Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
July 6, 2009

The Michael Jackson Death Show

Forest Lawn Jacko.jpg

As an industry town preparing for a memorial service the likes L.A. has never seen (hello Larry! Anderson! Charles! Katie!), it’s hard to consider this giddy and buzzing city as anything but a parody of itself.

These wry and simple wire photos intentionally play-off the escalating intensity of tomorrow’s mass-scale, Laker-championship-emulating public memorial service at Staples Arena preceded by an expected news helicopter-gawking, freeway-arresting mobile procession/slow-motion media cavalcade (potentially, yes, one-part unspoken O.J. reminder mixed with a dash of the RFK train) from the cemetery to downtown.

As the MJ passing “pushes into its second week,” the first image offers up members of the media — looking like acting extras themselves — converting Forest Lawn into the likes of a movie set four-full-days before the anticipated memorial service. (And, it’s the Fourth of July, no less.)

Forest Lawn Jacko2.jpg

Here, the taped outline for a TV truck just beyond the mortuary gates seems to evoke a burial plot or the markings at a crime scene.

Perhaps celebrity culture is what’s also killing us.

(Revised: 8:26 am PST)

(image 1: Robyn Beck/Getty Images. Forest Lawn cemetery. Los Angeles. July 4, 2009. Although details of the July 7 memorial service for music legend Michael Jackson have yet to be released, some reports say Jackson’s family may hold a service at the Forest Lawn Mortuary then motorcade to Staples Center. image 2: Eric Thayer/Reuters. A Forest Lawn cemetery. Los Angeles July 3, 2009. caption: Although details of Tuesday’s memorial service have yet to be unveiled, Los Angeles media said Michael Jackson’s family may hold a service at the Forest Lawn Mortuary then motorcade to Staples Center.)

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