And yet, Michael Jackson considered himself as a King in his own mind. The "King of Pop", that is. The media enablers bought into it, of course, just to make him happy.
Earlier today, Jackson, who succumbed to a cardiac arrest on June 25, was laid to rest in a memorial service in Los Angeles. The motorcade leading to the Staples Center was more befitting a funeral procession for a head of state, not a pop icon who'd sought to make a comeback at age 50. Of course, the stars turned out, including Mariah Carey, who'd recorded a cover of an early Jackson Five hit, "I'll Be There", nearly 20 years ago.
Jackson's ex-wife, Debbie Rowe, chose not to attend, and, in hindsight, it was a good decision, on the heels of an incident recorded on video over the weekend of Rowe being besieged by reporters & photographers looking for a story. There have been conflicting reports about whether or not Rowe would seek to regain custody of the two children she had with Jackson, son Prince Michael and daughter Paris, but it seems as though she'd rather be left alone and away from the media glare. For now, the children are in the care of their grandmother, Michael's mother Katherine.
But while Jackson was laid to rest, the story isn't over just yet. Not as long as there is an investigation into exactly what led to the circumstances surrounding his death. The tabloids will continue to put Jackson on the front page until things cool down, and, given the Pavlovian curiosity of today's society, no one's sure when that will happen. And as long as the likes of the Globe continue to use Jackson to sell papers, it will be that much more difficult to separate the facts of the case from idle speculation and deluded fantasy.
Elvis Presley, long billed as the "King of Rock & Roll", didn't get this kind of sendoff 32 years ago. Then again, he didn't have 300 channels trying to record his every move for posterity, either.