally. The people that are mourning are mourning the passing of that era. Music is a milestone in people's lives. I hear an old song from when I was a kid and it takes me back to that time, those memories. Listening to Thriller I most often remember a trip to Florida my family took. I had the cassette with me and I associate the music of that album the most closely with those great times with my family. Music has the ability to conjure up those feelings much more so than a TV show, that is why the feelings are stronger for a Micheal Jackson than an Ed McMahon or even Farrah Fawcett even though I have a lot of special memories about her that I won't go into here. ;-) Micheal Jackson was an artist and we all did lose something from this world when he passed. Maybe he was creatively spent, maybe he wasn't. Point is, we will never know now.

Author
WMartin
Date
2009-07-07T09:33:41-06:00
ID
149350
Comment

Does Michael Jackson's death deserve more coverage--or more sadness--than the deaths of Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon and Billy Mays? Does it matter more than all the non-celebrity deaths that occurred in the past week? Or are we trying to measure a person's worth by a flawed standard? None of the above deserves more coverage than the members of our military who have been killed in action this past week. IMHO, the whole thing is very sad. May he (and Fawcett, McMahon, Mays and all the other celebrities who have passed this week) rest in peace, give the families time to grieve, and let the rest of the world move on. I'm just sick of the whole darn thing. People winning a lottery to attend a memorial service and then trying to make money off the death of a human being sickens me to no end.

Author
Lady Havoc
Date
2009-07-07T11:05:12-06:00
ID
149353
Comment

to WMartin: "Music is a milestone in people's lives. I hear an old song...and it takes me back to that time..." I can completely identify with this. Certain songs not only have the ability to make me bawl like a baby, but to bring back certain memories (both good and bad). But that's just the point: As long as our digital system remains intact, we'll always have "Thriller" and other masterpieces. As far as whether Jackson was "creatively spent," you're right, we'll never know (though I personally think he was, based on his last album). And I would've been interested to see how the London shows turned out.

Author
katie316
Date
2009-07-07T11:17:11-06:00
ID
149354
Comment

to Lady Havoc: I agree with you about the members of the military. And the funeral lottery--yuck! That's the same reaction I had when Entertainment Tonight had one of their "correspondents" standing outside the funeral home where Heath Ledger's body was being prepared. It's disgusting not only that people want to invade a family's privacy in that way, but also that the media allow us to do it (to an extent).

Author
katie316
Date
2009-07-07T11:21:54-06:00
ID
149358
Comment

I was only a few months old when Elvis died, so I don't really remember that, but my best guess is that this is very similar to that time, only worse because we have so many more media outlets, tabloids and technology than we had in 1977. So it's very hard to escape it (although thankfully I haven't been in front of a TV at all today).

Author
andi
Date
2009-07-07T12:27:00-06:00
ID
149366
Comment

I don't remember Elvis' death, and I was 13 at the time. I would think that if Elvis had the kind of media coverage MJ did that I would remember it. Go fig.

Author
Lady Havoc
Date
2009-07-07T14:21:54-06:00
ID
149367
Comment

Well, that's what I'm saying - like, it's a big deal because Elvis was such a musical icon, and so was MJ, but I am sure the media did not blow up back in 1977 like they are now because things were different as far as media coverage went back in those days - before E!, before the internet, etc. It seems to me that news outlets were more interested in actual news back then (political, world events-type coverage) than they are now. I loved MJ's music, but when the nightly news airs stuff about MJ before news about Obama's trip to Russia, or about what's going on in Iran, something is wrong.

Author
andi
Date
2009-07-07T14:27:49-06:00
ID
149368
Comment

Agreed, Andi. I want to know much more about what's going on in the White House than I do about MJ. I think our kids will remember this, but they really had no clue who MJ was (we listen to more hard rock than that) and they're so tired of the coverage. They've made several complaints to us about it now.

Author
Lady Havoc
Date
2009-07-07T14:38:42-06:00
ID
149380
Comment

Michael Jackson was a great humanitarian and entertainer. Music is good for the soul, mind and heart and it's a uniter of people of all sexes, races, cultures, religions, ages, et al. Jackson was most definitely the greatest entertainers we've ever seen. Don't mention Elvis because there are several people in every church choir who can sang as well as he can and 90% of the children in every family can dance as well as him. Yet, I admit Elvis was great by mainstream standards. Indeed, Michael Jackson's death or contribution to the world was greater than all the other persons mentioned together. He was more impactful, barrier-breaking and life-altering than all the rest put together. I know his haters will disagree and refuse to move beyond the terrible allegations of child abuse whether acquitted or not. Personally, I didn't care for Michael after the Thriller album and once he started wearing diapers and grabbing his crotch. Diapers are for babies and freak-nasty republicans like David Vitter, spokes person and hero to southern republicans of very low standards.

Author
Walt
Date
2009-07-07T16:47:50-06:00
ID
149381
Comment

LOL @ Walt... Awesome post as usual. I got to disagree about Elvis. While I'm not a great fan of his music, he was the innovator of his time. He was the first big time Rock Star, from the bigger than life lifestyle, the huge shows and the excesses in his personal life, to the drug overdose. He laid the road without a map that so many would follow.

Author
WMartin
Date
2009-07-07T16:54:17-06:00
ID
149385
Comment

Yo WMartin. I have no problem giving E some dap as he was a great entertainer (in as much as he didn't have concrete feet or Pat Boone's dance moves) and was from Mississippi. Some would argue he was the first white chocolate! First majority entertainer of great note who could sang, dance and chew gum at the same time. Smile! He didn't pave any way or ways for black entertainers. Sachmo, Jackie Wilson, Motown, TSOP, STAX, Duke Ellington, Charlie Byrd Parker, Miles Davis, Sammy Davis, et al, paved all the ways they could within the limitations of race for black people. Michael Jackson broke through barriers never before broken by a black artists of any nature and kind, and the big E didn't have anything to do with it. Unless you count Lisa Marie as a faithful wife who inspired him on. Don't get me wrong I like E. I love Larry Joe Bird because he came along at a time when black folks were dumbly arguing white boys couldn't play basketball on a level with great black ball players. Larry Joe was kicking butt like it was going out of style. Brothers used to tell me on the basketball court Larry wasn't as good as the other players. I always asked how do you account for all those points, rebounds, assists, victories, championship banners, rings, etc.

Author
Walt
Date
2009-07-07T17:46:21-06:00

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