I made some offhand comments a few posts back which were disparaging about Mr. Jackson, and I want to temper them with positive stuff, because he is, after all, the figurehead of pop culture in a truly global sense. Let’s be honest: the dude was kind of weird. But so has been most every other pop cultural icon, and no other has been as big as Michael Jackson. The man was a live wire dancer, electrically consumed, filled with spectacular light and fizz and energy. His performances were his gift to the world.
He became an almost hermaphroditic figure, sphinx-like in his crumbling plastered facade. As strange as he may have been, though, there was always something remotely accessible about him, something tangibly innocent and pure. The child-like joy that he conveyed through his dancing and high-pitched squeals of singing glee resonates with us all. Whatever we may think about his personal existence, no one can deny the appeal of Michael Jackson the pop artist. Not even himself. He didn’t seem capable of creating an inner persona that could exist outside of his own legend.
But his struggle with identity is the struggle of any artist that has grown up with fame. It ruins and ravages people, and that is the sap and succor of the tabloid gossip hounds. I don’t believe that he ever molested children or that he had any interest in doing so. Number one, because he has never been convicted in a court of law, which in this country is supposed to mean that he is innocent of all charges. Number two, because I think he truly loved children, just as he loved the child within himself. His work with charities for children should speak for itself. He was a sensitive soul, and the tragedy of Michael Jackson was perhaps the tragedy of being surrounded by unscrupulous people who took advantage of him.
In any case, the man is gone, leaving behind a legacy that can no longer be tarnished or sullied by anyone anymore. His music will live on, just as he knew it would. And we will continue to listen to his best songs, over and over again, and they will never get old.