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Susan Estrich
10 Feb 2016
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Is there still a revolution about to happen in Iran?

Is my state going to run out of money tomorrow, and start printing IOUs?

Can the crazy North Koreans really attack Hawaii?

Was there a coup in Honduras? Do we care?

The short answer to all the above questions is — who knows?

What I can tell you is that the traffic on Sunset near Michael Jackson's house is backed up. Again.

Living in Los Angeles, Ground Zero of the Michael Jackson story, I am extremely interested in its implications for traffic, which — believe me — have been substantial. The best news is that the family is planning to hold the viewing in Santa Barbara. I just hope he goes by helicopter. Otherwise, forget the freeway.

I don't mean to make light of Mr. Jackson's passing. Of course my sympathies go out to his family. Michael Jackson was a father, a son, a brother, and a friend. I have no doubt those who loved him are suffering, and I can only hope that having the world, and the world media, treat this as the only story worth covering feels to them like the respect that their "King" was due.

What I don't entirely understand, though, is why the rest of us are so endlessly and completely interested in the sad and sorry details of a talented man's demise. Does anyone really doubt the story here? I met Michael Jackson some years ago at an event, and he was frail then. I wouldn't have asked the man I saw to perform one stadium concert, let alone 50, and this was before the trial and its humiliations. When, a few years later, my son called me in New Hampshire, where I was trekking around with the candidates in 2004, to tell me that he was playing at a school friend's house and Michael Jackson and his kids had come over to play with them, I got my son's father on the phone faster than you could say "John Kerry" to get him out of there.

Not rocket science. The guy was acquitted, and rightly so based on my following of the evidence at his trial, but that doesn't mean you let your 11-year-old son play with him. From a parent's perspective, this guy was the definition of "bad news." A parent who wants to be a child is not a parent.

As for the poor doctor, his failings (CPR on the bed? could it really be?) only prove that my friend Maureen (a doctor herself) is so right when she says the celebrities here tend to get the worst medical treatment, even when their doctors are much fancier than Michael Jackson's, because their doctors treat them like celebrities and not patients. Would any doctor who was treating Michael Jackson like a patient (and not an ATM) go along with the plan to prop up a guy who was having trouble talking and walking so he could sing and dance his way through 50 concerts?

Today's big news is that the children were supposedly "cocktail" babies, conceived with donated sperm and eggs. Now, there's a big surprise. Have you seen pictures of these children? They certainly don't look like they have any biological connection to the Michael Jackson of the Jackson 5. I don't know the details of the agreements surrounding the birth of the youngest child, but as to the older two, California law couldn't be clearer: Debbie Rowe, who gave birth to the children, is the mother and her husband at the time, Michael Jackson, is the father. Relationships control, not genetics. As they should.

It's not because we don't understand how this could have happened that we're all riveted by the story. We know. This is not a thriller. It is because the ending was a foregone conclusion that Michael Jackson's death makes us normal folks who don't live (and die) like rock stars feel like we just might have the better lives — for which we should be grateful.

But enough is enough. I'm here not to praise Michael Jackson, or to damn him, but to let him rest in peace, so that we can let the traffic, real and psychic, clear and turn our attention back to what really matters.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



3 Comments | Post Comment
In the last 4 months we've lost our jobs, losing our house, our hope in the future.

I could'nt care less about Michael Jackson right now.

We had perfect credit. zero balance on 2 credit cards, college degrees and businesses are fleeing and folding in mass exodus.

My children are depressed, scared and wondering what the Hell is going on. So are we.

Please Susan please, if you still have faith in this President, can you explain why we shouldn't be afraid and hopeless for our future?

I've lost all faith that he is honestly trying to help us. We've gone from $100,000 a year income to $368.00 a week in welfare (never needed ANY help from anyone before) and just signed up for a church funded food bank two weeks ago. The banks won't adjust our mortgage but they'll allow a new buyer to move in at a lower payment with the $8,000 incentive. We were never late in ten years on even one payment.

Why is Obama doing this to Americans who carry the water?
Comment: #1
Posted by: Lisa Bach
Wed Jul 1, 2009 5:45 AM
For many months now I have been urging folks to change as much of their assets as they can to united states silver dollars ( 1878 to 1935) SILVER DOLLARS not paper or Ike dollars. The comment from the first lady is heartbreaking and your comment that California may have to issue IOU's is both scary and very real.
I personally took a huge hit in the stock market in the last two years. I bought thousands of shares of circuit City stock at $14.00 a share. luckily, I sold some at 7 a share but foolishly kept 2,000 shares that are now worth less than 2 cents a share. This has happened to many thousands of people. How terribly sad for those who trusted Bernie Madoff with their life savings. When he got sentenced on Monday , I thought that it would be great if some of the officials at the SEC could be charged with enabling him for so long. They deserve to do time right along side Mr. Madoff.
Anyway, I personally converted much of my life savings into silver dollars, bcause no matter what happens to the economy, my money will be safe with me. (I avoided gold because it is too complicated for the average person to authenticate and buy , hold and resell.) I can sell five or ten coins at market price if and when I might need them. If a crash comes, the price of my silver dollars will rise or fall in true relation to demand. Paper money may end up having to be wheelbarrowed to the grocery store for a loaf of bread ala the Germans in Post World War One era.
The consequences of the devaluing of our money as a result of the two wars that George Bush started and paid for by huge off budget overseas borrowing has yet to hit home. The Chinese now hold the pursestrings and can yank the purse closed at any time. I urge people to convert their paper savings into silver dollars AND TAKE POSSESSION OF THOSE COINS as a means of protecting their assets. I personally have reduced my stock portfolio to only a handful of stocks worth less than 30,000.
Comment: #2
Posted by: robert lipka
Wed Jul 1, 2009 12:26 PM
MJ's music was great, he was a freak of a human being!
Comment: #3
Posted by: Early
Thu Jul 2, 2009 7:55 AM
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