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Opening Arguments

Star treatment

Michael Jackson's death lures one of the Big Boys from the Los Angeles Times, who otherwise would probably never consider getting within 100 miles of Gary:

Michael Jackson fans are convening all over the world to mourn a superstar.  But to residents who gathered this afternoon near his childhood home in Gary, Ind., Jackson was a once-beloved neighbor.

A man walked down Jackson Street sobbing uncontrollably to someone on his cellphone. A woman carrying a bouquet of flowers wore sunglasses to mask the tears. Stuffed animals and signs commemorating the music star were placed near the door to the home.

[. . .]

Paul Warner, a freelance photographer whose shots are featured by Getty Images and the Associated Press, lived nearby the Jackson home in the humble neighborhood. (Describing it as humble is, in fact, a serious understatement.)

Yeech. That's even more gag-inducing than the drivel sent back and forth between Mark Sanford and his Argentinian honey. A "once-beloved neighbor"? Neighborhood kids are not beloved, even ones who later become "troubled geniuses." They are pains in the ass, at best. And all those people "sobbing uncontrollably" into cell phones and wearing sunglasses "to mask the tears" -- I think I'd dread running into them more than I would the sorts of people who ordinarily inhabit such a "humble" neighborood (the kind, as one person told the Times writer, of which it is said, "You don't want to be here at night"). You know, where the streets are probably "mean."

I dunno. The Jackson house looks very much like the one my parents had near Anthony and McKinney on the southeast side, and I think "humble" overstates the case. A "humble" neighborhood would be like, "Oh, I'm not worthy, thank you SOOO much for choosing to live here." I think "modest" neighborhood would be more like it: "I know I'm not flashy, but I think we'll get along." And the streets aren't mean so much as surly. "Hey, slow down, you jerk, or I'll snag you with a pothole."

It is noted in the piece that "Gary isn't normally a place where big dreams are made." Finally, at least, one thing that rings true.

Posted in: Hoosier lore, Music