Thursday, June 25, 2009

Goodbye, Michael


The morning after Princess Diana died, my husband woke me from a deep sleep and thrust the newspaper in my hands. It didn't seem quite real, and I remember thinking that only the deaths of Madonna or Michael Jackson would have been more shocking.

It's an understatement to say that Michael Jackson was a complicated figure - a crazy talented human being who belongs on pop culture's Mount Rushmore. I can't imagine what popular music would sound like without him. As his story became increasingly bizarre and tawdry, I wanted to believe that the handsome icon of my youth was separate from the facially unrecognizable tabloid fixture of the last 15-plus years. Genius and darkness often go together, but the disconnect between what I hoped and what I suspected was pretty extreme in this case.

As I wrote last year, seeing other artists attempt to pay tribute to M.J. - something we'll be seeing plenty of in the days ahead - has always been a little sad. It will be even moreso now.

I'm going to go listen to "Off The Wall," easily one of the best R&B albums ever made. I never get tired of listening to it.

8 comments:

downtown guy said...

Yeah, major disconnect between talent and personality. I mean, Billie Jean is, bar none, the most carefully crafted pop song of all time. You put that track on, I don't care, everyone will dance. But then you've got MJ the creepy kiddie toucher. I don't even know what to say.

EDP said...

It's so hard to reconcile, isn't it? I know he was never convicted, but at the very least, he displayed abysmal judgment.

downtown guy said...

I suspect we'll hear a lot more details in the coming days, now that he's not around to pay folks off.

EDP said...

Oh, yes. This is just the tip of a large, strange iceberg.

Zil said...

DTG- Nah, I don't think that much more stuff will come out...the family is still around to "protect his legacy" Especially crazy mean old Papa Joe.

Also, EDP, I was *in London* when Princess Diana died. You have no idea of the true depths of the madness...

EDP said...

Oh, MAN. You have got to tell me about that the next time I see you. Americans were hysterical, so I can only imagine what that situation was like.

Zil said...

Totally. We need to have another coffee outing or lunch or something.

EDP said...

Yes, let's do that soon! I'll send emails.