Thursday, July 16, 2009


“Legoland cancels tribute to Jackson.” That’s a local headline that catches the eye.

According to this July 3 North County Times story, the Carlsbad amusement park was planning to install “a 4-inch-tall model of the ‘King of Pop’ in the park’s popular Miniland Southern California attraction” but pulled the pint-sized plug on the project because of “unresolved legal issues.” The article also noted that members with annual passes had been consulted about the proposal and were “sharply divided” in their opinions. What a shock.

The thought was to install a tiny Michael exiting a limousine by Miniland’s Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Diminutive paparazzi and fans, desperate to get peek of Lego-Jacko, would add to the display’s charm and verisimilitude.

Assuming that troublesome “legal issues” are resolved, here are some additional suggestions the park’s creative team might consider:

Construct an entire Miniland suburb devoted to various periods in MJ’s career. One spot could focus on little Michael and the Jackson Five. Then there would be a patch of land dedicated to the entertainer’s distinctive crotch-grabbing choreography—a position more easily Legoized than an animated Moonwalk.

A third bit of soil could provide mini-portraits of Jackson’s surgical reincarnations—perhaps with a hands-on mix-and-match computer where young patrons are given the opportunity to create their own favorite look from various facial components and tints.

Of course no tribute to Michael would be complete without a Neverland presentation that includes a scene where the Gloved One is engaging in an activity he repeatedly said was perfectly ok in an interview with Martin Bashir—sharing his bed with a child.

Another Wacko-Jacko section could portray the King of Pop in court in jammies, MJ with his surrogate breeders and motherless kids, MJ dangling his infant child over a balcony rail, and Michael paying several million Lego-dollars to an abuse accuser who never went to court. That set of visuals should attract a lot of attention from inquiring tiny-tot minds.

Obviously these “suggestions” take the recent idol-worshiping coverage of Jackson to its morally absurd conclusion. But given the debased “Family Guy” and “Two and a Half Men” fare that appears daily on the boob tube, the aforementioned “pushing the envelope” scenarios might not be so far-fetched.

Admittedly, Jackson was dealt a bad hand with a professionalized childhood engineered by an overbearing father. But on the other side of this lottery-of-life coin, Michael had talent and wealth that’s granted to precious few. To honor even a four-inch MJ in a park for kids puts a tacit seal of approval on the whole tawdry package.

The philosopher Alfred North Whitehead once said, “Moral education is impossible without the habitual vision of greatness.” In recent decades visions of moral greatness have seldom been emphasized by popular media that routinely prostitute themselves for the sake of money and celebrity. A theme park dedicated to the dreams of kids should set a higher standard.

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