I was recently asked how Michael Jackson‘s death affected me. I had to be honest and report that it really had not impacted my life. I did feel bad that he had died at such a young age, but I would feel the same about the death of anyone who did not deserve to die.
Sure, I like some of his music and I thought Thriller had a rather kick ass video (especially since it had Vincent Price). However, I am not related to him I never met him in person, and never even exchanged emails with him. As such, I have no meaningful connection to him that would warrant a powerful emotional response to his untimely death.
Obviously enough, many people who did not know him personally have been devastated by his death. This is, most likely, because they attached great importance to him and he was somehow very significant in their lives. Some people can form such one way emotional bonds to someone who would not know them from Adam or Eve. In my own case, I only form strong attachments to people I actually know and expect the attachment to be reciprocated. Otherwise, the relationship would seem to be something of an illusion and a fantasy. But, perhaps that is a harsh thing to say.
Speaking of fantasy, I did see clips of Al Sharpton talking about Michael Jackson. Oddly enough, he claimed that Jackson somehow paved the way for Obama and presented Jackson as a figure of great social and political significance. While I do agree that Jackson was a talented performer, it seems inaccurate to cast him as paving the way for Obama. Jackson did not, as an adult, have to smash down racial barriers to become a star. He also did not seem to do much to fight against injustice and social ills in America. Rather, he seemed to be a rather typical (if very odd) celebrity: he spent lavishly on himself (and to buy his way out of lawsuits). Yes, he should be praised and honored for his work as a performer but it is absurd to present him as someone who changed the political and social fabric of America. Of course, I am open to evidence that he did have such an impact.
Speaking of the absurd, I also saw the clips of Joseph Jackson trying to use the publicity of his son’s death to push his latest scheme. While people do grieve in different ways, anyone with a sense of decency would realize that a son’s death should not be exploited to publicize a scheme. Not surprisingly, there has been a great deal of criticism about his actions. While I do not know the man, this latest shameless act seems consistent with what has been said about his character. If these claims are true, it certainly explains a great deal about Michael Jackson.
Finally, it seems that both Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are vying for a place in the spotlight gleaming down upon Michael Jackson’s death. While these two men might be honestly concerned about the families, one might suspect that they are primarily drawn by the publicity. But perhaps that is unfair. Or perhaps it is dead on.
I do, of course, feel sorry for Michael Jackson’s children. They lost their father and are now in the middle of a rather wild circus. I can only imagine just how odd their lives will be.
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