Letters: Michael Jackson, Victoria Cruz

Listeners complain about the coverage of pop icon Michael Jackson, and respond to the story of 17-year old Victoria Cruz and her girlfriend, Deone. Melissa Block and Robert Siegel read from listeners' e-mails.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.


And I'm Robert Siegel.

And we begin with your letters about Friday's program. Many of you wrote in to complain about our coverage of Michael Jackson's death and his legacy.

Ellen Wiley(ph) of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, asks: Et tu, NPR? I thought you would offer a safe refuge from the barrage of Michael Jackson coverage on every other media outlet, but alas, no. How surreal it was to hear Melissa Block start her interview with E.J. Dionne and David Brooks with a request of them to offer their personal recollections of Michael Jackson's music. Surely, they had more important topics to address.

BLOCK: But listener David Pie(ph) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, posted this thought on our comments page: I am certainly not enamored of celebrity culture, and I actively avoid gossip rags and legitimate celebrity news outlets alike. Having said that, it is beyond ridiculous to argue that pop culture does not have a profound and direct impact on Americans.

Pop culture affects sociopolitical points of view, the perception of morality and justice and the place of art as a mirror of culture, just to name a few of the important roles it plays in American lives. And Mr. Pie concludes: When it's thought of in that light, it's hard to see how Michael Jackson's death could garner any less than the amount of coverage it has gotten.

SIEGEL: Finally, several of you wrote to thank us for bringing you the story of 17-year-old Victoria Cruz and her girlfriend, Dione. On the eve of the couple's graduation from high school, Victoria sent us a report about coming to terms with her sexuality and making school history by winning the yearbook entry for best couple.

Ms. VICTORIA CRUZ: When we found out, I was like, aw. Now, there's a picture of us in the yearbook with the best dressed, funniest, most popular and so on, but I'm not getting a yearbook because I'm broke.

SIEGEL: Well, Roger Roe(ph) of Indianapolis was one of several listeners who wanted to chip in and buy Victoria that yearbook. He writes: Hearing her story this afternoon left me with tears streaming down my face. I am so moved to know that young people like her change our world in small but powerful ways every day. She and her girlfriend seem so happy, and it seems almost like a dream to hear how much high school has changed since mine in 1980s Texas. I'm serious about buying her yearbook for her. In fact, I'd love to have a copy myself.

SIEGEL: We always appreciate hearing from you. You can write to us by going to npr.org and clicking on Contact Us at the top of the page.

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