April 13, 2010

Michael Jackson


By Tim McHale, Editor

I was never a major fan of Michael Jackson though I appreciated much of his work. I did not know him, nor follow his life story. I went with whatever I heard about him in passing from the media. Being in New York, you see celebs of one sort or another all the time. You could say New Yorkers learn to be blasé about it. Less cynically, you could say that New Yorkers respect a person's privacy even when they have some sort of notoriety. There's probably a little pride in our ability to do so, based on the belief that everyone should be allowed to hang out in Manhattan, anonymously if they want to.

Michael Jackson could never do that. This article is not a pity party for him or the life he lived. There is no question that he saw things, incredible things, being center stage for millions of fans over the television as well as from playing in giant arenas. The tour he was preparing for, before he lost his life was rumored to bring in around $400 million.

There are many people I know who also respected his work, but not the person he became. However, almost all said something about the job his father did on him and that he never had a normal childhood. Part of me says "Big deal."

If we are talking about a "normal" American-style childhood, there is some truth to that. However as compared to the hundreds of millions of children around the world, who live in abject poverty, slavery and worse, in my opinion the difficulty he experienced as a youngster pales in comparison.

With so much money, influence and notoriety, regardless of his personal life, the on-going plastic surgery he obsessed over inevitably distinguished him, putting him center stage once again. No one to my knowledge ever looked even remotely like him. It is almost unfathomable to understand why someone with so much would do so many bizarre things to his appearance.

Well, he's gone now and won't be forgotten by his fans. He certainly won't be left alone by the media. He will continue to make millions for the People Magazines of the world, among others. I do not look forward to this.

Though I did not follow any of the Remembrances of him, or the Staples Center service, I accidentally happened upon the :49 second YouTube tape of his daughter saying a few words to the audience about her father. I watched it, several times. Listening to her; sweet and innocent as any young girl who loved her father could be; my brain did not initially register that it was Michael Jackson she was referring to when she called him, "Daddy."

Up until that moment, he was still "Michael Jackson" to me. Now, I think those :49 seconds may change the image of Mr. Jackson forever.



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