Friday, June 26, 2009

Long Live The King Of Pop

So, Michael Jackson is dead.

I have some oddly mixed feelings about this. Obviously the man spent the last decade of his life as a bit of a sideshow freak, but he absolutely owned the 80's--an immense talent undermined by a complete inability to make decisions properly.

During my formative years I was a tremendous MJ fan--Bad to Dangerous eras. Those albums haven't aged as well as some of his older material, but Thriller is still an incredible set of songs, and I have a special affection for Off the Wall, his disco-fied adult solo debut. His achievements are myriad: he is the reason that MTV started showing videos from black artists, which is ironic since he was later ridiculed for abandoning his race. He pioneered the music video, set records with the number one singles off of his albums. What he did really can't be done again.

And then to languish in semi-obscurity as a punchline. It's odd. Let's not be quaint, though, he got really weird in later life, what with his unhealthy obsession with plastic surgery, his unending financial woes, the fact that he named all three of his children after himself. Also, the child molestation thing. I don't want to cast aspersions here--he was acquitted, after all. But that doesn't mean he didn't do it... making him either a lucky monster or a supremely unlucky pop icon.

So, I'm kind of sad, kind of relieved. The Michael Jackson that I admired has been absent for decades, but now he's absolutely and unequivocally gone, never to return. An icon is an icon, even if he is truly disturbed icon. It's like Saruman at the end of Lord of the Rings (the books, that is). He was this great foe who was soundly defeated at the end of The Two Towers, but becomes a petty annoyance up until his death at the end of Return of the King.

Is that a weird metaphor?

Actually, more than anything else, I think it's too bad that he will have no dignity in death. He spent what he had and then some in life. C'est la vie.

Et la mort.

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