Saturday, June 27, 2009

Michael Jackson

I suppose it's almost compulsory that I blog about the passing of Michael Jackson. But what is there to say about someone who has died who the writer has never known. Certainly there are epic elegies to those who the writer has never or could never know (especially when those deaths span centuries or even millennia), but how does one write about an entertainer? A musician who was marred by scandal, private dealings that may or may not be suitable for all ages to read, jealousy, secrecy, bankruptcy, and physical "abnormalities" that caused his life to become a circus akin to the theme park he owned.

It's a tough job to write something about someone whose heyday arguably began three years before I was born and ended when I was two. It's also difficult to forget all the controversies: the children who have accused him over the years, the dangling baby over the balcony, the plastic surgeries, the dismaying changes in voice, appearance, attitude and presence in the everyday world.

To write about Michael Jackson is to acknowledge all his life was inundated with, but then to sift out what was ultimately the most distracting aspects, and arrive at a solid, appreciative image of a man who had the creativity, dancing and singing skills unparalleled by most performers in their lifetimes. It is to recognize that greatness is often accompanied by a fall. There cannot be one without the other. And only through acknowledgment of this inextricable relationship can one arrive at an appreciation and commemoration of someone like Jackson, who, although dead, is still living today as I write this and will never be forgotten.

I don't believe there will be Jackson sightings as there are still Elvis sightings, but there will be impersonations, and biographers galore; those concerned with glorifying, demystifying or deconstructing a man whose life was lived in front of the camera, the microphone and on the stage. There are words to be said in poetry, in elegy, and in memory. There are words for every moment of Jackson's life, but not enough space here. For a man who lived a life that was bigger than himself, he did the best he could to not be swept away--as everyone eventually is when placed in that situation. Michael Jackson does not leave a void in music; on the contrary, he filled one with the music he created and the life that he lived. Appreciate what he gave us and do not concern yourselves with what sensationalities plagued him.

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