There’s been some speculation that Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s resolution in the House to honor the life of Michael Jackson may not pass. Conservative Democrats and some Republicans appear to be weighing whether or not such a resolution would play well in their conservative districts. According to the AP, these sort of things usually move quickly through committee to the floor and tend to be uncontroversially voted upon. The Michael Jackson resolution, meanwhile, has been in committee since June 26.
This kind of resolution honoring an American entertainer is nothing new. And Michael Jackson was a star of epic proportions, his indiscretions and weird lifestyle notwithstanding. The coverage of his death has been pretty hyperbolic, but it shouldn’t mar the fact that whatever your personal problems with Jackson, he had a remarkable effect on pop culture. Drunk college kids all over the country listen to his music; I can attest. We not only listened to MJ in our dorms, but at parties — my friend even bought a best of Michael Jackson DVD, with all of his videos. His personal life was a non-issue. He made some great music.
And, to put a little icing on this cake, it seems that whatever conservative Democrats and Republicans think their constituents will think of such a resolution, they’re totally wrong. This is anecdotal evidence, to be sure, but I think it’s instructive: the local country radio station, which broadcasts out of a nearby county — here, in southeast Ohio — had a lengthy segment about Michael Jackson’s memorial and coffin. The DJ opined about how much she loved him and his music, what an American icon he was. And that’s the country station. In rural America. Sarah Palin’s “real America” if you will. So I’m having a little trouble believing that a congressional resolution honoring his life would really prove to be all that horrendous.
[I should add that the only reason I was listening to a country music station is because I was over at the city pool. I may live in “real America,” but I try to stick to NPR. Not that there aren’t millions of folks in “real America” who listen regularly to NPR.]