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Hermes

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an article that articulates how I feel about Michael Jackson...
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http://mitchalbom.com/journalism/article/5542

We're Wacko In How We View Jacko

By Mitch Albom

Michael Jackson left this world three days ago. But he hadn't been living in it for a long time.

In fact, it's hard to think of a celebrity who had less to do with the real world than Jackson. In the real world, you don't have pet llamas or roller coasters in your backyard. In the real world, if you're $400 million in debt, people aren't still lending you money. In the real world, you don't buy human bones, wear lipstick as a man or sleep with other people's children in your bedroom.

Still, as soon as he died, Jackson - whom fans helped chase into his own private Neverland - was embraced as if he lived next door and inspired us every day. The hypocrisy of the cable news mourning is hard to stomach. Seeing Al Sharpton laud Jackson as some major civil rights activist or Christie Hefner celebrate his amazing business acumen is bad enough. (If he were so smart, how come he was so broke?)

But the whitewash of opinion being spouted by the public outdoes anything Jackson ever tried to do to his looks. Four days ago - when he was still alive - Jackson was perceived as a desperate, grotesque, off-the-radar, once-great performer turned weird, pathetic, possibly criminal and unable to sell records the way he did.

A day later, he was a world-healer, a joy-spreader, a one-of-a-kind man of magic.

I know death has a way of aggrandizing life. But some of the same people mourning the King of Pop for the TV cameras didn't do a whole lot for him while he was here. Parallels with another king

I always felt sorry for Michael Jackson. We were born in the same year, and, like a lot of kids, I watched him grow up, sang his songs, tried some of his dance moves.

But when I went to high school, he was playing nightclubs. When I went to college, he was touring the world. While I got married and found a home, he was wearing sunglasses and masks, had a dubious relationship with a woman to produce children, then cut her out of the picture.

Soon, all he had in common with the rest of us was breathing air and eating food. He loved Jackie Wilson and Diana Ross, but his life was more like Elvis Presley's. Elvis was a white man bringing black music to a white audience. Jackson was a black man bringing black music to a white audience. Elvis died young, bloated and surrounded by drug rumors. Jackson died young, skinny and surrounded by drug rumors. Neither could go anywhere. Both holed up in secluded mansions. Both passed away unmarried.

Neither seemed very happy.

But Elvis chose show business as a man. Jackson, as a child, was pushed in front of the family singing group by a brutal, domineering father. There was no normalcy. No high school. No prom or graduation. Just records and screaming fans and, as Michael aged and altered his face, cameras and more cameras.

It's no surprise that paparazzi already were gathered outside his rented home when the ambulance came for him. Earlier in the day, the press had been outside another hospital, chewing on the details of Farrah Fawcett's passing.

Suddenly, it was as if all that media raced away from Fawcett's death to chronicle Jackson's. And that image tells you all you need to know about fame. The value of a Jackson 5

You know what I wonder? I wonder how Jackson got along with his brothers in the end. In another life, in another world, being part of a huge family is a wondrous thing - supportive, loving, funny, chaotic. Did Jackson - who made tons of money with his siblings - have any of that family embrace in his final days?

If not, he missed out on the very thing he was closest to much of his life. And that's a pity. I won't be a hypocrite and say sweet singing and dazzling dancing give you a free pass - especially if it involved abusing children. I will say it seemed almost predestined that he'd walk a strange path.

But let's be honest. Celebrating Jackson more in death than in life doesn't honor him. If anything, calling him Wacko Jacko, chronicling his surgically enhanced face and making him a national joke, then weeping for TV cameras about how much we'll miss him makes us seem, for the moment, even stranger than him.



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Chanel

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good article!

I'm so sick of hearing and seeing MJ stuff on the news! yes its sad he died at a young age. Yes his moves and music are awesome.

but enough already

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Chanel

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I'm glad you posted this and had been wanting to say something similar but was afraid of the backlash.

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Dooney & Bourke

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Collette wrote:

I'm glad you posted this and had been wanting to say something similar but was afraid of the backlash.




 Ditto.



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Dooney & Bourke

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this is a good article. I do love his music though, sigh.

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Chanel

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D wrote:

But let's be honest. Celebrating Jackson more in death than in life doesn't honor him. If anything, calling him Wacko Jacko, chronicling his surgically enhanced face and making him a national joke, then weeping for TV cameras about how much we'll miss him makes us seem, for the moment, even stranger than him.




ITA. I have always been ashamed of the media's pursed-lip disgust for him as they
picked over "stories" about his appearance, personal life, finances, sexual orientation, sex crimes, and so on. It was only as I became more educated that it kind of flipped into fascination about how the politics of race and identity factored into how he was portrayed.

The great writer and civil rights leader James Baldwin wrote an essay in the 80s called "Here Be Dragons" about masculinity, androgyny and identity...a friend shared this passage with me:


"The Michael Jackson cacophony is fascinating in that it is not about Jackson at
all. I hope he has the good sense to know it and the good fortune to snatch his
life out of the jaws of a carnivorous success. He will not swiftly be forgiven
for having turned so many tables, for he damn sure grabbed the brass ring, and
the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo has nothing on Michael.

All that noise is about America, as the dishonest custodian of black life and
wealth; the blacks, especially males, in America; and the burning, buried
American guilt; and sex and sexual roles and sexual panic; money, success and
despair - to all of which may now be added the bitter need to find a head on
which to place the crown of Miss America.

Freaks are called freaks and are treated as they are treated - in the main,
abominably - because they are human beings who cause to echo, deep within us,
our most profound terrors and desires."



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Marc Jacobs

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ITA

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Kate Spade

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Good article....I was never a fan of Michael Jackson, but did like some of his music.

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