So. That happened . The bizarre spectacle of Michael Jackson's funeral was everywhere yesterday, and the most talked-about moment was when Michael's daughter, Paris Jackson, went up on stage and told the world , "Ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. And I just wanted to say I love him so much." Her Aunt Janet softly urged her forward and said, "speak up." Though I don't doubt Paris's emotion was genuine, the thing felt creepily staged. By the family's account, Paris wanted to say something at the memorial. But that doesn't mean the Jackson family should have let her.
I'm all for public grieving, and for Paris to have spoken at a family funeral would have been entirely appropriate and I'm sure cathartic. But having her grieve in front of the entire world felt incredibly exploitative. The only other public funeral in recent years of this magnitude was the death of Princess Diana in 1997. Her sons, William and Harry, were largely left alone by the press. They did not mourn their mother in public until a decade after her passing, when they were ages 22 and 25. The Jackson kids are going to face enough scrutiny for the rest of their lives. To allow this child to put herself out there in this manner just seemed wrong. Video is below.
Photograph of the Jackson family by Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images.