On Michael Jackson

posted by Jeff | Friday, June 26, 2009, 12:16 AM | comments: 1

I've been trying to process the Michael Jackson death story today, and I'm fascinated by the reaction. The fact that he's dead, honestly, isn't something I feel anything about. He hasn't been relevant in music in 15 years or more. He's been a tabloid side show.

The public fully embraced him in the mid 80's, and chalked up his eccentricities to growing up famous. Even in the years after that, I thought he was mostly getting a raw deal from critics and the press. His talent was certainly at the center of his popularity.

I think most people want to remember him as one of the best entertainers in history. I think it can be argued that he is.

However, I can only be sympathetic to his weirdness to a certain degree. I've met a lot of celebrities, and even the minor leaguers have strange lives that put them in messed up situations daily. But there comes a point when your own personal decisions reflect on you beyond your circumstances. Michael Jackson played the shy card but at the same time couldn't achieve enough. A statue of yourself on an album cover is messed up. Then there was the constant surgeries, a backyard theme park, inviting kids over to hang out... there comes a point where the departure from reality is the result of bad choices, not external pressures.

Culturally, the world over was interested in the freak show life of the man for the last decade, and now that he's gone, the focus seems to quickly shift to his achievements as an entertainer. He was a real human being, after all, and one that contributed more to the world than most ever will.

For me though, I can't say I care very much. I can't sympathize with 20-year-old girls crying on TV (who are barely old enough to remember when he was a bona fide star). We watched the world put him on a pedestal, tear him down and now, celebrate his life, or at least the good parts. It's a shame that his life played out more as tragedy than triumph.

Oh, and I'm kind of bothered the way the Farrah Fawcett story basically just disappeared, and I'm probably a year or two too young to really appreciate her fame. And don't even get me started on how the Intertubes "killed" Jeff Goldblum today. That's a topic for another post.



June 26, 2009, 12:40 AM #

Yeah, I'd say my thoughts and feelings have also been all over the map this evening for lots of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with these losses, but rather other recent ones. But the thing about Michael Jackson is that while everyone seems appropriately to be taking time to celebrate his achievements now, I suspect in the coming week or more the tide will turn again.

I don't think it will be long before the tabloids are back at it telling tales and spreading rumors about his death and such. Our culture is weird like that.

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