70 days after his death, Michael Jackson has finally been laid to rest. At once somber and extravagant, the event boasted sorrowful celebrities, a fleet of limousines, ushers dressed as cadets and even a conclusion of sorts.
To many news outlets, the funeral and its cast of characters were breaking news. Jackson was one of the most talented, successful and media-ready celebrities ever. Every twist and turn since the singer's death has become a headline, a morsel to be devoured by an ever-hungry public. Still, tonight's script had somewhat hushed and network anchors were forced to offer tabloid details (Liz! Macaulay Culkin! Lisa Marie Prestley!) while also describing the event as "intimate." That combination, we're sure, sparked a bit of cognitive dissonance.
But clearly this mournful milestone was not simply a family affair. Yes, fans were prohibited from participating, but, in the end, only about a dozen even showed. It was the media the police had to wrangle and keep confined. Even barricaded, though, the media still received its feed from the Jackson family itself, who had set up a spot light and camera to mark the occasion. Whether it was for our benefit or theirs depends on one's perspective and levels of cynicism.
Blessedly, though, cameras were turned off for the actual funeral, during which Gladys Knight sang and Al Sharpton spoke. The spectacle that has surrounded Jackson himself, his body and his nearly ritualistic send-off has finally come to a close. The story of his death and those involved, however, will go on, and of course will not remain so respectful.