Thursday, December 08, 2011

#290: Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough

Clint Eastwood once famously said that dying ain't much a living, but profiting off the dead certainly is a great living.  Dying isn't cheap these days and funerals certainly add to the cost.  Gone are the days when you could take a body of a loved one, find a nice, secluded spot and dig your own hole to bury them.  Hell, back then it didn't matter if they weren't all that dead.  Or you could go gathering wood and build your own Viking Funeral Pyre and smoke up the neighbourhood.  Or you could shove the body under a few twigs in a forest.  Or, if you lived in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, you used oversized pizza ovens and waited for the likes of David Irving to say you didn't.  All very economical and mostly effective, but unless you're a psychopathic serial killer, a nutbag or a gangster in a Martin Scorcese movie, when someone pops off you have to go down the proper channels, getting death certificates and the like, and you can't just throw the body off the local jetty or plant it near the azaleas.

It gets more expensive when you're rich, famous or simply notorious and want to have a massive memorial service.  it helps if you're royalty or have done something like kill a lot of people in a war because then the Government (tax payer) will foot the bill and you'll end up on the idiot box and hopefully a half day holiday will be declared.  But if you're merely Michael Jackson then someone has to pick up the bill, and what a bill it is!! According to the never reliable Wikipedia site, Jackson's funeral contained the following elements: A public memorial service held on July 7, 2009 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, preceded by a private family service at Forest Lawn Memorial Park's Hall of Liberty in Hollywood Hills, and followed by a gathering in Beverly Hills for Jackson's family and close friends. Jackson was planted in a solid-bronze casket, plated with 14-karat gold and lined with blue velvet, which arrived just before 10:00 a.m. local time, when it was placed in front of the stage. The stage was filled with floral arrangements, with photographs and film of Jackson and the Jackson 5 projected onto screens at the back. Music and video montages traced his life from the beginning of his career to the end.

Not too shabby.  And the total cost?  Just over 1.8 million dollars, which was on top of the 1.4 million that the City of Los Angeles had to fork out in extra police, traffic control and cleaning up the garbage that the fans left behind - who paid that?  Well if you're paying fines or rates in Los Los Angeles right now then you're paying it.  Now you'd be forgiven for thinking that the Jackson Estate were a bit peeved at this, but I expect that they were more peeved at losing the estimated $100,000,000 that Jackson was expected to pocket if he'd completed his massively hyped O2 concerts.   That's getting your priorities right.

Perhaps Jackson should have invested in the Insuranceline Funeral Plan, which have commercials on the idiot box here in Australia every second minute.  After all they pay out quickly, although I'm expecting that it'd have cost him more than $3.88 a fortnight and they might have baulked at the solid brass coffin - they might have suggested the cardboard option and a simple funeral, with the Beatles singing Help over his grave...
They just saw the bill...

1 comment:

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