To be clear, the tribute referenced in the title is most certainly not my tribute. More on that later. But first …
Other than a few initial comments (OK, jokes) following Michael Jackson’s death last week, I’ve remained quiet on the subject, at least publicly. I didn’t know Michael Jackson, so I don’t think I have any real right to overly mourn his death or spend hundreds of words remembering his impact on the world.
Sure, Jackson made some wonderful music that will sound as incredible in 2584 as it did in 1984, and yes he probably made some personal choices that threaten overshadow his musical legacy, but in the end, he was, all physical appearances to the contrary, a human being. He was someone’s son, someone’s friend, someone’s brother, and I guess that, as much as anything has been what’s on my mind — the way a person is remembered in death. In life, we often strip someone, particularly a celebrity, of all shreds of their personality, only to build them back up in the image we see fit after their death.
In Jackson’s case (and granted, much of his public persona was crafted from his own self-imposed weirdness), we built him up, making him the King of Pop, only to celebrate when he fell from the throne in the disgrace surrounding sex scandals and miscellaneous cookiness. For the past 20 years, we’ve talked more about him as a freak than a musical genius, only to be reminded of that after his untimely death.
Maybe we should have noticed a bit earlier, reminded him that odd or not he still made some great songs.
And now, in his death, we get to witness a very public fight between people, one side hailing Jackson the King of Pop, the other railing against Wacko Jacko. While I don’t think the world needs to gloss over the dark sides of Jackson’s downfall, I definitely don’t think people, particularly mindless doofuses on Facebook, should proclaim to be overjoyed now that “another child molester” is dead. Some of the people posting such things have enough skeletons in their past to fill all of Neverland Ranch’s closets, so who are they to cast stones?
So, enough of the rambling. Let’s get to that tribute we can all get behind. This isn’t really about Michael Jackson as much as it is about your life. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, and I hope we can carry its message: