The latter line is what concert promoter AEG executive John Meglin said during recent testimony in the wrongful death suit brought by the Jackson family against concert promoter AEG Live.
As reported in the media for weeks, Michael Jackson’s mother and three children contend the company is liable for damages because it hired, retained or supervised the doctor convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson.
Meglin made his assessment while challenging an entertainment expert hired by Jackson lawyers who estimated Michael, 50 at the time of his death, would have earned $1.5 billion touring the world before his 66th birthday had he not died from an overdose of propofol. Meglin said if Jackson had lived, Dion would have been a bigger star in the future–that, in fact, she was already the “bigger” star before he died.
To win a lawsuit, people will do whatever. The gloves come off, so to speak—or, as in the case of the O.J. Simpson murder trial, he “couldn’t” get the gloves on, which helped lead to his acquittal. In the courtroom, people say and do all sorts of things.
But while Michael Jackson has been called a lot of things in life, being a smaller star than Celine Dion isn’t one of them.
Of course, there ARE people more famous than Michael Jackson. Jesus Christ comes to mind. JFK. Queen Elizabeth. Batman…Celine Dion. See? Her name doesn’t even fit here.
In bars, patrons under the influence of alcohol have been known to express strong differences of opinion regarding religion, politics and, on occasion, Michael Jackson. When was the last time somebody got clocked over Celine Dion?
Regardless of his assorted woes, the time of his death Michael Jackson was still one of the most famous men on the planet. I’m pretty sure Meglin, being in the business he’s in, knows this. Perhaps he simply wasn’t moved by the truth.
Figures. In recent years, the attempt to rewrite the most obvious of history or refute basic fact is a trend that has swarmed the fields of reality, common sense and logic like a storm of locusts. We’re not talking merely a case of misguided opinion or a lie that might be construed as fact; it’s the “my truth/your truth” concept on steroids with a crack chaser.
There are people running around vehemently insisting global warming is a scam; that medical vaccine is a hoax. That better gun background checks are the last step before the government takes everyone’s gun; that Robin Thick’s smash, “Blurred Lines,” ISN’T simply a straight up rip of Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up.” I say give me a break.
Among the most dynamic of these loony tunes is the idea that Barack Obama isn’t an American citizen; that he was actually born in Kenya–as if the powers that be would have allowed a black man who is not an American citizen to even ask for the PAPERWORK to run for president, let alone fill it out, run and win.
And that’s the most interesting—and actually, scary–component of this culture of super lies: it doesn’t seem to matter that there are scientific facts or physical evidence to counter the cockeyed fantasies. Folks shamelessly make bat-shit crazy claims about stuff that can be disproved by cracking a book or simply using one’s head. Yet people still believe otherwise.
The Hawaiian hospital where Obama was born has issued so many copies of his birth certificate to the skeptical that they refuse to send out anymore. Obama himself has addressed this foolishness. However, the mantra of the so-called Birthers continues to be “Show us the birth certificate.”
Meanwhile, vaccines have all but wiped out many dread diseases, and Big Foot has never been found. These people seem to believe that if they can get enough sheep to rally behind these Bizarro lies, the lies become the truth.
But this isn’t Bizarro World, and depending on how serious the lie, the people look either silly or downright ignorant.
I hope that when Mr. Meglin comes down from whatever he’s been smoking, he puts in a call to Celine Dion and apologizes. I’m sure she’s asking herself why couldn’t he have invoked somebody else’s name in such a ridiculous way. Somebody like, well, anyone but her.
Steven Ivory, journalist and author of the essay collection Fool In Love (Simon & Schuster), has covered popular culture for magazines, newspapers, radio and TV for more than 30 years. Respond to him via [email protected].