Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough

July 1, 2009 at 5:05 PM 1 comment

I didn’t intend to write anything about then death of Michael Jackson but a friend of in rung me up today to say they were gutted by his passing. I can understand that, being fifty myself it has at time seemed to me that Michael Jackson has provided part of the soundtrack for my life as well as a salutary lesson that money and fame don’t necessarily bring you happiness.

What has surprised me over the last couple of days (although it shouldn’t) is the power of the media to influence people’s behaviour. We somehow  are lead to believe that advertising and media saturation only works to a certain point. To do otherwise would be admitting that we can be easily manipulated, something which nobody wants to accept.  

However, it is clear that those music clips played as background to news reports and the stream of documentariesabout his life have had an amazing effect with punters rushing out to buy and download Michael Jackson tunes.  He may have been in debt at the point of death but in this modern video media age the  music industry is set to make a killing (pardon the pun) and one thing you can be sure of.  They won’t stop until they get enough. 

So what’s the point of this rant.  Well,  I think we need to be a whole lot more conscious of the stranglehold that the media has on influencing public opinion. and setting the terms of any debate.  In the trade union world we complain about the negative news coverage that we receive and spend our time dumbing down our messages in order to enhance our credibility with a hostile press.  Press hostility has always been with us and we should stop spending so much time and effort trying to change it.  We need to get back to thinking about how we can develop mass ways of communicating with working people to counter the properganda that they get from the so call balanced and independant press.


Entry filed under: News.

Too Clever By Half A Great Man Remembered

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Verisimilitude  |  July 8, 2009 at 5:30 PM

    I agree with your comments about media saturation over Michael Jackson. My target and frustration though is with black people for lapping it up.

    Yesterday’s memorial at the Staples Centre capped it all for me. What the hell was a Congresswoman doing there eulogising in an official capacitity! I can’t help thinking that this is some sort of consiracy designed to throw black people (and the masses) off the scent of the issues that really matter like, the recession, job losses, growing inequality.

    I’m not one to usually quote Enoch Powell but his remarks, albeit on immigration not on MJ, spring to mind because given the disproportionate media coverage I’ve been wondering if: “we must be mad, literally mad…”

    Too many of us seem to have taken leave of our senses and have lost all perspective. Sure MJ was a brilliant entertainer and symbolically the first major black pop icon…BUT this is all that he was. I understand his cultural significance but in the big scheme of things, he wasn’t/isn’t that important. This is why it’s been particularly painful to watch and listen to all the outpouring and eulogization from black people (I know he had many fans) some have gone so far as to ‘reclaim’ him on behalf of all black people (see Jamie Foxx’s bizzare emotional spewing at last weeks BET Awards). WTF!

    Obama in his initial statement struck the right balance, he acknowledges MJ as an ‘entertainer’ but also obliquely acknowledged his personal flaws. He was after all only human. I can’t quite understand why so many black people seem to be cannonizing this man.

    One of my theories is the psychological effects of racism in that black people want to, nay need to see other black people succeed – no matter the cost or the personal flaws of that ‘success story’. This is a dangerous thing because it means some of us cannot distingish between those who dserve our highest praise and those who do not.

    In the big scheme of things MJ is another black man who owes his fame and ‘success’ to being able to dance and sing. I’m almost tempted to say it’s modern minstrelsy but perhaps that’s too harsh.

    Let us reserve our highest praise for those who have excelled in areas where black people are not supposed to e.g. literature, art, science etc. If that makes me sound like a snob – tough!


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