So it was quite a day. It didn’t take long for the shock to wear off. The intertubes filled up pretty quickly with the expected reactions. The Facebook and the Tweeter esploded. My own personal experience included many people heartbroken at the silencing of their childhood soundtrack – people for who Michael Jackson was like an angel whose voice and rhythms filled their memories like his posters had filled their lockers and his cassettes and albums filled their rumpus rooms and Datsun b210s. And then there were the folks who were thrilled that another baby raper had diddled his last Cub Scout with his bony white fingers. I thoroughly expected and understood (and to a certain extent agreed with) both of those reactions.
But you know what I kept hearing over and over again by our esteemed talking heads and media mavens that did surprise me? The surprise. And it wasnâ€™t the righteous indignation and shock of the child advocates calling for a national holiday â€“ like I said, I understand that reaction. No, Iâ€™m talking about the â€œisnâ€™t it interestingâ€ comments from people who think theyâ€™re bringing something to the table by pointing out that the worm had turned now that heâ€™s gone. The people who think theyâ€™re possibly exposing some radical new conspiracy that in death, this man was being celebrated despite the constant ridicule and possibly well-deserved persecution that had hounded him for years.
â€œI just find it odd that weâ€™re all fawning over himâ€¦â€ Really? You find it odd that the premature death of one of the most famous global figures of the last century has caused some fawning?
â€œI just want to point out, if you or me had been accused of the stuff he was accused of, weâ€™d be in jail.â€ Really. Thatâ€™s insight? The fact that the guy worth billions may have gotten some preferential treatment is something we need to be made aware of? (yes, he had lousy, bloodsucking accountants and apparently was $400 million in debt, but give me the rights to Thriller and a few years of compounded interest and weâ€™ll be fine)
Who doesnâ€™t know that famous, beautiful, wealthy, and in his case, incredibly talented people get a pass in this world, and itâ€™s exponential. Jesus. O.J. decapitated two people and walked away. O.J. fâ€™ing Simpson. By those standards, we should have been leaving a fresh little boy at the gates of Neverland Ranch every Saturday night like virgins on Monster Island and been grateful thatâ€™s all he wanted.
One of the few people who was clearly in a position to say something worth listening to (at least about Michael Jackson, if not much else) was his ex-wife, who certainly understands the pain of not having a normal childhood, or probably how to have a normal relationship with another (normal) person.