Sunday, July 05, 2009

Stranger In Moscow

Well, Michael Jackson wasn't supposed to die. Not until we'd all had our way with him, anyway.
And cardiac arrest? Is that the best he could manage in all of his creative genius and tragic strangeness-- a heart attack? It's so ordinary and normal and bloodless. A heart attack? That isn't very...sordid.

My first thought when I heard the news, was that it wasn't true. My second thought was, that as weird as he is, living in a reality entirely of his and his pharmacist's making, I wondered if he even knew he was dead.

I don't believe it. Really, I don't believe it. Too young, too much unfinished business, too many songs left to write, too many people left behind to pick up the pieces--his kids, his family, his fans.

How does someone who has been so obsessively committed to eternal youth die of cardiac arrest? Old people keel over from cardiac arrest, not Michael Jackson.

I know, I know. Athletes in their prime, even teenagers with congenital heart conditions can succumb to such an thing. But those people aren't Michael Jackson.

I've never been among Jackson's rabid fans, but I appreciate brilliance when I hear and see it, and none of us could escape his fame. Everyone knew who he was, whether we wanted to or not. We've all been in awe, enraptured, disgusted, and confounded by this mysterious being. He was an enigmatic creature who's celebrity surpassed what we understand as the normal and expected confines and privilege of fame. He existed in a realm not unlike royalty--cloistered, guarded, and at the same time relentlessly scrutinized and exposed. It was a vicious circle, the more we wanted to know about him the more secretive he became, and that made us ravenous. All of us. The media, the fans, the haters, the detectives. Every one of us.

So I feel guilty. Not that the hounding and the voyeurism killed the man outright. But that he didn't have a moment's peace and couldn't enjoy a little normalcy, and that's all he wanted, ironically. He just wanted to be normal. All of his cosmetic surgery, his creation of Neverland, his mail-order family, these were how he tried to fabricate a normal life. But to Jackson, the difference between perfection and normalcy was not so clearly defined.

I feel bad that he didn't live long enough to resolve issues with his dad. I feel bad that he didn't live long enough to be absolutely vindicated of the sex abuse charges if he was truly innocent, or that he wasn't brought to justice if the accusations were based in fact. Yeah, he had his day in court, and the not guilty verdict is record now, but the question looms: Was an innocent man blackmailed, his reputation forever sullied, or was a family compensated for their silence?

I feel bad that I ridiculed him for being so sensitive and weird. In spite of all the crap he got for being grotesque after numerous surgeries, the flack about his dubious sexuality, and everything else over the years, he had remained an infinitely loving soul.

And genius or not, in fame or obscurity, black or white, that's all that has ever mattered. For any of us.




Blogroll Me! Site Feed