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McAdams On: Michael Jackson’s Bandwagon

It’s one thing to remember bicycling down to the record store to buy your first Jackson 5 disk. It’s another to use the untimely demise of a trouble pop icon to promote financial planning. Here’s a headline from Smart Money: “Michael Jackson’s Death and Your Estate Plan.”

I’m all for opportunism. It keeps my fridge stocked with that half-empty bottle of soy sauce, various containers of chilled water and some shaved Parmesan cheese. And I’m all for using whatever means necessary to attract Web traffic. Hence I am invoking the name of “Michael Jackson” here at Television Broadcast in order to suck up some of the search traffic that’s choking more legitimate coverage, like that of

And yet, we here at TVB are not suggesting that Michael Jackson’s death is a good time to run out and buy a digital-to-analog converter box. That’s not to say it wouldn’t be interesting to know if there was a rush by the 2 million or so TV-less people to buy them, and how many were motivated by a desire to learn the Thriller dance. What we are not doing, like Smart Money, is launching into financial advice via the death of a man whose life should be the basis for an opera. Is it me, or is that just kind of, oh, I don’t know… crass?

On the other hand… when’s talking about money in conjunction with death not crass, and probably all together necessary. Smart Money notes that it cost less for a rich person to die this year than in 2008 because the federal estate tax exemption increased by $1.5 million.

Excuse me. I had to get up and lock my door and load my shotgun. It’s not that I don’t trust my heirs. OK, that’s a joke. The estate of a journalist is the monetary equivalent to what they keep in the fridge.

But back to the Michael-Jackson-was-my-best-friend phenomenon, which is bound to continue until the earth dissolves. MTV is already in there with tales of how it and Jackson grew up together (but not how he desegregated the network). The Wall Street Journal got its own with a nice little piece about how banks continued to refinance Jackson even as he verged on defaulting multiple times.

No stone will be left unturned. Someone going by the name of Cutmaster Flex of Bloomington, Minn., last night registered the URL,, posting a picture of the icon in his Thriller visage, under which is the word, “Yes!”

May the kid from Gary rest in peace. He’ll certainly get none from the media.