Friday, June 26, 2009

Moonwalker or Molester?

I spent a lot of time in the car today and of course almost every station was playing back to back Michael Jackson music. It might just be my age, but every time a song came on, it reminded me of something growing up. Many of the callers felt the same way too-caller after caller reminisced about it. I'm not sure I can think of any other artist that would evoke such memories for so many people.

After I started hearing the same songs duplicated I switched to a talk radio station that I often listened to when I was employed (because that was when I was in the car the most). Overall, the station is conservative and republican-2 things I am not-which is why I enjoy listening. Hearing them speak sometimes makes me angry and it then gets me thinking, and I like that my brain starts working because of it. Anyway-I expected them to hate on Michael today and they did. The first host couldn't get past the "child molester" label. His thought was that those allegations usurp any and all other accomplishments that Jackson has and that instead of "King of Pop" we should be referring to him as "Child Molester, who also happened to be a brilliant artist." He argued that Jackson's behavior ruined families and hurt the lives of several boys and we should not exonerate him simply because he could sing.

While I don't disagree that his actions were immoral and disgusting, I do have to say that I put Jackson in the same category as The Beatles or even Elvis. He influenced so many of today's artists and changed the way we listened to music. He could dance and he did things on stage we had never really seen before. Man, was he cool. In elementary school a girl friend of mine was so in love with him that her mother faked a letter from Michael and included a single glove. She refused to take it off for weeks, even when the weather was super hot. I don't know...he may not have been a good person toward the end, but he sure as hell was a talented and historical musician.

The last thing I heard the DJ say was about OJ Simpson. He also was never convicted of his crime and yet, when he dies, he'll almost definitely be remembered as the guy who killed his wife and ran away in a Bronco. His football career will be an afterthought.

Maybe that's because he didn't contribute enough to the game to be remembered as an athlete...

The last thing I will say is that I do think the media over analyzes things and milks stories about celebrities. And I do think that in a couple of days I will be sick of hearing about him and his death. In the meantime though, I'll listen to his music, remember my childhood and smile. I'm sick of hearing about the economy anyway...


katherine. said...

personally I think that Michael Jackson was NEVER sexually inappropriate with children. I think he was odd...and building Neverland...surrounding himself with children had a great deal to do with how he was treated as a child.

His musical talent...songwriting, performing, dancing...will be in our world forever.

Travis said...

I agree with Katherine. My personal opinion is that he was child-like, and because he never had a real childhood, he surrounded himself with the things he would have wanted as a child. And then he brought in other children to enjoy those things with him.

That's what the evidence I'm aware of suggests.

His life was complex and difficult and I don't know that we'll ever understand it.

Thomas said...

Good post. I've always been and always will be a fan of MJ. I have 10 CD's either by him or with his brothers. I prefer to remember him as he was in the mid-80's. Like you, his music brings back a ton of memories and I wouldn't wanna change that.

Marilyn said...

I mostly agree with you but because of my background the allegations of abuse have caused me a great deal of pain over the years. I know my background isn't his fault but I'm just as happy to not have to see his face all day long for weeks on end (since I don't watch TV).

It has been a long time in coming but I've come to the conclusion that child molesters are people too and he was a very talented musician.

I respect the opinions of all those that say he's innocent based on the evidence, and maybe he is... but the words they use sound an awful lot like the words my family uses for my abuser. It all just leaves me confused and hurt and ready to forget the whole thing.