Where were you on Thursday, June 25th when you heard the news Michael Jackson had passed away?
I’ve never been a Michael Jackson fan per say, but songs like I’ll Be There or ABC bring a smile to my face. I love Ben, who the heck cares that it’s about a rat? During a recent move I came across the album Off the Wall, too bad I don’t have a record player anymore.
As expected, the death of Jackson has dominated the news the last few days. Many people are crying hypocrisy, after all many of the same media folks singing MJ’s praises are the same ones who referred to him as Wacko Jacko when he was alive. It is strange given in the last decade, very few would outwardly admit to being a fan of Michael, but clearly the majority of people now want to reminisce and pay homage.
I think his death has given us a permission of sorts to remember and mourn the Michael Jackson we grew up with. He was such a cute boy and handsome young man, but somehow couldn’t see the same man in the mirror most of us saw. It is sad that Michael may not have realized how admired he was for his musical prowess, but given his penchant for strange and unpredictible behavior in the last couple of decades, it’s understandable why few were willing to risk their own reputations by speaking out on his behalf. His passing allows us to concentrate on the musical genius Michael was and to pay tribute to his accomplishments that have paved the road and opened doors that will effect untold generations to come.
It didn’t take long for shock and denial to be replaced by lots of questions as to how he died. Some folks think out of respect for Michael this isn’t the time to raise those questions. Others say it’s tabloid journalism.
The continuous news cycle on MJ’s death is more than just the tabloids. Many of us found out through social networking like Facebook and Twitter, and then went for confirmation to TMZ’s website, which may be tabloid, but they were first to call it. CNN, FNC and MSNBC had nearly wall-to-wall coverage for 24 hours.
No matter what his personal demons may have been, it just seems right to acknowledge and recognize Michael’s contributions to music and entertainment. How ironic that he himself was never able to really grasp his own worth. His eccentricities & cause of death will fade, just as it has with Elvis.
Few will truly be surprised to learn if Michael did indeed die of a prescription drug cocktail gone wrong. In many ways we’ve grown apathetic to this problem. But the suspicious availabilty of Rx’s is just one horrible symptom of a much larger over-all problem, the cause and effect of our society’s obsession with celebrity. Michael Jackson’s entire life is one sad lesson about the downside of fame.
We’ll never really have answers to so many questions surrounding his life, but the best insight into Michael Jackson comes from himself in this line from a piece he wrote, “…while singing and dancing were, and undoubtedly remain, some of my greatest joys, at that time what I wanted more than anything else were the two things that make childhood the most wondrous years of life, namely, playtime and a feeling of freedom…”
In the after-life, I hope Michael has somehow been restored and has finally found the peace he never had in this world.
I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make that change