Michael Jackson, R.I.P.
For my part, I am saddened and somewhat bemused by Michael Jackson's death. Part of it is age-related. I'm 34, so while Thriller isn't in my memory's sweet spot, some of the Bad songs are, particularly "Smooth Criminal". I'm still awed by the full version of that song in his vanity movie "Moonwalker". When challenged by younger people about actually liking Michael Jackson, I have to tell him the old joke about how good he was as a black man before he became a white woman.
I liked several of his songs, I really enjoyed many of his videos, but I was just struck by how the man could dance. You could turn off the sound and still see the music flowing through his body. I especially liked anything that showed a sense of humor; I liked it when he let the cocky kid shine through. With his passing as well as Farrah Fawcett, it's like a little bit of the 70s and 80s died on the same day.
But ultimately, Michael Jackson became a pathetic creature--more to the point, a creature of pathos. I felt contempt for him, but also pity. He had everything that we claim to want: fame, wealth, acclaim, and to a large measure, freedom from consequences. He lived in a place where reality could not touch him. And as a result, he warped. He became a perversion, a distortion of what ought to be. He became that oxymoron of celebrity, the one known and adored by all who is utterly, utterly alone.
So rest in peace, Mr. Jackson, a peace I doubt you ever knew in life.