I’ve been a fan of Michael Jackson’s music for as long as I can remember. The music, mind you. I’ve never really been able to make my mind up about him as an individual, but since I never met the man, I suppose that’s logical. (Side note: I always do my best not to confuse a person’s public persona (in movies, music, writing, etc.) with their actual personality. I can think a person is a total slimeball in real life, but still have no trouble respecting the work he or she produces. Likewise, I can adore someone, but have little regard for their art.) And so it’s as an MJ music fan that I’m really sad right now. From the Jackson 5 to some of his latest works, I almost always liked something about every album he released, and I was really holding out hope that his latest comeback tour would pan out and give the world back the performer it had lost somewhere in the mid to late nineties. Unfortunately, now that chance is gone.
At the same time, I can’t help being really angry at the media. The same media who gleefully tore down Michael Jackson as often as it could, poking at his personal life, finances and fiascoes, is now stumbling over each other in a race to see who can say the most nice things about the man. Sure, there’s a mention now and then of his past troubles (the media just can’t resist), but for the most part, it’s now all about what a great artist he always was, and how the world has been robbed of him too soon. You know what, media? You can’t have it both ways. This reminds me a lot of what the media did when John Ritter died. The man had received no attention whatsoever, then suddenly all we read about for days was what a loss his death was. To me, it’s all nothing more than a blatant grab for readers, and it leaves me with a slightly oily feeling.
I much prefer the many blog tributes that have popped up, as people take time to remember what his music did for them. Much more personal and meaningful.
For me, Michael was all about cool dance moves that I had no chance of every imitating, cool music that I liked to listen to (and even try moon-walking to now and then–unsuccessfully), clothes I would never think about wearing, and cool videos that became more and more bizarre over the years, usually accented with random crotch grabs that I did my best to overlook. (Seriously–what was up with those?) Little Christmas Tree is one of my favorite Christmas songs. You are Not Alone randomly gets stuck in my head for days at a time, and I have no idea how it gets there.
In any case, so long Michael. And thanks for all the fish.