Michael Jackson is dead. Considering the self styled King of Pop’s numerous health complaints, it is a wonder that it took this long to happen. Michael Jackson’s career may have been a triumph, but his life was pure tragedy.
Even speaking as someone who was not a particular Michael Jackson fan, one must acknowledge that his contributions as a popular artist are up there with Elvis and the Beatles, especially as measured by the amount of fame and fortune it brought him. Few people were as well known as Michael Jackson at such a young age, during the bubble gum Jackson Five era.
The apex of Michael Jackson’s career had to have been the release of Thriller in the mid 1980s, a bestselling album of all time for many years which garnered more than a fistful of Grammy awards. The video, which told a story of horror and transfiguration, was one of the first music videos that helped to launch a little known TV channel called MTV.
Of course one cannot talk about Michael Jackson the artist, who could do so much with his voice and his body, without talking about Michael Jackson the freak show. There will be volumes written about the psychological traumas and influences that warped Michael Jackson’s psyche, like a demon gnawing at his soul.
The stories are well known. There were the various face surgeries that transformed Michael Jackson from a handsome black man into something that resembled an alien from another planet. There was the other weird behavior, the strange medical procedures, the horrendous overspending that sent Michael Jackson into debt, the attempts to buy the grotesque remains of the Elephant Man, and the bizarre public behaviors, especially at the various trials.
And there were the accusations of pedophilia. Being accused of child rape once can be considered an accident. Being accused of child rape twice suggests an unhappy pattern. Michael Jackson was never convicted of the crime, though he had to pay large sums to make at least one accusation go away.
No matter what the truth of the matter is, it was clear that Michael Jackson had an unhealthy fixation with children. It was said that his emotional maturity never evolved past that of an eight year old. What childhood traumas must have taken place to cause that can only be conjectured.
Michael Jackson’s effect on popular culture can best be illustrated by the sudden, wall to wall coverage of his death on the news channels. There is a rebellion taking place in Iran, the threat of Nuclear War in Korea, and the Congress seems ready to try to pass socialistic legislation unprecedented since the dark days of the Great Society. Even poor Farrah Fawcett, that 1970s icon whose face once graced a thousand magazine covers, was forgotten.
Michael Jackson is dead. There will be many days of reporting on just that one fact. Legal analysts will talk about Michael Jackson’s legal problems. Financial analysts will talk about Michael Jackson’s money problems. Psychologists will talk about Michael Jackson’s mental problems. Every network will have a pathologist on to talk about the autopsy. Very soon we will be sick of Michael Jackson so much that if Kim Jong Il cooks off a nuke and that crowds Michael Jackson off the air, it will seem a mercy.
Source: Child star and father of 3, Michael Jackson dies at 50, The Examiner, June 25th, 009