Rethinking Paris Jackson

What Women Really Think
July 10 2009 10:41 AM

Rethinking Paris Jackson

So between Marjorie and an e-mail from a friend, I'm going to recant a bit about Paris Jackson speaking at her father's funeral . I can’t take back that on a gut level I found the entire spectacle off-putting, but I ought to have reminded myself that being in the limelight can be tough, especially when you're having real feelings. What's genuine seems staged, what's staged is supposed to be genuine, it's hard to parse the difference, and the difference hardly matters. When grieving, no one should have to concern herself with what other people think, even if the "other people" number 30 million.

As my friend, whose mother died when she was 14, said in an e-mail taking me to task for not being more generous to Paris Jackson:

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From the point of view of someone who did speak at the funeral of her parent, I can tell you that I honestly felt that if I hadn't said something, if I had just remained silent and let everyone else do the talking, I would have done a disservice to my mother. Everyone keeps saying they "Feel so sorry for the children," but one of the groups who actually benefits from seeing Paris talk is other kids who’ve lost their parents, getting to watch a peer grieve and go through what they’re going through. There is something comforting about watching another member of that club-a club no one wants to join, but one that offers a lot of succor to those who are in it.

It’s the ultimate trump card, and I, for one, can’t argue with it.

Willa Paskin is Slate’s television critic.