Saturday, June 27, 2009

Where Were You When...

I guess it will be another one of those "do you remember where you were when you heard..." moments, won't it? I was in my car, checking Twitter (safely, really!) when I saw a tweet saying Michael Jackson had gone into cardiac arrest. I thought of checking or something like it, but then I realized that I was most likely going to get whatever news I wanted faster via Twitter, so I kept checking. Within a minute of TMZ (whom I don't even follow) announcing his death, I Tweeted "Holy Fucking Shit. Holy Fucking Shit," and then wondered if I should have waited for confirmation from a more legit source. Tweets started coming in saying that it was only TMZ, that they were just rumour-mongers, and we should wait for confirmation from the medical examiner. But even though TMZ might dish trash (I should know), I can't think of an instance in which they falsely reported someone's death, much less someone of Jackson's stature. If they had reported it falsely, they would likely have lost their value as America's go-to place for breaking news. TMZ can be abhorrent, but they are important, and that has now been confirmed. Jst as the National Enquirer became the source for real news about OJ, the internet, between Twitter and TMZ has found a way to cut through the noise.

I wrote a short piece about my early Jacko memories in today's National Post.


  1. I was on Twitter too (from work). Perez had just reported he died so when you're "Holy Fucking Shit..." tweet came in I knew exactly what you meant.

    I too wondered about legitimate sources but thought where there's smoke there was fire and there wasn't any chance that Michael Jackson would live through this even if the reports were premature.

    I no longer watch TV and I have to say this hasn't quite sunk in for me. Watching a bunch of text on a computer screen doesn't have the same impact as being pummeled repeatedly with images of people mourning and video montages of his career.

    I think I will go listen to Mark Ronson's radio show tribute and stay in a world where MJ still lives just a little while longer.

    Christine ©


  2. I was playing a vidyagame when I saw "MICHAEL JACKSON IS DED" scroll across the top of the screen. Then I got about a hundred thousand text messages about it. Checked msnbc, his death was already confirmed.

    I'm not sure how I feel about this whole thing. Pretty fucking surreal though.

  3. To this day I'm still checking TMZ before I check CNN. I've never trusted a word TMZ has ever said, but everything has been spot on so far. The bloggers of the world might actually gain some respect after this whole story comes to a close (which it hopefully does within a year).

    And then there's all of us on Twitter, millions of ambassadors of spreading news -- and we do it all for free. It's an amazing, close-knit world we're creating online -- why can't we do it offline, too?

  4. I also remember reading your "holy fucking shit" tweet and knowing exactly what you were referring to. I was also on Twitter after work when I first found out...and it's a moment I'll never forget.

  5. Its weird that we were all on Twitter. It wasn't too long ago I was trying to convince all my friends to join me there, and they thought I was nuts. Now Twitter is the internet. Michael Jackson was on the bleeding edge in life and now again in death, the death of Micheal Jackson is the first tragedy experienced "socially".

  6. I was over at my sister's new apt. playing video Jeopardy. We were listening to KLOS here in LA, which does NOT play MJ music to say the least. They started playing Billie Jean and my sister says, "Oh my god, he's dead, isn't he? He's dead." So, I popped on my trusty iPhone, and your tweet was one of the first I saw. Holy Fucking Shit was right.

    BTW - cranked up some old BNL on the iPod this am - your voice is GOLDEN. Just brilliant.

  7. I was getting drunk at an afterparty post the last performence of a stage production. One of my castmates got a text that said MJ passed away and we all thought she had one too many drinks and when we realized she wasn't the party kind of simmered down... Amazing how it affected nearly every person in that room...

    I was never a big fan but there's no denying his influence on pop culture and music history.

  8. Great piece - I never realized (in all these years of distant-ish fandom) how much older than you I am, in 83 I was a year from leaving SoFl for parts unknown, before wandering home again more than a decade later. Race + Poverty + South Florida. I could go on about that forever, I suppose.

    I found out after spending the day with my kids, doing the things one does with one's kids, taking them to dive class at a municipal pool on a hot day - when my brother texted me "People are freaking out about MJ" and I sent back - "What? MJ?" But even as I was ticking off famous MJ's I was already thinking "Holy Shit, Michael Jackson's dead" And the how wasn't even a question.

  9. That was a very good article, Steven. I forgot that South Florida didn't integrate until 1982. They were one of the last holdouts for integration.
    I work as a cocktail waitress at a Tribal casino east of Seattle, Washington and one of my coworkers was coming on shift and she said "Holy shit, Michael Jackson might be dead." The bartender immediately turned to CNN. At that point CNN had not confirmed and I saw it as my duty to take my lunch break and go downstairs to my locker and check Twitter and TMZ. TMZ had said that he had died, but I the professional news organizations have their own criteria to confirm someone of notoriety dead. I just sat in the locker room in complete shock and denial. TMZ is a website that many of us love to hate but they have never been wrong yet and that's why I feel many of us love to hate them.

  10. I was on Twitter too. Totally knew what your Tweet meant.

    I wonder if I'll remember this as much as when I heard about Lady Di or Paul Newman...

    ...or when George Michael was arrested (but that's probably just me).

    Still can't believe TMZ broke the news.