Thursday, June 25, 2009

Gone Too Soon

I grew up listening to The Jackson Five, dancing and singing in my bedroom to "I'll Be There" and "ABC". Even though Michael Jackson has become a figure of ridicule and even hatred in the last few years, and the idea of his early death wasn't entirely unexpected, it was a shock to me this evening. I was quite skeptical that he would actually follow through with his concerts in London this summer - he couldn't possibly have been strong enough for all of that, I thought.

I've been watching YouTube videos for awhile this evening, and am saddened by posts from people who dismiss him merely as a pathetic child molester who was once something else, rather than an icon of American Pop Music; he danced and sang with such grace and purity and revolutionized the art of performance. He was atrociously parented, put to work as a small child, abused for being gay as soon as his preference was evident and permanently damaged as a result; a drug addict, physically and mentally ill, driven by demons to change everything about his appearance until he finally became unrecognizable. He made bad choices and hurt people, and got away with outrageous behavior for many years, which is enough to turn many a mind against him, perhaps rightfully so. He had a great and terrible life, and I hope that he's at peace now. I had many hours of pleasure listening to and watching him - I never saw him perform live, but in my room as a girl, listening to 45s and LPs, and later as an adult over the years, he was truly the King of Pop.

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