Friday, April 15, 2011

Alive! Is Michael Jackson Really Dead?

(Elbow Grease) This DVD is so great! Not because the content or the research into  a Michael Jackson death hoax is compelling or original -- the bulk of this involves taking stuff from mainstream internet sites and the TMZ TV show. This is great because of the personality of the host, an excited woman named Pearl Jr., a self-described "Michael Jacksonologist." 90% of the video is simply voiceover while clips from TV or images culled from the web illustrate a hodgepodge of disconnected MJ fake death theories, several of which make Paul is Dead conspiracy stuff seem sensible. In choreography seen in the This Is It concert film Jackson has added a move where he points down, indicating that he will be in the ground soon. Numerous cryptic domain names were registered just after Michael's death. On the Forest Lawn website (note that Elvis, who also may have faked his death, was buried in a different cemetery that was also named Forest Lawn) if you type in 'Michael Jackson' it won't tell you where his grave is. All this is set against a repeating loop of scary music. But through all the ominous audio Ms. Jr. never loses her smile. What makes this video  a delight is watching how excited and happy Pearl Jr. is to present even the most modest discovery, to present anything, to just be engaged. Her enthusiasm is unbridled and infectious. As she histrionically punctuates things with "hmmm...," "How is it really possible...," and "well I'm here to tell you...," you totally root for her. TMZ would be ten times better if they fired all the jaded, smarmy hipsters and just went with someone as excited by the work as Pearl Jr.. One theory she presents is that the death must be fake because the surviving Jacksons act so weird (meaning they've been faking deaths for 40 years), and they smile too much for a grieving family. But Pearl Jr. never loses her broad, charming grin no matter how much death and misery she describes, and I would say that unlike some distraught Jackson obsessives, she is not particularly invested emotionally, but rather is recreating a gossipy discussion in a beauty shop where everyone instantly takes an opinion and shakes heads and makes declarations even if they haven't thought it out or don't care that much: it's just a form of fun discourse to pass time and it's actually more enjoyable to watch then dense, kooky, paranoid, hard to fathom conspiracy nut research. She really should have her own show, spending fifteen minutes online researching Bigfoot or Charlie Sheen or Obama's birth certificate and then buoyantly expounding on it for an hour. That's something I'd watch.

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