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Friday, June 26, 2009

Beat It

Well, Micheal Jackson is dead. It's a sad day, indeed.

As a Blogger, I'm unofficially obligated to write an entry about this. Most are writing tributes, expressing their shock, fondly reminiscing on the influence the infamous prince of pop had on their lives. The world of Blogging is basically nothing but a long series of obituaries, touching eulogies written by people who never actually said a word to him in his life.

Which is my major problem. Michael Jackson has had virtually no influence on my life. I mean, yes, we used to do jazz warm-ups to "Beat It" and "Thriller" back when I took dance, and I always sort of associate at least "Beat It" with Holly Jane Dance Center's old North Hampton studio. Oh, and I suppose I remember being in a play once where we had a dragon randomly breaking out into a rather out of place rendition of "I'm Bad". Oh, and then there was the time my cousin Miriam tried to do the entire thriller dance at a family party, and the time someone lip-synced to the scary spoken part at a friend's birthday party, and the time I saw a documentary on him when I was little and thought he was a woman...

Yeah ok, I lied. Despite wanting to claim that Michael Jackson had no influence on my life, he clearly did. It was small, it wasn't particularly significant, but it was there, lurking in the tiniest details, forgotten about until he made national news. Again.

But, if I can claim even the tiniest bit of significant influence from him, than can't everyone? Micheal Jackson has, as creepy as it is to think, in some form or another, entered the lives of everyone. And I mean everyone, as CNN is currently telling me. The world is mourning Michael Jackson, it doesn't matter where you're from, who you are, whether or not you've heard of him, whether or not you liked him, you're still mourning him.

He really was everyone's favorite child molester.

It's funny how the news is currently portraying him. He was a bit of a joke up until now. He's gone from this deeply disturbing, hopeless, frightening person, to a "tortured genius" His molestation trials are being glossed over in favor of listing the amount of Grammies he's won. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, I mean, we all know he's a scary child molester, we all watched the trials on TV when they happened, it's not like we really need to be reminded that's he's not perfect, right? It's obvious. It's just...interesting. It's interesting how quickly public opinion changes when a person dies. His influence on the music industry had been all but ignored in favor of constant mockery and ridicule, but when he died, he went right back to being the "Prince of Pop". We're, for some reason, absolutely terrified of insulting the dead, and as a result we make saints out of the deceased, no matter what kind of person they were.

Public opinion appears to not be entirely swayed. I put out a request for comments on Facebook asking for opinions on the death. I received the following:

"i find it really weird i didnt think he could die lol thats odd but idk all the plastic made me not think of him as a person (dont mean to sound mean)"
- Wynter Rachel Jordan

"The news broadcast said "Michael Jackson dead at age fifty."
My first thought was "He's fifty?! Oh dear GOD!"
The news of his death was less of a surprise."
- Miriam Rimkunas

"The real shame of it is, he was a real good looking fella."
- Judy Dufour

And, what is quite possibly my favorite, if in somewhat bad taste:

"He's pretty much the biggest creeper I can think of."
- Casey Morrill

So basically, unlike what CNN seems to be saying, people seem slightly unsure of how to react to this. I mean, he was talented, he was the Prince of Pop, but...he was really creepy. Like, really creepy. How do you mourn that? Do you honor him or do you continue to make fun of him? I mean, he's probably the easiest comedy target on the planet, but can you really keep targeting him now that he's gone.

Or is it just that random human fear of insulting the dead talking?

Personally, I think the best way to deal with this is to listen to a copy of "Thriller", and move on. You don't have to do much to honor this guy. Considering how loud and eventful and controversial his life was, how full of mocking and abuse it was, I think the best way to honor him is to take a moment and not insult him. Listen to "Beat It" without making a joke about child pornography. Think of him as a person, and not as a joke. Just for a moment.

Oh, and also take a moment to remember Farrah Fawcett, since she's sort of been getting the shaft for happening to die on the same day as Michael Jackson.

And so, whether you knew him as a charismatic, horribly abused, high pitched, ten-year-old, a talented, chart-topping, flamboyant pop star, or a creepy, eccentric, child-molesting, lawsuit-inducing joke, we bid farewell to the infamous Prince of Pop. Dear Michael, you shall be somewhat inconsistently remembered forever more.

Try not to break Google,



Barbara said...

I remember watching the verdict come in on his molestation trial. "Well, he's either really guilty or just really really creepy." Creepy won the day, but I wouldn't have ever let my kids stay over at his house.

Anonymous said...

The man had indisputably good moves. No one can ignore his ridiculous dancing. And his music I guess...