7.07.2009

By Special Request...My "Tribute" to MJ


I grew up less than an hour away from Neverland Ranch. Whenever anyone saw a stretch limo in the area, we always assumed, "Oh, Michael Jackson," and craned our necks for a peek of the white glove. One of my friends even saw him once, shopping at the Toys 'r Us in Santa Maria.


What I'm trying to say is that Michael Jackson was always there, on tv, on the radio, and in our general kid consciousness. If you're my age, your best memories of him were of his early 80's persona, when you were still too scared to watch Thriller. I remember hearing "Billie Jean" when I was four or five and getting kind of spooked by it; I think I found the synth riff haunting; it made me feel sad. (I also got spooked by the song "Maneater," and any song with a robot-sounding voice. That's the kind of kid I was.)


I don't feel personally sad about his death, because the version of Michael Jackson my inner child remembers has been gone for years and years. But I feel sad about a lot of other things. How does a person get to that point? To live the way he did meant that he had no real friends, no one to say, "Hey. What are you doing? We're concerned about you," but merely an army of yes men willing to prescribe any drug, to keep weird sexual secrets, and who knows what else. Such an odd, dark path doesn't happen without the consent of many outside parties. Also, there's us, the public who loved to watch as his life became increasingly bizarre. "Did you hear what Michael Jackson just did? What a freak!" People love to watch a downward spiral.

It seems like if you magically got whatever you wanted, that things would turn out pretty good.

But if what you want is your lost childhood, you end up with a monkey, a lonely amusement park, and slumber parties that weren't quite right. It's an incredible story, really, and that's what I can't stop thinking about. Not Michael Jackson the person, because we'll never truly know about that, but the fact that his crazy, sad, fascinating story is over. MJ never stopped trying to find whatever it was he was looking for, we never stopped watching him, and that, my friends, is "human nature."



6 comments:

claire said...

That is *exactly* how I feel about the whole sad mess. Honestly, I hope he can have some peace now.

Anna Gilmour said...

Thank you, Polly, for writing on Michael Jackson - well-written and well put. The one thing I regret is not stopping and thinking, "hey what's going on here?" When he passed away, the good things about him came to mind, and I realized I had ridden the media wave without holding onto the good things, like I forgot or something, might have made me stop and question the situation instead of treating it as though it was inevitable. A few years ago, to illustrate its amazing sound system, my sister's husband played some MJ music in his grandma's car he had borrowed, and I thought "hey this is good, and fun." I had this weird feeling of having taken him and his music for granted after the 80s/early 90s. Her husband went to boarding school at Midland, sort of across the street from Neverland from what I gather, so that was one of the things he talked about early on.

Thanks again.

Anna Gilmour said...

Typo. Should be: ...which might have made me stop and question...

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Very well said and my sentiments also. I am sad for his story and his children. God bless them all. I hope they are left where they are, they do not need anymore strife in their young lives.

Angie

nubiannut100@earthlink.net

belinha said...

Hello!I saw you dropped by my blog!Thanks!I see you do lovely works!But Thriller cover caught me!!I bought this LP in 1984.I was in my teens and here, in Portugal, we went crazy over this record.I enjoyed reading what you did.I agree with you.I hardly remember any MJ than the one of that time.But I wish peope stop being sill and saying unpleasant things about a person they hardly know.Probably he wasn't that happy...

Beverly said...

It's a strange thing about genius - it comes with a price but when you add in the stardom at such a young age, the parental issues (alleged abuse, his father cheating on a beloved mother) the low self-esteem, it's amazing his work continued.
The only time I ever went to dance clubs was when Thriller came out - we even went to a country honky-tonk and they played Billie Jean and the 'yokels' went wild and hit the floor with abandon.

You can't question that kind of power.
I just wished he saved some of that influence for himself.