I wasn’t going to mention the whole media blitz storm surrounding the death of Michael Jackson but it’s a nice day and I got Ozzy blasting through the house so I’d figure it would be cathartic.
I forgot about the monkey, the amusement park ranch, the hyperbaric chamber, the skin disorder, the masks, the surgeries, the marriages, the babies, the court proceedings, the showing up to said court proceedings in pajamas, the endless fascination and vilifying of a strange man.
I never forgot the circle slide, the moonwalk, the incredible dancing, the theatrical music videos and the politics of a man who just wanted peace for all people and for the wealth of the world to be shared with those less fortunate.
Crimeny, when this man danced he was the only thing you would be looking at, with dozens of people around him doing the same moves, no one did them like he did, he truly was a universal entertainer, every corner of the world understood that no one they knew could dance like that. His fashion sense alone has almost become a separate entity when describing him, those zipper jackets, weird gloves, buckles, straps, sparkles and even lingerie. Courage comes in many colors, my friends.
Since he hasn’t put out a decent record in at least a decade and a half and how the stories surrounding him were far from respectful or flattering, it’s almost a relief that he’s dead. The pressure on him to be something he’s not is gone and the weird caricature of a celebrity he had become has now morphed into the “The King Of Pop Is Dead, The World Mourns” headline that not only belies his global impact but leaves all the bizarre peripheral crap behind. Regretfully his children have lost their father but maybe the wee ones will have some semblance of a “normal” life without being in the shadow of such a media juggernaut.
An artist is an artist. You don’t sit down to dinner with an artist, you don’t have them babysit your kids, you don’t loan them money or have them sleep over at the house. If I stopped enjoying artists on their personal behavior and the value of their ethics, I certainly wouldn’t have any Van Gogh prints, ticket stubs to the Mollala Buckeroo or any Eminem records. Enjoy the art not the person. I’ve never once heard a great song or saw a mind-blowing performance and asked myself if the artist was a republican, cage-fighting fan or rapist. No offense to any of those demographics. Except the last one.
People themselves often let me down anyhow so their art is many times the best person worth remembering.
And I truly believe Michael Jackson would have been a fascinating and sophisticated dinner guest.