Home > Uncategorized > Off the Wall and Beyond Comprehension – Remembering Michael Jackson

Off the Wall and Beyond Comprehension – Remembering Michael Jackson

I was eating dinner with my significant other when I heard of Michael Jackson’s death and like so many other events involving the proclaimed King of Pop, it was at first hard to believe.

Much will be written in the days to come of Jackson’s confounding charisma, incredible talent, and groundbreaking musical endeavors.  With that, of course, comes all the talk of the controversy he generated both by his own volition and his existence.  In recent years I’ve come to doubt so many of the allegations of criminal conduct in regards to children, but I think that right now my personal position on such matters is neither decided or relevant.

As I write this, people are piling into the streets in Los Angeles where Jackson was pronounced dead just hours ago.  Outside the Apollo Theater in New York City, a large crowd has gathered.  Whether people are gathering to legitimately mourn his death or simply to be part of a happening – a common occurence whether he was performing a sold-out concert or rumored to be staying at a hotel – is moot.  Because no matter what occurred during the course of his lifetime and no matter what the headlines read, Jackson always drew the attention and fascination of literally billions of people merely by existing.

Michae Jackson Off the Wall

The cover for Michael Jackson's debut LP "Off the Wall," which went platinum after only four months.

While those that believe the allegations of child abuse and molestation would label him a monster, others have equally strong convictions that he was simply a victim of a post-television media and populace that could neither understand or sympathize with him.  Either way, and regardless of what he may or may not have done, there’s no denying that Michael Jackson was a unique spirit. He didn’t seem real and it often seemed as if he deliberately went out of his way to make sure that was the case.  Yet there was a strange dichtomy in the fact that unlike so many others after him, his presence and presentation was not the careful creation of a corporation desperate for a quick buck and a hit.  Rather, he was an overworked, abused, and painfully shy child who became the biggest musical star in the history of the world despite a mountain of emotional and mental obstacles.

In the days to come, various people will debate, write, and blog about the surgical self-mutilation, eccentricities, and the legitimacy of the child molestation allegations. On the whole, though, most will simply celebrate the music, mourn the passing of a large presence in the pop culture landscape, and reflect fondly on memories brought forth from their childhood.

Michael Jackson was a lot of things, and volumes of books could be filled with the opinions and observations one could make of a man who, if fictional, would be criticized for being too obvious a metaphor for pop culture and the artificial personas forced on performers by bored masses yearning for a fantastic figure to take them out of their lives, even if it’s only for a handful of minutes.  For now, I’ll simply say this: the single most talented man in the history of this planet has died.  That, and that alone, deserves pause and consideration.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Chris
    June 25, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    He touched a lot of people.

    *ducks and covers*

  2. ado annie
    June 26, 2009 at 8:28 am

    Kev, thank you for writing such a beautiful piece. As you are well aware, I’ve always been a huge fan. I had “Off the Wall” and “Thriller” in my car when I was up there. I named my cat Billie Jean. When we did the list of the 15 albums that shaped us, “Thriller” was 3rd on my list (for which I took a lot of slack for). I don’t know if the allegations about him were true or not, I am suspect of parents who were willing to accept money in lieu of justice for the victimization of their children. I do know that he was pretty tortured and, for all of his fame and fortune, he was never truly happy. He sacrificed his own happiness to bring us some of the greatest music ever recorded. I think we should all be able to appreciate that. I hope he has finally found the peace that was always just out of his grasp. I will miss him.

  3. Gracie
    June 26, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Very nice piece. Its a shame about what abuse etc he went through as a child that made him so unhappy until his dying day. However, he made a huge impact on pop culture and in music, and was the Elvis of our era. Just hope hes still moon walking upstairs…

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