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ISSUE 120 VOL 15 PUBLISHED 3/16/2007

Jackson not worth money

By Alyssa Kleven
Contributing Writer

Friday, March 16, 2007

Some things are the worth the price you pay. When you think about dropping a few grand on something, the items or experiences that might come to mind consist of: a really nice computer, a car, a Hawaiian vacation, or in my case, a really nice Vespa. However, few of us would spend $3,500 to meet someone. To spend that much money meeting someone would mean that they were pretty special. Apparently, Michael Jackson believes he is that special.

Michael Jackson’'s celebrity started in childhood, and since, it’s become increasingly obvious that he still feels as though his superstardom is still rising. After nightmare plastic surgery and the accusations of child molestation and bankruptcy, the pale-faced father of three oddly-named children is now charging $3,500 for a few minutes per fan in Tokyo, Japan.

The market strategy seems simple enough. If people are willing to pay that much, not only to meet a celebrity, but to meet an iconic figure in pop music and possibly mentally ill man, then go for it. The supply should meet the demand.

The event is aptly titled: “"Fan appreciation day with Michael Jackson.”" He was at two events over the last weekend; one at which every fan attendee who paid the hefty $3,500 (approximately 400,000 yen) saw M.J. play a concert, then met and talked with him for up to 60 seconds. One photo could be taken of the fan and M.J., to “"preserve the moment."”

Aside from Michael Jackson’s questionable mental state, I question the mental states of people willing to pay that much to meet a celebrity for 60 seconds, even Michael Jackson. For the average Joe to attend such an event would be a major financial commitment. You could spend that $3,500 on something else, something that might last a long time, especially if you’re so excited to meet Michael Jackson that you cloud your memory and will never be able to reflect on that blissful moment ever again except through the photo you had taken. Not to mention, you could get sick (I doubt the ticket is refundable) or if you do make the show, you might be blinking in the picture you take with Michael Jackson.

If meeting celebrity comes with so many risks, why would we do it for anyone? Michael Jackson is the only one charging a fee to meet his fans. Many famous musicians have a fee for playing at a private party. One of my friends told me, although I’'m fairly sure she was lying, that Norah Jones was scheduled to play my friend’s mom’'s wedding. But aside from my lie-telling friend, it’'s not out of the ordinary. Everyone has their fee. Even celebrities with no talent at all, like Paris Hilton, have set fees for personal appearances.

You might want to put someone down if they’re crazy enough to pay the money to see a celebrity, like Michael Jackson, but maybe you should think twice. There are many other things that you could spend your money on, but really, if meeting Michael Jackson and taking a picture with him (in which you’'re blinking and you’'re visibly sweaty from how nervous you are) makes you happy, follow your dream.

Some of the best things in life, like that feeling of accomplishing the goal of meeting your favorite celebrity, are priceless, but for personal appearances, and for everything else, there’'s MasterCard.

Copy Editor Alyssa Kleven is a senior from Albany, Ore. She majors in English with a concentration in media studies.

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