Thursday, July 2, 2009

King of Pop

What do we know about Michael Jackson?

He lived an odd, reclusive lifestyle. He looked creepy. He almost dropped his son over a balcony once. He was an alleged pedophile.

Oops, sorry. I forgot that Michael Jackson has been dead for nearly a week. What do we know about Michael Jackson?

He was one of the best-selling artists of all time. He had an amazing voice. He was a very underrated lyricist. He opened the doors for nearly every pop star of the last 20 years.

I've been fascinated with the subject of post-death re-imagining of people for a while. It's definitely happened with Michael Jackson. That's not to say that the nice things people are saying about him aren't true. It's just that nobody has focused on that aspect of Michael Jackson for probably 15-20 years.

In the '80s he was a chart-topping hitmaker. In the '90s he was a creepy, alleged pedophile. In this decade, he was starting to lose the "creepy, alleged pedophile" aspect and just turn into a reclusive ex-celebrity ... but then he was again charged with alleged pedophilia.

I was born in 1986, so I was a little too young to get to know the chart-topping Michael Jackson. I only got to know the weird, creepy one with the Neverland Ranch. I didn't get to know the Michael Jackson who debuted the Moonwalk in 1983. I got to know the Michael Jackson in that video talking about the police inspecting his penis (because the boy he allegedly touched gave a description of what it looked like...).

Life had to be rough for Michael Jackson. He had created such a wonderful body of work in early years, but was regarded as a joke in his later years. I think it's sad that the only way somebody can get recognition is to die.

The most recent BET Awards was re-tooled to be turned into a Michael Jackson tribute. It was noted that award winners actually thanked Michael Jackson more than they thanked God for their awards. I wonder how many mentions he would have received had he still been alive?

I'm going to predict that the next issue of Rolling Stone magazine will have Michael Jackson on the cover and some sort of retrospective. The current issue (with the Jonas Brothers on the cover) has a small article about Jackson's proposed comeback tour. The article wonders whether or not Jackson will be able to follow through with the concerts. Basically, the article says that he's washed up and this is his last chance. I wonder if the Michael Jackson commemorative issue will mention that he was washed up?

Those are my preliminary thoughts on the Michael Jackson situation. I may come back with more thoughts later. I've been linking just about every Michael Jackson story from CNN or the AP on my Twitter account. So, there's another shameless plug for that.

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