Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Jackson Mania Continues; World Dictators Breathe Sighs of Relief

TEHRAN, IRAN -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad relaxed happily into an upholstered silk settee at the presidential palace Tuesday as he flicked between CNN and E! coverage of Michael Jackson's death.

"Those Western fools!" he chortled to Mohammad Reza Rahimi Qorveh, Vice President for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, who nodded sycophantically. "I knew if we could just ride it out something would come along to distract them from my rightfully seized election win. I thought that it would be U.S. troops withdrawing from Iraq or Obama's latest date night with a foie gras stuffed burger -- never did I imagine that I'd get such a gift as the death of Michael Jackson."

The much-publicized delay in Twitter's scheduled maintenance has been long forgotten amidst an avalanche of stories about how Jackson's death caused Twitter to crash. Even almighty Google had 35 minutes of sluggishness as millions tried searching for "Michael Jackson," Micheal Jackson," "Michel Jacksin" and other such variations.

After a proliferation of Facebook groups supporting Mir Hossein Mousavi, the reformist candidate who was allegedly defeated by Ahmadinejad in the June 12 presidential election, fickle Facebook users have turned their attention to creating and joining Michael Jackson pages. Over 2.3 million had joined the R.I.P Michael Jackson (We Miss You) page, and over 3 million free Sequined Gloves have been sent as virtual gifts.

After weeks of insomnia, Ahmadinejad said he was finally able to sleep now that images of women marching in green and black hijab have given way to tearful fans wearing fedoras and a single glittery white glove and making awkward attempts at moonwalking.

"Neda?" said Macauley Swift," an agent at Creative Artists Agency who specializes in image crisis management. Swift usually alternates between wearing a yellow Livestrong wristband, a green one to "Save Darfur" and a red one for AIDS awareness and prides himself on his social consciousness. Since Friday night, he has been sporting a sequined cufflet emblazoned with "King of Pop."

"I think that NEDA stands for National Eating Disorders Association. Every year someone goes overboard in trying to lose weight and our HR department makes us give them NEDA paraphernalia," Swift said.

New York Times Editor Bill Keller, meanwhile, dismissed allegations that he had ceased his output of Q-head stories on the Iranian election based on his on-the-ground reporting to return to the United States and helm the Jackson coverage.

"That's nonsense," he said in a phone call Tuesday afternoon. "Just because our Michael Jackson Times Topics page is eight times more popular than our one on Iran doesn’t mean that we’re not devoting adequate coverage to the latter. Roger Cohen is still opining for us from Iran.”

The interview with Keller was interrupted by an unidentified voice asking whether they should have Frank Bruni write a breakout on Michael Jackson’s favorite restaurants or combine it with Mark Bittman’s article on his favorite recipes (chicken quesadillas, cheese potatoes).

Ahmadinejad wasn't the only tyrant jubilant over the massive news coverage of Jackson's demise. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il planned to send a ship loaded with nuclear arms materials to Myanmar on Friday, the day that a public memorial at the Staples Center and Neverland is reportedly planned. "Even if the ship is intercepted, it probably won't even make the evening news," Kim said gleefully to his military adviser.

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