April 13, 2010
 

Before He Became a F.r.e.a.k.

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One thought about Michael Jackson's moving on is that - in a very short period of time - it will be easier to remember him as he once was; a lovable and talented young man who had the ability to make the whole world feel cool on the dance floor.

Another one is that once the media cools it with his freaky pictures and "Where are they now" news, we will be able to file down all the disappointment and anger we had about his despicable behavior over the last decade. Most pop-culture greats take a turn for the worse in their later years. They get fat, soft, less relevant and ultimately become cliches. Live by the media sword. Die by the... well, you know how it goes.

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We prefer now to remember Jackson from his "Off The Wall" period. Actually we probably won't remember Mr. Jackson per se. Instead, we'll remember the times we had with friends on the dance floor boogieing to his music.

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Hard as it is to believe today, using MJ in these Pepsi commercials was once-upon-a-time a great way to get people to buy Pepsi. He was so famous then. Pretty much everyone loved him! And then his hair caught on fire. Who knew then that the Kid of Pop would fall from the stars and into the gutter. Surely the time-tested marketing efforts that his father knew so well were followed to a T. Mr. Jackson Sr. should be awarded an honorary degree from the 4A's. He knew how to build a brand and keep it fresh. He kept them on message, at least as long as his talented family obeyed his marching orders.

Over time though, the Jackson 7 (including Latoya and Janet) ultimately went in the same direction as the Nestle's Tollhouse cookie dough. Both operated under the mistaken belief that the rules don't apply; that you have to keep it relatively clean.

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The media assumes everyone wants to reminisce about him now, versus just a day ago. They are partially correct. His record sales have skyrocketed in the last 24 hours, though when he was alive, nobody cared. Right now it's cool again to like him. Judging by the comments on message boards his appeal in the last era played much better outside the US borders versus in the states. Perhaps they were able to look at art versus the artist. Perhaps they didn't get the stomach ache we all did upon reading his headlines or eating Nestle's home-baked chocolate chip cookies.

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Is there an ironic, twisted similarity between MJ's death and the economy's? Probably. What is it? That all good things come to an end, long before they actually end.

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