Michael Jackson Thoughts

Michael Jackson

As everyone knows, Michael Jackson died last Friday from heart complications in LA.  While i wasn’t shocked by his death, I was amazed by the reaction both by people and the media.  Some of my thoughts:

  1. First off, while it’s nice to see such happy thoughts and words coming out of the media and blogosphere, i can’t believe how everyone has sort of forgotten about the past 15 years of Michael Jackson. I mean, multiple child molestation charges with 13-year old boys.  Whatever the cause of the guilt, do you know anyone who would leave their 12 year old with him alone?
  2. Some Good Articles: There is a great recount of all those stories listed here in Vantity Fair and Ebert has posted a great article that weighs both his greatness and his fragility in a good article here called “The Boy Who Never Gave Up
  3. Thinking about his legacy, he’s definitely one of the best performers of all time – his dancing and on-stage presence seems unparalleled.
  4. While Elvis brought in Rock n’ Roll, i feel that Michael Jackson brought in pop music.  He came to define the 80’s style while adding more production value to music.  To me, he invented the genre “pop”
  5. It’s interesting to see how people react once someone dies.  The immediately become forgiven and can easily take on legendary status.  While that’s ok, i wish more people who feel this way while the artist is alive.  Two months ago nobody was saying how influential MJ was. Then hie dies and everyone in the world starts blabbing off about how influential and transformative he was.  Was he awesome? Yes.  But why didn’t people post how awesome he was before? The same thing happened with Kurt Kobain, Johnny Cash, Elvis and others.  As Chuck Klosterman says (who is an expert on his subject having written Killing Yourself To Live), “You’ll hear nobody stating how influential Boy George is, but the minute he dies it’ll come out with how he was able to break down the gender barriers before anyone else”  And he’s right.  In death, people are no longer people, they become symbols.

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6 thoughts on “Michael Jackson Thoughts
  1. Almost anyone. Just from recent examples, Farrah was on *one* season of Charlie’s Angels and in that one poster – do you honestly remember anything else? And were those things all that influential? Did his death really warrant “top 10 Tonight Show moments” posts for Ed McMahon? And why no mention of Publisher’s Clearing House?

  2. Love the Klosterman reference… his other great quote on the topic: “Unless you’re Shannon Hoon (of Blind Melon), dying is the only thing that guarantees a rock star will have a legacy that stretches beyond temporary relevance”

  3. I think it makes the point that celebrities, in the eyes of the public, aren’t really people. They’re more like gods (think Roman and Greek gods with their super powers and their vulnerabilities), who are exploited by the media (or vice versa). But when they die, it’s mass media that benefits. Michael Jackson’s death is a boon to the media industry. Think of all the magazine covers he is on right now and how much that sells. Another thing that Michael Jackson’s death does, is make us all older – and that’s what we’re really mourning. Few of us really new the real Michael. But we all grew up with his music in the 80s and now that he’s dead, his songs are playing all the time, and that rekindles old memories and emotions – and highlights just how old we are and how long ago that was (if you’re a Gen Xer like me). As for Klosterman, his views are rendered irrelevant based on his warped North Dakotan view on soccer.

  4. Interesting comments about Michael Jackson. I just want to add how sad Jackson’s sudden death is. He was truly original and will be the ‘King of Pop’ for a long time to come.

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