watch out, theres a black man behind youOur correspondent gathers his wits and puts together something like a real piece of reporting. . . not that we'd know what that looks like. . .

    Nothing gathers a crowd like a crowd so I had to share in the fun of watching America's favorite indicted child molester (and the unrequited love interest of strange, aimless German women everywhere) try to salvage his reputation/dignity/whatever by appearing at that place known for its reputation and dignity: Congress.

    Walking down the hall of Rayburn toward the Gloved One's melee, I found myself in a curious position -- on the police side, not the mob-of-interns side of the melee. No sooner had I arrived had he left the Representative's office to head down the hall. As I approached the confluence of two corridors, I found myself face to face with the Gloved One's entourage. There he was, in all of his paleness: black suit, red armband, and silver lamee boots.

    The Gloved One's entourage is a chaotic storm of confusion and unease -- it lacks the dignity of other star entourages who sweep down corridors, exhibiting confidence and projecting power. Everyone in the Gloved One's group -- bodyguards, handlers, apologists -- all look haggered and confused, but the haggardness and confusion looks self imposed. The group looks like it could use an adult to whack it upside the head, to tell everyone to straighten up, settle down, and then the whole damn pack wouldn't look so silly.

    Anyway. The entouage walked right past me and I spin round, put on my official face, and join in the fun. Two cops closed in behind us to separate the dozen or so cameramen and there I was, walking two paces behind Michael, well within the bubble.

    No one speaks to the Gloved One has he sweeps down the hall. A bodyguard put his hand over a still photog who caught up to the group. A reporter jostled to get a few questions in. All the while, the Gloved One tries to shield himself from the confusion of it all, but the confusion is his own creation.

    He's trying to hide from crowds that just aren't there. The jostling and the shoving are caused by all of his own people, not fans, not screaming admirers, his own folks. Most stars exude confidence, the Gloved One just looks scared.

    His shoulders are broader than I pictured. The Gloved One is a little taller, a little fitter than you'd expect.

    The Gloved One's personal videographer was there to film it all, recording the simple walk down the hall -- I wondered what he does with all that footage. Is it for posterity? To claim innocence? To force innocence?

    We approached the waiting elevator and I tried to get in with him but his guards had filled the entire car. A reporter asked the Gloved One where he was going this evening -- he was genuinely confused at the question. He stuttered out a half response, about "going", and then put on his sunglasses.

    I headed out of the Horseshoe entrance of Rayburn and walked down to C street toward home, satisified with my run in. Looking east I could still see a crowd around a pair of black Chevy Suburbans (Enterprise Rental car) and was surprised to see he hadn't left yet.

    I approached and a single bodyguard tried to keep folks at bay, but this isn't the President, it's just the Gloved One -- the cops don't care if I walk up to the truck and the rent-a-cop guard can't stop me, so I sauntered up and looked right in, staring eye to eye with the Gloved One. He still looked scared, though a little less haggard in the relative safety of his rental SUV.

    I stared for a moment more and he waved a little wave. The convoy then, haltingly, amateurishly, pulled out and drove away, into the night.

Michael Jackson visits Capitol Hill [CNN]


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