I was trying to think of something funny to write about this story involving a Michael Jackson butter sculpture at the Iowa State Fair, but was having a hard time because the whole story was so "Waiting for Guffman" to begin with. A Michael Jackson statue made out of butter, a 1971 visit from the Jackson Five that would tenuously give the singer a connection to the state, and then, of course, Michael Jackson moonwalking over to Neil Armstrong...all out of butter. It was too much.
But then I realized that by putting "Michael Jackson," "Neil Armstrong" "moonwalk" and "walked on the moon" all in one article, the Times has alluded to one very old, tasteless (but kind of funny, depending on the delivery) Michael Jackson joke. It is VERY tasteless. If you're dying to know what it is, go here, unless you are my parents or someone who thinks like them.
I remember after September 11, there was all this discussion about when, if ever, it would be appropriate to be silly again, to talk about celebrity gossip and things like that, and it seemed as if, unofficially, the Onion (and maybe Saturday Night Live to a lesser extent) broke down the humor barrier. Similarly, I have wondered how long after Michael Jackson's death would we return to Michael Jackson jokes, because, let's face it, there are a million of 'em just waiting, patiently, to be revived. While the Times didn't actually make the Michael Jackson/Neil Armstrong joke, the paper clearly is yearning for them to be set free. I wouldn't expect this from the New York Times but I applaud the gray lady nonetheless. Now let me know if you want to know why Michael Jackson went to K-Mart.