28 June 2009

Michael Jackson

Isn't it funny what a difference just a few years can make?

I've been watching various retrospectives on the life of Michael Jackson this weekend, mostly because I promised myself that I would do nothing more strenuous than sleeping and breathing all weekend (had a bad week; lost a child abuse trial).

Michael unveiled the moonwalk in 1982, the year after I was born. People just a few years older than I am remember the Michael of the Jackson 5, and the Michael of "Billie Jean" and "Thriller." I was only three years old in 1984, when Michael's hair caught on fire while he was filming a Pepsi commercial. It was after this, apparently, when his obsession with plastic surgery began, and when he idiosyncracies started to appear.

What do I remember about Michael Jackson? Of course, I remember the first time I saw the moonwalk. And like everyone else, I was awed by it. But, by the time I was aware enough to choose the music I listened to, and to choose what I watched on television, Michael Jackson was this weirdo who sang that one song from "Free Willy" that everyone knew the words to.

Years went on and he married Lisa Marie Presley, and there was that weird kiss at the VMAs. And then he was accused of child molestation. He caked on more and more makeup, and his nose got smaller and smaller until it seemed it would just fall off (and who knows...maybe it did). Michael became more and more reclusive, the result of which was that he just seemed weirder and weirder. And then he named his third child "Blanket" and hung him over a fourth-floor balcony railing so the paparazzi could see the baby...only not his face, because that was covered with...wait, what? A blanket.

Then, when I was in the middle of law school, he was again accused of child molestation, only this time, I was particularly interested because...well, because I was in law school. We would spend lunch hours watching trial coverage on Court TV. I was devastated when he was found not-guilty. What is it with California juries? I'm sure glad I don't prosecute there. Overwhelming evidence + a camera in the courtroom = acquittal every time.

What do I think about Michael Jackson's death? Well, maybe because I was too young to ever love him, or particularly love his music, I'm not particularly affected. Sure, the guy was talented - spectacularly so. And of course, he broke down barriers and invented new styles of music and dance. But to me, he's a pedophile who was never made to take responsibility for whatever damage he caused. And he was a man who looked increasingly feminine, and then just plain strange. He had too much plastic surgery, too much money, and too much control over the people around him, all of which resulted in too much medication, and likely, his death.

Maybe the purpose for his death is so that the family and friends mourning Farrah Fawcett and Ed McMahon could do so in peace.