Jacko, I hardly knew ye …

January16/ 2000

…..  There were three significant deaths all within 24 hours – Michael Jackson, Farrah and Mark Sanford’s political career.  Let’s look at all three for their deep socio-cultural relevance.  And speaking of “looking” –  Yes, we have THAT Tami Hansbrough pic from Draft Night.   Talk about a Thriller!

I grew up in a home where “music” was never of much significance.  History “was” as well as assorted other avocational interests, but never music.   That’s neither good nor bad but brings me now in the throes of upper middle age to a non-mainstream position when it comes to how music and its practitioners define generations.

I absolutely recall seeing BOTH Elvis and The Beatles on Ed Sullivan as well as Topo Gigio, Senor Wenches and Wayne & Shuster.  Allowing that small mouse puppets never really “die”, I have no idea what became of Senor Wenches (saaawww right!) or Wayne or Shuster.  Elvis and two Beatles have died with resultant Richter Scale movements in each case.  Albeit, George Harrison’s death did not merit a commemorative coin or dismissing schools an hour early.

Elvis gorging on one too many fried banana sandwiches and enough pills to choke, well, to choke Elvis.  And John Lennon arriving at The Dakota at precisely the wrong moment are both “where were you when you heard …..” cultural mileposts.  I get it.

What I personally REALLY got was Pete Maravich’s death.  Pistol Pete was “my age” (as is/was Farrah) and died of a congenital heart condition in his early 40s.  His was the first celebrity death of my direct generation not due to an accident or criminal act.  The term “come to grips with one’s own mortality” entered my lexicon.

I recall an immediate recommitment to read all The Great Books of The Western World and learn how to play the harmonica.  I haven’t fulfilled either self-promise yet but with Farrah’s death maybe I’ll recommit to doing both.

Certainly I “get” Farrah’s place in the pantheon of 20th century post-pubescent development.  We discussed that last month right here.  “That poster” could by today’s standards be used to advertise a pool party at the local Baptist Church or appear in a Bob Jones University recreational activities flyer.   Getting from Marilyn Monroe standing over the subway grate to Farrah’s poster to Janet Jackson at The Super Bowl to whatever is on HBO right now is not a mystifying progression.  One eats that elephant one bite at a time.  Nibble, nibble, nibble (or should that be nipple, nipple, nipple ….. GOTCHA!)


 OK OK OK ….. you’re all about to “bust” (GOTCHA again!) to see the Tami Hansbrough pic from last night’s Draft Party at MSG.  My appreciation for Tyler’s Mom is well documented.  Even when I introduced TarHeelNation to Doc’s replacement Hottie three years ago, I paid homage to “the genuine original”.   Tyler is a Pacer …. Mamma is a Cougar!

NOTE:  BobLee is an accredited authority on Missouri wimmen.  I married two of’em.  I’m related to a bunch of’em and my daughter is turning into one of’em. 

Alls I can say from this pic is all you UNC Dental School Alumni just go ahead and send in signed blank checks.  You ain’t got a prayer of saying no to Ms Development Director.  That she is Tyler’s mom certainly did not hurt her chances in getting the fundraising position but she definitely brought other assets to the job.   You go Tami Girl!

(Yes, before you ask, Tyler’s brother was shipped off immediately to the Alexander Julian Center for Sartorial Rehabilitation)



Getting back to Jacko. ……  I don’t argue the point of Jacko’s global celebrity status.  That I can’t name a single song nor would likely drive crosstown to see his concert, I acknowledge that’s simply not my bag.  But there are many bags in pop-culture.  My appreciation for Brunswick Stew and reruns of Roadhouse are hardly universal.

I ran a few focus groups in the wake of his wake and think I’ve “got it”.  Discounting whatever “musical genius” means, Jacko emerged as an adult entertainer coincidental with the emergence of MTV and music videos.  The overall production elements to his shows was a phenomenon of heretofore new experience.  He did not simply “sing” or “dance” or gyrate or or or ….. his shows ignited the audiences full sensory arsenal.  He was KISS without the make-up and Gene’s tongue.  (Although facial orifices would ultimately play a part in Jacko’s fame!)

Moonwalking was cool (except when your goofy Uncle Marvin tries to do it every Thanksgiving) and the Thriller zombies were appropriately zombiriffic.

But, somewhere around his 7th or 8th visit to Nip & Tuck R Us, his inner-creepy got activated and he pretty much left this world for another dimension of uber-weird.

Kid never asked for a Jacko doll (or a glove) and Jacko never asked for any of Kid’s clothing so I never got all torqued about his place in the Human Sideshow Oddity Hall of Infamy.  Janet got my attention on a few occasions and LaToys reminded me of a “working girl” I encountered one night outside the Newark Airport.  Other than that I preferred The Osmonds, but hey, that’s me.


OK …. Mark Sanford.   If you had asked me a year ago who was Governor of South Carolina I would have said “why”.   He percolated to the top of “prominent Republicans” over the past 6-8 months because even the mainstream media vipers get tired of doing Sarah Palin hit pieces everyday and no one is real sure how to spell Jindal or Pawlenty.  Plus “they” think they destroyed Bobby after “that speech”.

Sanford “showed” the mainstream media by golly.  Instead of waiting for them to eventually target him for political assassination he went ahead and did it for them.  Rham Emmanuel has a whole file of contrived Sanford slander and now it is useless.  Oh well, he can just change the name to whoever and send it along to NBC.

There is some gallows humor in the whole mess I suppose.  At least Wilbur Mills’ memory gets a little revival.  Does every Argentine gal look like Gabriella Sabatini and Mark’s Maria?

Drag Sanford’s sorry butt off the stage and lets move on.  But as we do so lets all us RightWing Fanatics say in chorus ……. “For Republicans, marital infidelity is career suicide.  For Democrats it’s a resume enhancement.” …..  and some obligatory reference to Chappaquiddick.  OK, do we all feel better now?

What is it with Southern Governors …… Clinton, Easley, Sanford and #1 Nut Emeritus Jimmy Carter.


Where were Wilbur and Fannie Foxe caught?


   Yes Yes …. I know all about the Super Mega Pervert arrested at Duke today ….. selling his 5 y/o adopted son for sex over the Internet.  Frank Lombard – a senior Duke administrator.   The embattled crooked admins at NCSU are all saying “Thank you Lord”.   My keen instincts for academic scandal tell me this one might be around a few days.
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