Thursday, June 25, 2009

RIP 1983

I had planned not to post any RIPs for a while. There for a good bit, it was all I posted and I was getting sick of it. There's still a dead folk moratorium in place, but I think I can relax my rule this one time for the sake of the little girl that still resides in my head that gets the odd urge to listen to Thriller from time to time.

Michael Jackson died today. If you're a young person (loosely defined for the sake of this post as someone who was born after the Berlin Wall came down, or someone who has never been alive at a time when Law and Order wasn't on the air) or possibly an older person who wasn't big on pop music back in the day (eg: my dad), you only know Michael Jackson as that progressively whiter kiddie diddler who wasn't quite right in the head. Points 1 and 3-I'll allow that. Speaking as someone who usually is the first one to assume the worst about a person, even I'm a little skeptical of point 2. Personally I think he was just a woefully naive and damaged man that never had a chance to grow up and was taken advantage of by everyone who came into contact with him.

Maybe I'm biased-I'm not post-L&O or my dad, I'm old (or young) enough to have experienced the whole Jackson juggernaut. When I was about seven years old, I had Thriller on constant rotation (even had the damn thing on an 8-Track) and had a poster of him up on the wall. I remember walking around with a big boom box on the playground at school during recess in the second grade with my friends, "Beat It" blasting for anyone within earshot. And we all loved it. Time passed and we moved on to the next thing. The poster came down and Thriller moved to the back of the cassette caddy. Never gave him anymore than a passing thought after that except when he eventually started popping up on the news instead of MTV. Maybe it was because of that brief period of time back in 1983 when I was in the second grade, but while I didn't like him anymore as a performer, the passing thoughts I had while watching the news weren't judgmental, they were feelings of pity.

That's what I felt today after hearing about the last newsworthy thing he'll ever do: pity. Not pity for his death, but for his life. I think this guy, who entertained countless people of a certain age, got royally screwed for his troubles. He became a physically warped and mentally unstable punchline as a result. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe he did molest those boys. If so, I think karma hit him ten times over and it's not my place to carry any hate for the man.

So it goes...

RIP Michael Jackson.