For a long time he’s been Wacko Jacko

When can you speak ill of the dead

It’s a month since the death of Michael Jackson an event which triggered much worshipful coverage of the singer’s life. Has enough time passed for a more impartial assessment of the man?When Michael Jackson died the global media cleared the decks for the King of Pop. But not everyone canada goose premium outlet was reading the script.

«This guy was a pervert,» said Peter King, Republican state congressman for New York. «He was a child molester, he was a paedophile, and to be giving this much coverage to him day in and day out, what does it say about us as a country?»

canada goose coats The British satirical magazine Private Eye summarised the media’s U turn on Jackson canada goose outlet vancouver thus: «What you didn’t read in all the newspapers: ‘Mad Paedophile Dead: Yesterday a 50 year old mentally ill paedophile died in America.'» canada goose coats

Our traditional response to a person’s death can be summed up by the Latin «de mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est» roughly translated «don’t speak ill of the dead». But in the information age, where the news keeps on rolling and the notion of deference has long since been replaced by a fascination with fame, how canada goose jacket outlet does goose outlet canada the old maxim hold up?

canada goose store A person’s death is an opportunity for onlookers to sound magnanimous, sensitive and profound. But also stupid. canada goose store

When the canada goose outlet real controversial publisher Robert Maxwell drowned in 1991, the then prime minister, John Major, praised him as canada goose kensington parka uk a «great character» who had given him «valuable advice».

canada goose Maxwell was widely suspected of being a crook and a bully. So when, not long later, it emerged he had stolen hundreds of millions of pounds from the Daily Mirror pension fund, Major’s praise looked foolish rather than gracious. canada goose

Recently it canada goose womens outlet has become fashionable for politicians to canada goose outlet store montreal pay tribute to any number of celebrity victims.

Risky talk

canadian goose jacket Princess Diana’s remains the defining celebrity death canada goose outlet in uk that set the tone for what was to come. As the feminist commentator Joan Smith canada goose outlet in chicago put it 10 canada goose outlet toronto factory years after the event: «I came across many people who felt as I did: canada goose outlet niagara falls shocked canada goose outlet miami by the sudden death of a well known person, especially in such absurd and avoidable circumstances, but not personally involved.» canadian goose jacket

Canada Goose sale But to speak out against the tide of grief was canada goose outlet in canada risky. «We were immediately perceived to be on ‘the other canada goose outlet eu side’ deficient in compassion, sympathy, empathy, whatever you want canada goose factory outlet vancouver to canada goose outlet ottawa call it.» Canada Goose sale

Canada Goose Outlet The death of Michael Jackson brings up many parallels. The funeral was moving for canada goose outlet phone number his fans but contained moments of extreme irony: «Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine,» canada goose parka outlet uk declared canada goose outlet authentic Paris Katherine Jackson. Canada Goose Outlet

Families are entitled to such pronouncements but these days wise commentators take a nuanced view of someone’s death, says the columnist Sam Leith.

Canada Goose Parka «It’s a hostage to fortune to say nice things when someone dies. And reacting to this one was particularly tricky. For a long time he’s been Wacko Jacko. So he wasn’t someone who was unequivocally lauded.» Canada Goose Parka

cheap Canada Goose While Jackson was never convicted of canada goose outlet uk child abuse and was once acquitted a finger of suspicion continued to hang over him. cheap Canada Goose

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canada goose deals President Obama’s spokesman chose canada goose outlet seattle to balance the «spectacular performer» with the private individual whose life had many «sad and tragic» elements. canada goose outlet website legit And yet more desperate individuals began losing their heads with the most «egregious self publicising» from celebrities like Uri Geller and Brooke Shields who hadn’t seen Jackson for years, says Leith. canada goose deals

canada goose clearance sale And of course the politicians joined in. «A young man has left Earth, but now resides in the stars,» said Diane Watson, the Democratic representative from California. Meanwhile in the Mother of Parliaments, Labour MP Keith Vaz tabled the following Early Day Motion: canada goose clothing uk «That this House celebrates the life and music of Michael Jackson; commends the role his music has played notes that he sold an estimated 750 million records worldwide and won 13 Grammy awards and hopes that his legacy will endure.» canada goose clearance sale

Leith believes politicians like Vaz make a «category error» when they posture in this way. «They appropriate cultural events. You wouldn’t really expect Michael Jackson to ratify the Countryside Act 2000 so why canada goose jacket uk should parliament say what a jolly good dancer he was?»

canada goose clearance Dr Johnson famously remarked: «In lapidary inscriptions a man is not upon oath» in other words, feel free to embroider a bit when paying tribute to a man’s life. But Bob Chaundy, former obituaries editor at BBC News says the days of the slavishly affectionate canada goose outlet buffalo portrait no longer apply. canada goose clearance

Canada Goose online «You try canada goose outlet store near me to create as true and full account of that person’s life as you can. So with Michael Jackson you couldn’t just talk about the music you had to mention the allegations of paedophilia. This is obituary, not hagiography.»But an obituary needs to tell a story first and foremost. «You can’t ignore the fact that he sold more records than any other artist. If he was just a child molester we wouldn’t be writing about him.» Canada Goose online

buy canada goose jacket However, the boundaries of what can and can’t be said are not always clear cut. buy canada goose jacket

«We obituarists do argue amongst ourselves should you out someone’s sexuality or mention that they may have committed suicide, for instance?»

The Reverend Tim Sledge, a vicar in Romsey, Hampshire, believes society has a confused reaction to death: «The media portrayal of a life has almost become like an autopsy.»

canada goose coats on sale Sledge conducts 100 funeral services a year and says his primary task is to help people come to terms with their loss. canada goose coats on sale

canada goose black friday sale «One of the ways to do that is to look back at a person’s life and celebrate it. canada goose outlet You need to steer a careful course, deal with it honestly but don’t obsess about the bad parts or it canada goose outlet parka becomes a cesspit.» canada goose black friday sale

He admits there have been times, researching funeral subjects, when it seems canada goose coats uk nobody has a good word canada goose outlet germany to say about the deceased.

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