Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Death of an Icon

Michael Jackson has passed on, at the age of 50. People the world over are lamenting this, but while I grieve for his family, I cannot honestly say that I grieve for him. Yes, he made wonderful music, music that I grew up listening to, just like so many other singers that have passed on. But I also remember having a cousin who, when I was a child, worked at his record label as an executive, and vividly remember her telling the family that he had always made her very uncomfortable when she worked with him. I never forgot that, though at the time I didn't understand it. Years later, though, as his obsession with plastic surgery became obvious, and little by little other alleged acts became media fodder, I found myself understanding her statement more and more. He made me uncomfortable. I don't know what is true and what isn't. I know what one side said, and the other side said. I know that the truth is probably somewhere in between, and will never be known by anyone but the parties directly involved, and whatever deity they believe in.

I remember when Luther Vandross passed. That man, I mourned. That man, I still mourn, every time I hear one of his songs. I don't recall ever seeing anything truly negative about him in the media. Sure, we all, at one time or another, made fun of his weight, calling him "The Kentucky Fried Chicken Eater" back in the day, because he did their commercials, but true negativity, especially on the same scope as Mr. Jackson? Not to my knowledge.

I don't know, really, what to feel about Michael's passing, because I don't know, really, if he was or wasn't the monster the media painted. And that's the best eulogy I can give him: to neither condemn nor to mourn. He knows what he did or did not do, and so does the HNIC wherever he went.

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