Monday, June 29, 2009

Michael Jackson media frenzy spills (back) over into South Korea

I guess when the King of Pop suddenly dies right before he was to start a major comeback tour, it's reasonable that the American and global media would be falling over itself to find new ways to report on this. Like the death of the troubled Princess Diana, it's initial effect will last for days if not weeks, and it will still be discussed — even debated — in great detail long after the soul has left this Earth. 

And so it should be no surprise that stories of the Gloved One visiting Korea, as he did in 1998, are popping up even in the American media. Indeed, I found two such references, completely by accident, the Orange County Register picture above, where he is visiting cancer victims in South Korea, and in the Washington Post article below:
Two dozen people, mostly Japanese women in their 20s, stood in the lobby of the Shilla Hotel in Seoul, all dressed as Michael Jackson -- the black fedora, the Sgt. Pepper coats with all the faux-military doodads and the Ray-Bans.

Then Jackson himself appeared, and the dressed-up ladies started screaming as if they were on fire: Michael! Michael! Michael!

It was February 1998, and the King of Pop was in town for the inauguration of President Kim Dae-jung. It was never quite clear to me why one of the century's great fighters for democracy, the Korean Mandela, was buddies with the eccentric American pop star. But there Jackson was, waving itty-bitty waves in the middle of a wedge of enormous bodyguards moving quickly through the jampacked lobby. He swept by all the people dressed like him as if passing through some distorting hall of mirrors, and stepped into a minivan waiting just outside the main door.
Heh heh... "the Korean Mandela"... A reminder, perhaps, that President Kim Daejung's Nobel Peace Prize was awarded as much (if not more) for what he did before he became president than his controversial and expensive overtures to North Korea as president. 

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