Tag Archives: Michael Jackson

The Michael Jackson publicity stunt

Look, I don’t want to make it seem like I’m anti-fun or something, because I really do enjoy it when people just go out and do something silly, if only for a few minutes.

But when you have an event involving a professional dance troupe that you’ve publicized to the media, when you have dozens of journalists present, when police and a government minister are taking part, can you really call that a “flash mob“? If so, the term has lost all meaning and should cease to be used.

No wonder groups so associated with the term, like Improv Everywhere and Newmindspace, have rejected it. I think it’s time we all follow their lead if it’s going to be commercialized like this.

Call it a publicity stunt, call it a public performance, call it street art, but don’t call it a flash mob.

UPDATE (July 30): Similar thoughts from Patrick Dion, Jean-Philippe Rousseau and Le D├ętesteur, plus a defence from a participant.


CTV is planning two hours of coverage of the Michael Jackson memorial service Tuesday afternoon, cutting out regular daytime programming. That’s nothing compared to the hours upon hours of coverage planned for CTV News Channel, MuchMusic, CP24 and other CTV-owned networks.

Could you imagine such a thing being done for a Canadian celebrity? It certainly wasn’t done for Romeo Leblanc, a former governor general. Or this kind of special-event programming on any kind of local level? Except for elections, local stations haven’t cut into programming since the Dawson shootings in 2006.