At the risk of being called a “hater” and inflaming a lot of people, I would like to formally come out and opine that I will not be mourning the loss of the self-anointed King of Pop, Michael Jackson.
Sure, when anyone dies, it’s a tragedy. The snuffing out of a life by whatever means is sad. Death is the reminder that our human existence is a tenuous thing. Here today, gone tomorrow. (I need people to die. When someone passes away, I am energized into working on my novel, simply because I don’t want to leave it half finished. I use death as a kick in the pants and as a tool to curb procrastination and to improve time management.)
MJ is everywhere: not just on TV, where every scintilla of information leaking out of California is probed and dissected, but on the local Detroit news and in the papers. Since Jackson’s passing, throngs have come out to the original Motown site to lay flowers and mementos, and there have been much teeth-gnashing and tears.
My tolerance for television is next to nothing. I turned down the TV (hubby in the room watching golf) and started reading Atlas Shrugged. Again.
So why do people care?
Michael Jackson was young. So what? Young people die every day, as do old people and those in between. The human condition says we want our graduations, our first jobs, our first home, children, success, and retirement, but not many look past that to the ultimate demise. It’s the one part of the human experience that no one wants to stare dead (no pun intended) in the face.
Michael Jackson was talented. Yes, so true. He was in control of dance moves that defied the law of gravity, and penned many great songs, although not much has come out of his camp in the last few years. Lots of other people are also talented, artists who aren’t privy to the lucky break or who don’t have (alleged) abusive stage dads in the background.
Michael Jackson was the poor child star. Here I have little sympathy, even though many child stars succumb to the pressures of stardom. Danny Bonaduce, Macaulay Culkin, the Facts of Life kids, the list goes on and on and on. However, others come out amazingly unscathed by an overdose of excess and attention. Could it be that their parents viewed them as children and not as commodities?
For someone who is a minor I can eke out some compassion. It ends when the “child” star gains the age of majority and makes his or her own choices as an adult. At some point you have to take responsibility for your actions, despite your background.
It is said that Michael Jackson was misinterpreted, mainly about his feelings toward children; that he loved children and thought of himself as the ultimate Peter Pan, the man who never wanted to grow up. Oh, puh-leeze. The man paid one child $20 million to avoid a trial, and was arrested and tried for child abuse of another, only to be acquitted by a jury of star-struck peers. (Is there such a thing as a “peer” of Michael Jackson? Wouldn’t that be a scary thought? And to find twelve of them in one jurisdiction? Yikes.) He admitted in a documentary to sleeping with other people’s little boys in his bed and saw nothing wrong with the concept.
Does no one remember that just a few short years ago people were referring to him as “Wacko Jacko?” I guess it’s normal among superstars to construct multi-million dollar amusement parks in the backyard, endeavor to buy the Elephant Man’s bones, and dangle babies from a hotel balcony. It's normal to have billionaire tastes on a millionaire budget. When one is rich and famous, it’s okay to defer to common sense to satisfy addictions to plastic surgery and drugs.
To hear the father, Joe Jackson, tell the media that he wanted his son to be remembered as a superstar was unsettling. If my child died of an untimely early demise, I’d want the world to know what a fine young man he was.
Accolades for a strange man who happened to be a damned good entertainer are one thing, but the final straw came when I caught a snippet of someone attributing the fact that Barack Obama is now President of the United States to Michael Jackson paving the way for a black man.
I’m sure Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. are turning tandem somersaults in their graves.
There are three people I do feel sorry for: Michael Jackson’s children. Through no fault of their own, they were born into a perverted sideshow, a world that has no resemblance to reality. It’s going to take a mighty strong constitution to overcome a legacy like that.