Thursday, June 25, 2009

RIP: Michael Jackson

First Farrah Fawcett, and now the King of Pop. What a day. I was a huge Charlie's Angels fan, and I was very sad to hear the news about Farrah this afternoon. But when I just got the news that Michael Jackson is dead, I was in shock. Both of these personalities were massive icons, both were considered freakish at some point. A few days ago, Fawcett's longtime partner said he wanted to marry her, and today he must be shattered.

Michael Jackson will always have a special place in my heart. He was my first true, crazy, full-blown crush when I was 11 years old. I saw him on the Victory tour, I had posters on every inch of my wall, I played Thriller so many times I wore out the record (yes, it was a record). In recent years Jackson's extraordinary career has been overshadowed by his addiction to plastic surgery, his weird shenanigans (like dangling a baby off a balcony), his weird white skin that EVERYONE knows is not natural, and his spending habits.

I truly hope that in the days to come, the obits focus on what a talent he was, what an amazing career he had, and what a legend he was in his lifetime. How amazingly gifted he was at a young age, even if that led to a solitary life of sadness, and what a massive, massive influence he was in music.

RIP, both of you. May you both find peace.


Casey S. Pitman said...

I used to moonwalk in my socks on the kitchen floor when I was a kid. I feel like part of my childhood died.

Karen W. said...

My friends and I were also talking about how sad it feels that all our childhood icons are dying off. They were both too young.

The Question Mark said...

Ed Mcmahon is interviewing Jesus...

Farrah Fawcett is a real angel...

and Michael Jackson is moonwalkin' on the clouds now.

R.I.P. to all three of these wonderful, iconic figureheads of our popular culture.
unfortunately, I'm only 22, and thus I'm a little too young to appreciate Ed and Farrah's talents.

But I grew up with the pop culture of the 80s and early 90s, and MJ was part of that for me. From seeing Marty McFly do the moonwalk in an 1800s salloon, to hearing the prince of Pop's voice on a special episode of The Simpsons, to blasting Thriller in the car over & over (I wore it out too, Nikki), michael Jackson ruled my effin' world back in the day.
He'll be forever missed, as will Ed & Farrah.

Riposa in Pace, as the Italians say.

Hisham Fahmy said...

I just reported the news to my newspaper. That's very sad.

Nikki Stafford said...

Question Mark: You know, I heard about Farrah, and when I clicked on a news story about her there was the news story about Ed McMahon. And my first thought was, "Oh no... these things always happen in threes..." :(

I met McMahon a few years ago at some book event. My grandfather looked remarkably like him and I have a picture of my grandpa on the wall in my living room. A friend was over once and said, "You know, I hate to ask this, but... why do you have a framed picture of Ed McMahon on your wall?" ;) So he has a special place in my heart just for that.

Well, and for Star Search. LOVED that show when I was a kid.

As the evening goes on, I'm sadder and sadder about Michael Jackson.

Jazzygirl said...

Yeah I'm just numb. I was so focused on the Farrah all day. I remember watching Charlie's Angels and loving it so much. I used to run around the house and pose like the Angels did. LOL I was probably in Underoos at the time...shows my age! :)
Like Nikki, I was in love with Michael and Prince. I remember being in sixth grade, wearing my pins of each...those cheap round button type ones. I too feel like a piece of my childhood died. I mean, wasn't he supposed to live forever? I was at work tonight (my part time job) when I got the news. It spread like wildfire. And most people had the same reaction, "Yeah right, stop kidding." It really hit me much harder when I was driving home. Almost every radio station was continually playing MJ songs. And when I flipped through them all, each was playing a different song. It really hit me then HOW much music he made over the years and HOW great he really was. For all the messed up times in his life, I have always remembered what a great, talented musician he was...and just how much of a humanitarian he was too. It's surreal, really.
Nikki, as a tribute to you, this was the first place I came to when I came online just now. Because I knew this would be the best place for me to post my feelings. And when I came on, you didn't let me down when I saw your post about him and Farrah. So you thank you for that. :)

Mike said...

There is a weird feeling about having these big icons of your youth die off. It almost makes you feel old.

yourblindspot said...

I think it's impossible to have grown up in the '70s and '80s and not be affected by all three of these individuals passing on. I, too, have been unexpectedly saddened by Michael's death, in particular. His story is such a mournful one in light of the staggering worldwide notoriety he achieved with his musical career, and I think it is pretty unquestionable that he must finally be at peace now.

I have a terrific special edition cd of his "Off The Wall" album (my favorite of his, even still) that has extra tracks of Quincy Jones talking about their relationship and the recording. The stories are terrific, but the real prizes are the two demo tracks included, both of which were recorded by Michael and his brothers and sister in his basement and include such lo-fi production elements as using empty glass bottles for percussion instruments. They're totally amazing and truly some of the coolest recordings I've ever heard in my life.

I am listening to them right now, and as I do, I have the unshakable mental image of an angel with one sequined wing. RIP, Mac.

Nikki Stafford said...

I drove my daughter to her gymnastics this morning, and I was trying to explain to her how monumental it was that he had died. I flipped on the radio and said, "Watch, I'll find a Michael Jackson song for you" and sure enough, it was the third station I tried. (The rest were on their weather segments.) I switched to a talk radio station I listen to regularly, and they were having their "Good News Fridays," and someone called in and actually said his death was good news. I won't go into why (I'm sure you can all figure it out) but honestly, while this is something people will talk about, can we NOT talk about this the DAY AFTER he died? Which brings me to this...

To the Anonymous poster who keeps trying to leave basically that message on this comments board: First, you are a coward for not posting your real name. Second, 8 men and women have lost their brother, and a man and a woman have lost their son. Let's be respectful and remember him as the extraordinary artist that he was. Leave the judgment and the damnation for later.

Have some respect.

To everyone else: thank you for your comments. I'm actually surprised at how hard this is hitting me. Maybe it's because it happened so suddenly.

Casey S. Pitman said...

Thank you for saying that Nikki. It needed to be said. I understand there are those folks out there who have these types of negative things to say. I also believe that unless they were there and saw Mr. Jackson do some of the things he supposedly did, then they don't really know what happened and have no right to judge him. That's someone else's job. Our job is to mourn the passing of a great talent.

And he was a great talent. Last night I was sulking over the whole thing and had to explain to my girlfriend why I was so shaken. She's seven years younger than me, and wasn't around for MJ's real heyday. I was. I had to explain to her how when I was a kid, there were stars (Bon Jovi, George Michael, etc.), there were superstars (Prince, Madonna), and then there was MICHAEL JACKSON. It didn't get any bigger than that.

Looking around today, do we have any "superstars" as big as he was in the day? Nope. Not a single one. Nobody as universally revered and ubiquitous as he was back then. When I was that age, if you'd given me a chance to meet Jesus or Michael Jackson, I would have gone with MJ in a heartbeat. He wasn't just another star in the sky, and not even the sun in the sky. He was the whole freaking galaxy.

I hope he is truly at peace now.

Anonymous said...

First, you gotta be nuts to leave your name on a blog in this day and age. Second, it is indeed very sad for Michael's family that he passed away. But many of the things in his personal life are also very sad, and you can't just throw them out and act like they didn't happen. The guy was a musical talent, but he was also messed up. That shouldn't be swept under the rug.

Jazzygirl said...

Anonymous, no one is sweeping anything under the rug. We are just expressing our feelings, as we have a right to do. Yes, he had problems. I don't think anyone here would deny that. But we all seem to be coming from the same place here...children of the 80's who lost someone who meant a lot to them. As it was said by many others here, it's not our place to judge. Everyone in life is fighting their own battle. Let the powers that be make the final decision. And I really don't want to get into this but he WAS cleared of the charges. I realize I may be opening up a can of worms with that statement. I'm not going to get into a pissing match about the issue. But IMO, it's a dead issue. As Nikki said, have some respect. The man just died. And while you want to remind us of how many mistakes he may have made, we're here to remind you of many GOOD things he's done for this world (way more than just the music). And I think our side wins.
Nikki, to add/correct your statement: 8 siblings lost their brother, two people lost their son, AND three children lost their dad.

yourblindspot said...

Anonymous: Whatever happened to remembering the art, not the artist? I don't think anyone here is trying to sweep anything under any rug; it's simply a matter of perspective. As a father of two small children, I am not insensitive to the allegations that were leveled against the man, nor am I attempting to gloss them over or act as apologist. Just because I choose to acknowledge the accomplishments of an individual who managed to achieve artistic notoriety to rival that of Elvis freakin' Presley doesn't mean I would have sent my kids to the ranch for a visit.

My point: is there really any reason to call further attention to the obvious? Was there any lack of condemnation during his life, that we feel it necessary to continue to do so once the man is far beyond any earthly effect it might have? And how does that come to bear in any way on an estimation of his artistic achievements?

No one has forgotten the controversies or is attempting to give such behavior a free pass. I am sure any reminiscences of his alleged victims are significantly different than my own. But when someone dies, I try to remember the good that came from their having lived, and I believe most people do the same. Are you saying that you know The Definitive Truth About Him? Because, if so, then you should really save the comments for your sure-to-be-bestselling tell-all memoir rather than posting them here where, to be frank, nobody cares what you think.

Ashlie Hawkins said...

You know, it may sound strange, but I remember thinking about this day years ago...what will the world be like when there is no Michael Jackson? Regardless of your opinions about him, he's a massive part of our pop culture, and it's so bizarre to think that he's gone. He's been around for so long, it's hard to imagine what life was like before him. For me, there was no life before Michael Jackson since I was born in 1982 (and had a tiny red leather jacket at the age of two, my own Michael Jackson calendar and doll among other things - oh how I wish I still had them!!) and now that I'm an adult and he's gone, it's just a very strange day. I think we will only see this kind of loss and grief again when the final Beatle dies...what a strange, sad day that will be. Thank you Nikki for having a forum where people can express their thoughts in a positive, constructive manner (as always!).

Michele said...

I'm really going to show my age now but my first memory of Michael Jackson was him singing the song "Ben." I love that song - been listening to him sing it tonight and it's making me cry.

I can't really classify myself as a big fan but I do admit that he was extremely talented. My sister had the album "Thriller" so I listened to it sometimes. That video still remains one of my all-time favourites.

Unfortunately, there are some people who will ignore all of the good and focus only on the bad.

It reminds me of another big moment in music history. Here I go aging myself even more... but here goes. I was in the car with my Mom, Dad and brother (who was all of 12 at the time) when the news broke on the radio that Elvis Presley had died. Mom and Dad were shocked and getting a bit nostalgic when my brother said..."Good! I won't miss him." I remember getting mad at him for being insensitive but he was (and is) one of those people who love to get everyone riled up. I love my brother but anyone who knows him will recognize him in that situation even though he's 30 years older.

I say...Let's not talk about the bad right now. Let's take a moment to mourn music's loss. Then get out those old albums and celebrate his musical legacy.

asiancolossus said...

Human nature is really strange. During MJ's final years all people could talk about was how odd and strange he was, and grant it, he had his moments, but his genius was totally forgotten about. Now that he is dead, all anyone really talks about (except that SOB congressman, who needs learn about respect) is how much of a genius we have lost. Why is it that we only appreciate the great qualities of someone only when they are gone??

I hope MJ finds the rest he was desperately searching for. Looks like all the medications he was on to deal with his stress finally caught up with him. Sad indeed.