Goodbye Michael, The Pain is Over

I probably shouldn’t have been, but I confess I was shocked when I learned of Michael Jackson’s death.  What has shocked me more, however, is the massive amount of media attention it received and continues to receive.  Even today, the NY Times online had two, if not more, Michael Jackson stories on the front page.

One of those was an interactive one…choose your favorite MJ song out of the eight choices given, and tell us why.  Picking a favorite MJ song is like me trying to name the top ten books ever written.  The real answer is, “whichever one I’m hearing now”.  You can tell I’m right by the comments, which included a lot of “Why didn’t you include (pick a title)”?  But it just so happens I’d been thinking about that already, and my favorite was one of the eight. 

I’ve always thought of Michael Jackson as the perpetual Little Boy Lost.  As he got older, he just became sadder, more pathetic, and more bizarre.  He had no frame of reference about what it meant to be a kid, and therefore how to act as an adult.  He’s like a figure in a Greek tragedy, so what I’m not surprised about is that his life ended so soon.  Can you picture a Michael Jackson at 70 years old?  Being a mentor?  An elder statesman of music, so to speak?  Like his own mentors Berry Gordy or Quincy Jones? 

It seems to me that his escalating weirdness, and his inability to grasp reality made him the saddest person in the world.  He so wanted to be happy, and to make others happy, but he had absolutely no idea how to do either one.  It’s my theory that that’s the source of our continued sadness about his death.  We all so wanted him to be happy too, but we kind of had a clue that would never happen.  That chance is lost now.  But truthfully, that chance was probably lost about 45 years ago. 

So here’s my favorite.  It’s my favorite because I think it says who Michael Jackson wanted to be and couldn’t, because his head was full of snakes.   

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8 responses to “Goodbye Michael, The Pain is Over

  1. Addendum: There is a line in this song that says, “I’ve been a victim of…a selfish kind of love”. Intended or not, I think this was exactly the issue with Michael Jackson. His father valued him only for his talent and money-making potential. It goes a long way toward explaining why he could never get to being an adult: he was always supposed to be that amazing, littlest kid with the high voice and the amazing moves singing “ABC”. If he couldn’t stay that kid, he was nothing. But he tried.
    There are also so many symbolic things in this video…the older male backup singer lifting Michael up from the floor. The “good” father. And in the end, the choir starts advancing on Michael, which can either be seen as protective or menacing.

  2. > What has shocked me more, however, is the
    > massive amount of media attention it received > and continues to receive

    > he just became sadder, more pathetic, and
    > more bizarre.

    You’re quite right on both observations.

    Otherwise, I’m not a bit upset over MJ’s death. I never cared for him. I don’t agree he was the King of Pop, except perhaps from a purely sales standpoint. I’d put Paul McCartney forth for being a better pop “artist” than MJ.

    But hey, to each their own!

  3. Oh my, Anarchist. I loved Michael Jackson back in the day. I must have listened to the Thriller and Bad albums 100,000 times each. I’m surprised you didn’t care for him, since you were such a disco fan.

  4. Snakes in his head? Does that mean anything or are you just saying that he was crazy?

  5. “His father valued him only for his talent and money-making potential”

    How do you substantiate that statement?

  6. Not crazy per se, but totally emotionally warped. And now, don’t go all ptfan1 on me and make me start substantiating stuff. Just various things I’ve read throughout the years, but since I can’t recall a particular source, I’ll withdraw the statement.

  7. Well you know how you New York Time’s liberals play loosely with the facts… lol

  8. Speaking of the NY Times….this is the most powerful Bob Herbert op-ed I’ve seen in some time, maybe ever. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/04/opinion/04herbert.html?ref=opinion

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