I was surprised to hear of Michael Jackson's death and, perhaps stupidly, surprised at the reaction to it. I know he has been popular, and his incipient comeback generated a lot of interest, but that did not add up to relevancy in my eyes. I thought it was all about the hype machine, but I guess that I was wrong.
Jackson was an original. I do not need to haul out WCW's still accurate description of America's pure products (which, of course, I have just deftly done), but Jackson was certainly troubled. His talent was enormous, as singer, as dancer, and as entertainer, but the curtain never seemed to be drawn across the stage of his life.
What gets me is that the 1st thing that occurs to me when thinking of Jackson is his weirdness. I am tolerant of difference, and do not excoriate him for his look, or his hobby horses. The cloud of pedophilia that hangs over him, however, is disturbing, and he never seemed intent on mitigating that.
As entertainer, he was not to my taste, but I could appreciate what he did. Some of his songs were downright silly. I mean "Billie Jean" is not convincing at all, nor "Beat It". He was more convincing in that song with Paul McCartney, the video of which shows him joining Linda and Paul as travelling scam artists. Jackson was still fresh-faced then. I think he could have gone in the way of McCartney, as an entertainer, I mean, but his weird relation to the world scotched that. He was more publicly weird than Elvis but it seems like they were similar in their urge to live in a make believe world or something. I do not know, nor do I really want to tramp these grounds.
It would seem that the rumours and accusaations of his pedophilia would be a deal breaker. Instead, they simply kept the people who would not have liked him anyway in a state of boil. His fans stayed with him. I do not ignore Ezra Pound's anti-Semitism, I live with it. My interest in his work cannot let me ignore that critical aspect of the man. And Pound paid for that anti-Semitism, if that is any consolation, which it is not.
MJ paid for his interest in children, in more than one way. It is dynamically creepy that parents allowed him to use their children as playmates. MJ was clearly out of touch concerning boundaries but how did the parents figure it? They were enablers.
RIP is especially appropriate with Jackson. His was an agitated soul, for which he seemingly found no relief. The pure products of America thing seems terribly apt. The weirder he was, the more interest he received from the world. The snowball just kept getting bigger.