I was just sitting there, enjoyin my afternoon coffee along with the Michael Jackson funeral, when it all came crashin down for me.
Readers outside the Petrochemical Underarm of Texas might not know the reputation of US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee for showing up at any and all funerals in her Houston congressional district, but trust us, it's been well-documented, most particularly by The Houston Press.
And then we and others annually take potshots at her for her camera-hogging appearances at State of the Union addresses and other media-heavy events where she always seems front and center when the cameras pan those crowding around the president. Even some of the national cable TV pundits make note of this, so don't say we're exaggeratin.
So I should have anticipated her appearance and subsequent speech at MJ's funeral, but I didn't. I just kept repeating, "I can't believe this. I can't believe this ... "
And then I muttered that some more when she gave MJ a John Kerry-style salute (see above photo.)
Some of my of-the-moment Twitter reactions went like this (presented here in chronological order):
--oh my god
--Sheila of the Fightin' 18th we saaaa-loot yooo! How you manage to do what you do is beyond us.
--this is the 5,345th funeral attended by US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. Believed to be a Guinness record for non-clergy persons
--the show must go on, and it will, either in London, Vegas, Broadway, Tokyo, somewhere ... it's a lock
(What? You're not on Twitter? If you're not on Twitter, you're not a playa baby...)
Alright, so the congresslady did have a "news hook" as they say in the news business. She has introduced a bill in the US House of Representatives honoring MJ.
The Houston Press blog Hairballs has some of the particulars, as does The Hill's Briefing Room blog, which noted the bill has been referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, WTF and LOL as we say on Twitter.
Of course, Jackson Lee's House bill and funeral speech, aside from her own self-aggrandizing political reasons, is a response to the comments of Republican House member Peter King of New York, who whined impertinently (in a video!) that MJ was a pervert and a low-life and shouldn't be lionized.
So, in the context of MJ's past legal travails, the Houston congressman's funeral speech, in which she noted all of us Americans are assured by the Constitution to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, is a relevant fact that should not be ignored.
To that we'll add that when a jury returns a "not guilty" verdict, it doesn't mean you're innocent; it means you're not guilty cause the government can't prove it.
And that's the way it should be. Can I get a witness?
(No idea, of course, what the truth is regarding MJ, but that's how we settle thing here in this great land -- in a courtroom, hopefully one in which the judge manages to stay awake and all the attorneys are zealous, certified and well-trained advocates.)
As for the non-Sheila parts of the funeral, Stevie Wonder was really good and Brooke Shield's remarks seemed most genuine. I was also glad John Mayer didn't sing and just played the electric guitar in an understated manner. And it was sad when MJ's daughter spoke.
Coulda done without Sheila, though. Sorry, Congresslady. See ya at the next State of the Union address.
update: 5:29 p.m.
Hairballs has tapped into a rich vein of Sheila reaction, both pro and con:
handymankyle: Sheila Jackson Lee compared MJ to people in the bible then said they work with all faiths, and then She called MJ the KING... Retard!!
georgejbrown: finally tweetin bout Sheila "Jackson" Lee ! How & who let her speak! that women is everywhere!
j_andersen: Sheila Jackson Lee says she "grew up with" MJ. First Jackson 5 single: Dec. 1969. Lee born: 1950. "Grew up" indeed! (via @jstrevino)
Dave2112: Sheila Jackson Lee is a political whore of the worst kind.
TweepTheLeg: RT @taylorich My congresswoman at work. Sheila Jackson Lee at MJ's Memorial. Think you could do something about the potholes on our road?
SLGreenJr: I need to recant statements earlier.. Sheila Jackson Lee.. did her thang at the funeral!.. Exactly what was needed for that occasion!
SungSings: BTW, Sheila Jackson Lee is an amazing speaker. behere_now:
RT @Chrystan_ i never thought i would see the day that Sheila Jackson Lee would be a trending topic on twitter......HTOWN BABY! lmao!
natalierose: Sheila Jackson Lee was brilliant! She showed the haters what time it is! littlesayings:
@KatieJarl WOW! Somebody who shares my sentiments. Sheila Jackson Lee spoke very eloquently! I don't know about the Bill, but YOU GO GIRL!!