Well, that was both horrifying and depressing. The Michael Jackson Public Memorial has lurched to a close and, to paraphrase a commenter, we feel like we've been underwater for hours. Messy and strange, let's remember the remembrance.
The creepy gold casket was wheeled in and the oddness began.
Old pal Stevie Wonder sang a sad, fitting song.
Legendary producer Berry Gordy, who helped work young Michael to the bone when he was hoofing it in the Jackson 5, called Jackson the "greatest entertainer that's ever lived." Hm.
Al Sharpton stirringly, if inaccurately, told Jackson's children that there "wun't nothing strange about your daddy." Sigh.
Jackson's childhood pal Brooke Shields tearfully recounted their shared bond over being children in the spotlight. Though, unfortunately, her constant mentioning of kids and little princes struck an awkward chord.
A crazy congresslady from Texas wandered up on stage and said that she wished she was a Jackson and that Michael was totally innocent of all those creepy charges.
Magic Johnson came up and told a few stories. But mostly he just plugged Kentucky Fried Chicken.
R&B singer Urrrsher won the award for Most Classless of the day, by wearing sunglasses and pretending to cry. Usher, you were never a good actor, so why try and finally go for the teary clip reel at a funeral of all places?
Toward the end, a bunch of escaped mental patients were brought on to sing a "Heal the World"/"We Are the World" World Medley that left everyone looking awkward and ashamed, except for a few of Jackson's grasping brothers, who just seemed thrilled to be on stage.
In a chilling final moment, Jackson's rarely-seen daughter Paris tearfully said she loved her father and that he was great. In a haunting evocation of a cycle continuing to grind on, her aunt Janet fixed her hair and dotingly but firmly told her "Speak up, honey. Speak up." It was pretty much devastating.
So, that was that. An odd mess of a thing—part exciting, part sad, but mostly confusing. Fitting, then, for a life lived bizarrely and publicly, a life that needed a new word for famous, a life that, in many ways, really ended and disappeared many years ago. This whole event just felt perfunctory, as if no one could imagine MJ going out without a bang, but weren't really sure how to make the appropriate gesture. So it was just a mash of things, of different tones and styles.
And then it ended, abruptly and strangely, leaving us all to ponder what it was exactly that we'd just seen.