The Obligatory Two Thoughts About Michael Jackson

1.  Dude was fucked up.  From the time he was little and his dad beat the shit out of him and everyone stood back and let it happen because they didn’t want to lose their meal ticket straight on through.  So, I don’t know what to make of his music, you know.  I’d like to see it as something apart from his suffering and the suffering he allegedly inflicted on others, but I don’t know if I can, because I don’t know if that was something he did that let him transcend his humanity or if it was just what he did because it was what he did.  I don’t feel sorry or unsorry that he’s dead.  I feel weird that his whole life was about the public consumption of him and so is his death.  It feels like the polite thing to do is to just look away, to let there be some moment when he’s not a public spectacle.

2. I remember, though, when Thriller came out, because I had heart-shaped Michael Jackson earrings, which I wore every day until my ear got infected and I had to have my mom help me get the earring out.  And I remember some of the parents were concerned about all the young girls wearing t-shirts with him on it and I couldn’t understand why.  My dad said, “Because he’s black and they’re white girls.”

I was eight.  We were all only eight.

14 thoughts on “The Obligatory Two Thoughts About Michael Jackson

  1. Our minor-league team had fireworks after the game, all done to a Michael Jackson soundtrack…ending with “I Want You Back.” Not a dry eye in the place.

  2. I don’t know why everyone else is sad or whatever about this, but I know why I am.

    I remember clearly, being in 2nd grade – I had the biggest crush on my neighbor, the preacher’s kid, two doors down. We played each afternoon. One day, the day Thriller came out, the kid said “have you heard Thriller?!?!?” And I said “no…” — it was like I didn’t have the password to a secret club. I immediately went out and got “Thriller” – I still have the cassette tape sitting here in the house. The tape is long worn out. But I kept it for some reason… I guess because it represents a long gone part of my childhood.

    Michael Jackson will always be a part of the soundtrack of my life, specifically from that era. Did he behave in suspect ways? Sure. But for the 8 year old girl in me who got much joy from singing “Wanna Be Starting Something” and “Beat It” — she mourns.

  3. Those of us who are older are mourning for the kid we first saw. He had fun. And his fun was infectious — he was open to people in both senses: he shared his feelings with the audience, and he took back from us. Then we watched the wall go up, even before Thriller, and then we started to hear rumors of strange things going on behind that wall. And then we started to find out what they were. But the overwhelming talent was there from the first. And that happy kid — damn, what a sad life he turned out to have.

  4. I remember some of the parents were concerned about all the young girls wearing t-shirts with him on it and I couldn’t understand why. My dad said, “Because he’s black and they’re white girls.”

    Everyone should know and recall that before Michael Jackson, MTV did not show videos by black artists. “Billie Jean” was the first.

  5. He was an astonishing talent. as a child he had an amazing voice that never got much deeper as he aged.. i was never really sure if he was a predator or a child who never wanted to grow up – out of feal he’d be like his father.

  6. Sometimes that it seems the price one pays for phenomenal talent is a tormented life, I think. When we got home last night, I heard TheBoyfriend™, who was checking facebook, remarked “Michael Jackson is dead?” and I have to admit my initial reaction (besides “WHAT!?!?!?!”) was to ask if he had committed suicide.

    I’m just a hair after MJ’s prime (Thriller was released the same year I was born), but man, I don’t think anybody could fail to recognize MJ’s amazing talent.

  7. I was trying not to succumb to writing a post about this, but then when I remembered that my mom is saving them in hard copy for my neices and nephews (it’s her way of dealing with her mortality…one of her offspring memorialsing life as it is now) I figured I Owed It To Posterity or some other stuffy reason.

    So I wrote a post. It’s a slightly different direction but the one line that sums up my feelings on this whole thing is:

    I’m not crying for Michael Jackson. If I had decided to get it into my mind to cry for him I would have started around 1991 and never stopped.

  8. Sometimes, after the death of someone famous, I like to write a little haiku to honor and remember them.

    Michael inspired me.

    Jesus juice in hand
    Where are all the little boys
    Damn its hot in here

  9. Ok, one more and I will go back to listening to Thriller.

    I head this at the Arcade a little while ago.

    “When Farrah Fawcett died

    She was such a nice person that when God met her at the Pearly Gates, he asked her what he could do?

    Farrah said that she wanted to make the World a safer place for children

    So God killed Michael Jackson…”

    – Random Guy Eating Pizza

  10. I was 23 when *Thriller* was released. My friends and I couldn’t get enough of it.

    I’m 50 and so was Michael Jackson.

    I feel so sad …

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