Friday, June 26, 2009
His heart couldn't...Beat It
Wow, yesterday was not a good day for ageing celebrity icons. Farrah Fawcett sure picked a bad day to check out, kind of like having your birthday on Christmas. Or maybe it was a good day depending on how her survivors feel about media attention.
I was never a big Michael Jackson fan except for the Jackson 5 when I was a kid. One of my best friends had all their 45's and we'd play them until they had no grooves left. When I was around 7 or 8 I remember winning a game of musical chairs at said friend's birthday party and the song she played was by the Jackson 5. Don't ask me how I can remember that and I can't remember where I put my prescription sunglasses. Seriously, they've been gone for almost a week and the sun has finally come out. I lost my keys once, well way more than once, but they were gone for forever and finally turned up inside one of my bike shoes. So yeah, who knows if I'll ever see those glasses again. Anyway, my friend later confessed that she'd rigged the musical chairs game so I would win. At first I was mad but I quickly realized that having the sort of friend who will cheat for you at musical chairs is maybe a pretty good thing to have in life. Maybe if Michael Jackson had had more friends like that as a kid things might have gone better for him.
One other thing I liked and respected about Michael was how he broke through MTV's racial barriers. For those who might be too young to know, prior to his Thriller video MTV played pretty much no black artists whatsoever. Maybe they did once at 3:00 a.m. on a Thursday but for the most part black artists were absent from the airways. I was not a big MTV fan at the time but my friend was and I remember her making a big deal about the 'Thriller' video debut on MTV. We huddled in front of her tiny portable t.v. that you had to smack the side of if you wanted to adjust the volume in her dorm room my freshman year of college and watched the historic debut. It was also a groundbreaking video because it had bits of 'movie' type story mixed in with the music video part. And though I wasn't a fan of his music I had to admit I'd never seen or heard anything like it, especially the dancing. And the video opened the flood gates for black artists and the rest is history.
The rest of his life? Part of me sees him as being a terrible victim of an abusive parent and feels sorry for him. And the other probably bigger part of me feels like 'ick'. For better or worse the world will certainly be a little less weird for his passing.
Strummy doing 'The Thriller'