Saturday, July 04, 2009

More Jackson

You will need a ticket to attend Michael Jackson's memorial service? $25 plus any service fee will get you there if your name is drawn.

Pardon my mid-western ethics, but I have never heard of having to purchase tickets to go to a memorial service. Other artists have passed away who had millions of adoring fans. I've seen video of them filing past the deceased.

I'm old enough to remember where I was when President Kennedy was assassinated and the reaction of the nation following that event. I watched black & white TV coverage for the next several days and can still hear the drum cadence as the caisson bearing Kennedy passed through Washington DC for him to lie in state at the Capitol. There were no tickets for that event.

Shortly after John Lennon was pronounced dead thousands gathered in front of his apartment building. His widow, Yoko Ono, asked them to convene the following Sunday in Central Park for a memorial service.

Over 100,000 attended with similar events throughout the World. Liverpool was essentially shut down. People the world over spent 10 minutes in silence at Ono's request. No one needed tickets.

Elvis died in August of 1977 and thousands lined the street in front on his mansion to pay their respects. The crowd was orderly and well-behaved despite being in 90+ degree heat. Two days later the same crowd lined the same street to catch a glimpse of their idol being driven to his final rest. They were eventually permitted to file respectfully past his grave. No thought was given to selling tickets.

I realize that the state of California is facing a severe financial crisis to the point it does not have money to pay for services. I also realize the Staples Center is a for profit business.

News reports say 11,000 tickets for The Staples Center were printed and another 6,500tickets were offered for the adjacent facility with closed-circuit Jumbo tron viewing. The tickets were sold by lottery at $25 each. Other news reports state that the memorial service was paid for from private donors.

In the scheme of things, $437,500 that will be recouped from ticket sales is probably not a lot of money for such an event. Perhaps the ticket policy is just a means of crowd control. I don't know.

I am just appalled by the prospect of selling tickets to a memorial service.

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