Sunday, July 12, 2009

Michael... who?

Michael Jackson's death seems to be the only news of the season and everyone is trying to make a point on his legacy to popular culture, unable to avoid the scandals that surrounded him in the last 15 years. Add to it that it's summer and nothing else is going on, and you have a recipe for disaster.

To denounce the tsunami of bad taste that's making company to Jackson in his path to the beyond, I'll just quote a comment from a KSTP journalist: "and here, while his brothers take his coffin to the stage, we witness the last time that Jackson Five will ever share a stage". Oh boy! that was just creepy.

But I would like to mention some other 50 year old guy, also deceased during the last week of june, whose work and notice have been unfairly overshadowed. The joe in question was Billy Mays and he was the undisputed king of the infomercials, the late night tv stars.

I am the first to admit that I found Mays annoying as a bumblebee the first time I paid any attention to his commercials. Maybe the fifth time I saw him singing praises to OxiClean, and after a very clumsy spanish speaking piece (he was OBVIOUSLY speaking phonetic spanish and didn't seem to have a clue of what he was saying) I got to think that this man was embodying the american dream. Maybe not that perfect picture from the 50's, but an updated and slightly perturbed version. Of a fix for every problem, self-help addicted, bulletproof good mood, a little neurotic. And that's how I started paying some attention to his tv appearances.

While it is true that I never felt the faintest inclination to buy anything he was offering, the naivete of the situations made me laugh. That's like fairy tales for grown ups, I always thought, you buy that soap and your life will be better. But Mays won me with two pieces, one even more absurd than the other, that you can watch by clicking here and here.

The office add gave me the clue that Mays had sarcasm in his vocabulary. And the bearded family one, that he could laugh at anything starting with himself. Beat that, Michael Jackson, beat that or... beat it.

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