Perhaps you like Thriller, Beat It, or I Want You Back. Personally, I’ve always liked “Will You Be There?” because, I love Free Willy, spent most of my childhood feeling like a bit of an outsider and being obsessed with whales and I happen to love a few really bad songs.
In fact, my taste in music is something that has always been a subject of sensitivity, (see above: spent childhood as outsider.) My first memory of Michael Jackson was when I was 5 years old, and two girls in Kindergarten asked me who I wanted for President. At the time, my parents listened to mostly David Bowie, Gang of Four, the Smiths and a tape of kid songs about animals they bought for us at the Audubon Society.
I felt distinctly that I had no idea about the tastes of children my own age. Wanting desperately to be liked, and having no idea who I wanted for President, I thought of the coolest, most popular person I knew of.
“Michael Jackson!” I replied enthusiastically. The girls looked at me critically. “He’s not a choice.” Annoyed pause. “Do you want George Bush or Michael Dukakis?” PoliticsFAIL, InsecurityWIN.
Turns out, however, that Michael Jackson might have been plagued by some insecurity as well. (how many nose jobs does it take to get to self-hatred?) Also, reports of his final weeks on earth describe an incredibly frail, underweight man. People.com says that a fan who got to meet him said that he looked on the verge of death, although he was “surrounded by people she deemed too frightened to say anything.”
Her prediction turned out to be correct–he died of a sudden heart failure. And there has been some buzz on the Internet about whether Michael Jackson was anorexic and/or addicted a number of painkilling drugs that were really unsafe. It all adds up. Sudden heart failure is the number one cause of death for long-time anorexics in their 40s and 50s, never mind his “daily cocktail” of medication. And stress about something big, like his upcoming 10 comeback shows, is the kind of thing that would make things take a sudden turn for the worst. (If you’re 5’10” and weigh 100 pounds, you’re not en-route to a comeback.)
So…long story short, I was chilling in my kitchen, listening to the Free Willy theme song and searching the Web for something revolutionary to say about Michael Jackson (but secretly plotting a way to connect my lack of musical hipness to my self-conscious hope that you will read my “unconventional” review of The National concert at the Electric Factory) when I stumbled upon that information.
I felt kind of bad for judging him all these years. Jackson may have done some incredibly messed up things, but he must have lived a life filled with incredible pressure, and probably the belief that he would only be loved if he worked really hard to earn it. And that fear, not really knowing the answer to: “Will You Be There?” caused him to turn on himself. (see above: nose jobs)
I really hadn’t been that sad at all him before. But all of the sudden, I started to feel really sorry for him. I was thinking about poor Michael, thinking about the words to the song, thinking about how amazing it is when that whale jumps over the breakwater, thinking, God, maybe I should have been a marine biologist after all…when the storm came. Literally, it came right through my window and blew everything off the table and the wind was howling and it was saying, “You tried to be cool by going to the Blonde Redhead concert in Prospect Park but the concert is going to get rained out and Michael Jackson is here in spirit!” Or something.
Either way: RIP Michael. I still think you’d make a better president than George Bush or Michael Dukakis.