Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Michael Jackson Mystery

MJ has been gone for awhile now, but the emotion and fervor are still running high. Why? Why did this death affect our country so profoundly? And what about his weirdness, which simply cannot be ignored? We're ignoring it. What is it about this very odd guy that has grabbed our hearts and won't let go? I don't profess to know, but I'll take a shot at some possibilities....

Baby boomers are everywhere, and the Jackson Five came along around the time that the late boomers were finally coming of age. I think that many people relate back to that time with great nostalgia when they hear a J5 song, and many feel that they grew up with the Jacksons. One of my friends remarked that she didn't like the J5 as a kid because they "stole the Osmond's thunder" and she loved Donny Osmond back then. Years before that, kids made their choice between the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. If you were a kid that took a stand for the J5 and loved Michael, his death touched those good, old times in your heart and forced you to let them go. Like a death in the family.

You may have turned away in disgust when you saw MJ on television a week before his death, but suddenly all is forgiven and forgotten, and you find yourself downloading Thriller to your Ipod and bidding on a framed MJ poster from ebay. Does death have that much power? I don't think so, at least not usually.

Could it be that a part of us, while afraid that the allegations against him were true, are also afraid that the allegations were NOT true? What if this quiet, shy, emotionally fragile man-child was the victim? A gentle, loving, troubled soul that never hurt anyone, but was put through a horrendous sideshow of arrests, allegations and lawsuits in a (successul) attempt to separate him from his money. What if? Because we don't know, and will likely never know, we are left in an emotional purgatory, and as a collective group we have decided to side with MJ. For the outside chance that he was the Boo Radley of our time - an innocent freak with a heart broken by years of abuse and teasing. I kind of like that. I like that about us.

Opinions? Feel free to post!

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