I find the frenzy over Michael Jackson’s memorial service completely ridiculous. It’s true that nearly everyone in my generation owned a copy of “Thriller” (though I prefer “Off the Wall”), saw “The Wiz” multiple times, and marveled when he unleashed the moonwalk. I remember wanting to go see the “Victory” tour for maybe a minute in the mid-eighties. But my MJ fandom stops there.
Yes, artistically, he was a trailblazer in many ways. But it is stunning to me how completely amnesiac people are to the more recent MJ doings. Nothing musically that was worth any significance. The marriage to Lisa Marie Presley. Dangling his son over a hotel balcony. And oh, hey, remember the molestation trial? Not to mention the previous ‘incident’ that ended up with him paying the family $25 million to not talk about it? Remember the alcohol in soda cans allegations? You know OJ Simpson was acquitted too but everyone still thinks/believes he killed Nicole. I have to say that I feel the same about MJ. I don’t think he was all there and don’t understand why his death, as premature as it may be, should instigate this kind of deifying media attention.
I know the argument is that what he did artistically should supercede the other stuff. There’s a lot of things being said like, “Well, aside from all that other stuff, how ’bout that music?” I find it hard to separate them. MJ certainly didn’t. Most of his life was lived in the public eye, by his own design, even if he didn’t admit it. And much of it was at time (early nineties) when we (the world in general) didn’t seem as celebrity-obsessed, glued to TMZ, as we are now. He still made the news (eg. marriage to Lisa Marie, marriage to Rowe, birth of his kids, dangling Blanket, the “Living with MJ” documentary.)
I know this may sound harsh but I just am not feeling the MJ love. Tomorrow in Los Angeles, they expect a million people to descend on the Staples center. That’s insane. To me, he was a troubled man with severe health and mental issues. May he rest in peace, and may Los Angeles survive the onslaught.