Thursday, June 25, 2009
Michael Jackson died today.
People tend to have strong reactions about him.
In my observation, that has been true from his very childhood.
He's like an undead Elvis, only so because he didn't die when stardom would have recommended, but continued to live in infamy far past his prime, pushing the envelope.
I'll admit it; I AM saddened by his death, maybe because it seems that the polarization caused by his fame means that people are too busy analyzing him to be bothered with prayer for him.
When I was a child, maybe fourth or fifth grade, I, and most of my friends, had a HUGE crush on Michael Jackson. Some friends of mine created their own dance to "Thriller". We screamed for him, we wanted to be like him. We wanted to know him. We wanted to wear black leather pants with white socks and one glove. And a red vinyl jacket.
Then I moved to Minnesota, and in this particular state, the buzzword was "Gay". I'd never heard that word outside of the context of "happy" and mind you, I was only 10 at the time. But as far as my new classmtes were concerned, Michael Jackson was "Gay" as was anything of which they did not collectively approve.
On my own, I went on being a fan, and my Dad gave me, that Christmas, a cassette tape of the Jackson Five. That same Christmas, I got "Thriller".
It was with disappointment and disillusionment that I witnessed Jackson's descent through plastic surgery, charges of pedophilia, various new albums, and near obscurity. His name remained big even as his persona degenerated into the realm of pure stock media villification.
For years, now, I've been a disillusioned fan of Jackson. I remember when he set his hair on fire during a Pepsi commercial, and even as I laughed, I was struck to my core at the viscious attack at something that could have happened to anyone.
I don't know what happened to him. I remember how I always thought he was so tough, I remember the "crush" I had on him, and the disappointment over the years when he didn't measure up to what I thought he was. The pedestal he'd been on simply was gone.
But I've grown up, of course, and Jackson did, too.
But did he really? As I watch tonight's "memorial" on Nightline, I can't avoid seeing the contrast between the man I "fell in love with"as a child, and the strange imitation of zombihood he became as he matured.
On Nightline, his childlike perceptions stood out starkly; his expensive purchases made becuase he could.
Michael Jackson is a tragic figure if only so because he was never allowed to be a child, and as such, he was never allowed to grow up. He never grew into the man he was supposed to become. I won't get into theories on that, but it seems clear that he was always searching for something that was snatched from him long ago.
I'm surprised that his death affects me, but it does, for in a way, I grew up with him....and then he became something unrecognizable.
May God bless and keep him. My prayers go out to his family, and I pray he is finally granted the peace he was never allowed to experience or even truly seek during his pilgrimage on earth.
Michael Jackson...may the peace of Christ be with you.
May you never find Neverland, but rather, may you find Eternity.