Michael Jackson Comments

I don’t really want to write about this, but a few things have come to mind over the weekend, and for what it’s worth, here they are.  Behold, the cathartic power of writing:

  • Michael Jackson was not that great of a musician.  Sure, he had some great songs, but most well known artists have some great songs.  His music was innovative and formative of the 80’s era, but let’s remember we’re lionizing someone who hadn’t written anything memorable in nearly 20 years, only released a few albums over a very long career, and never truly realized his potential.  In terms of both musical quality and actual cultural impact (as opposed to perceived cultural impact), tons of acts–from Lionel Richie to Madonna to U2–are far more important, and that’s just from the 80’s.   The best thing we can really say of Jackson’s talent is to remark that he was an amazing dancer–it was often angry and sometimes disturbing, but his skill there is undeniable.
  • I remember when “Black or White” came out, some people accused him of ripping off INXS’s “New Sensation.”  I bought it at the time, but that was dumb.  The resemblance is superficial–certainly not amounting to the kind of sampling that irritates us all.  MJ may not have been perfect, but he sure didn’t need to steal ideas from Australian pop bands.
  • His guest stint as the voice of a Michael Jackson wannabe on The Simpsons–yes, that was really him–was truly cool.  If I remember him well, it’ll be for that.  That and letting Weird Al parody a couple of his songs (Prince famously told him no).
  • I don’t know if he ever molested any children, but it’s likewise undeniable that he put them in positions that did bother and scare them.  He may have loved them, but his clueless self-obsessive behavior hurt others.  It’s hard not to ignore that.  During the recent NBA finals, I couldn’t appreciate Kobe Bryant’s awe-inspiring performances because I couldn’t stop thinking, “You know, that guy who just made that incredible shot is probably a rapist.”  Same thing here. 
  • How much does it suck to be the ghost of Farrah Fawcett right now?  Her untimely death (genuinely untimely, not one brought on by years of voluntary prescription drug abuse) got about five minutes of headline time before MJ took over and the world went into full time worship mode.  Her inspiring, dignified battle with cancer?  Might as well have never happened.  Remember when Mother Teresa and Princess Diana died within a week of each other in 1997?  Remember which one got a hundred times more coverage?  Did we learn nothing?  Even worse, it’s unlikely that the passing of TV pitchman Billy Mays will unseat Jackson any time soon.
  • If MJ hadn’t died, how would we all feel about him today?  I’m not saying that we need to go out of our way to disrespect the dead, but honoring him now is just dishonest.  The world is full of real heroes who have recently died, and many more who still struggle on.  Let’s spend some time on them, and less on trivial pop culture trends, OK?

5 comments on “Michael Jackson Comments

  1. My own feeling on both Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson is that they’re both better off having passed. She’s out of her physical pain, and he’s out of a world he apparently couldn’t cope with.

    The Billy Mays thing appears to be similar to my DFIL’s passing (head injury, fine at the time, died within days. DFIL had intracranial bleeding, I suspect Mays will too), so feels worse to me coming six months after DFIL (too young at 74), and with a younger victim.

  2. Michael Jackson was a fantastic entertainer. He was an abused child which resulted in a HUGE self image/esteem problem. I really believe he never molested little boys. While his intentions were innocent, he put himself in jeopardy. I think it is typical that eulogies and memorials tend to focus on and over state one’s goodness, and Michael Jackson was no exception. I watched some of his service, and his family is truly hurting. And some took advantage of him at his service to further their own political opinions.

    Farrah Fawcett was indeed upstaged in death. A beautiful woman left this world hardly noticed.

    I hope they all find peace in the spirit world and are able to listen to the true gospel of Jesus Christ without all the noise that is so loud and distracting on our side of the veil.

  3. Dear Michael,
    You were looking at the world through the pure eyes of a child..so innocently.
    You were and are the Peter Pan.
    For you were much misunderstood and misinterpreted by others, who were strangers to the world that you lived in…That broke your heart and … put YOUR health on the edge.
    So sad to see that you were taken for granted while living, although all the controversy was all erased
    when you have moved to the other shore of your life.
    Now everyone realized how great you really were…too late perhaps.
    Thank you for the ULTIMATE gift of YOUR music that has touched so many hearts all over the world.
    Luv ya,
    Joanna

  4. Behunin, good thoughts. You reminded me that when my family and I went to a local Independence Day celebration last week, I was horrified to see a couple selling elaborate, worshipful Michael Jackson memorial t-shirts for outrageous rates on the sidewalk. I hate how tragic events are always quickly turned into communal merchandizing opportunities. We might as well hire professional mourners. Real grief is a more private affair. This circus is just an excuse for a group indulgence in drama. How disrespectful.

    Listening to the radio this afternoon made it clear that this society has now moved well into the stage where wild conspiracy theories and weird rumors of murder or a faked death are everywhere. Sad. What a bunch of fragile, desperate little children we are.

    Joanna, sorry to burst your bubble, but I’m not sure what you saw in my post that possibly could have inspired your comment. Sure, your feelings are deep, but are they appropriate, or are your perceptions accurate? Perhaps you should read this.

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