Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson

There’s probably no more contentious name in all of pop culture than Michael Jackson. His sudden death doesn’t change that. This post isn’t a rehashing of the news stories we all know already, nor is it a defence or attack on his well-known odd personal life. This is just a personal reflection.

I’m probably not someone who could be called a “fan”; in fact, I disliked much of his music in the 1970s. One of my first 45s was the Jackson Five’s “Little Bitty Pretty One”, given to me when I was quite sick, and I played it even though I didn’t exactly like it (oddly, with age, much of that music I now like).

The first and only Michael Jackson album I bought was “Thriller”, at a time when everyone I knew owned a copy. It was the soundtrack for my early years out of university because the songs were, quite literally, everywhere. There were albums I liked more, songs I was more likely to hum to myself, but that album alone was present unlike any other. And, yes, I liked it.

It wasn’t long after that that Michael became, well, weird. We all could see that, and there’s no sense pretending we didn’t. We now know that most or all of Michael’s weird behaviour can be directly traced to a seriously fucked-up childhood and an abusive father. That was Michael’s tragedy.

But his gift to us was genuine feel-good music that permeated our lives, whether we wanted it to or not. Michael Jackson provided the American score for the 80s, a decade that was hugely overshadowed by others, Europeans and Britons especially.

So, Michael is gone, and his own, personal struggles are ended. As a non-fan, I recognise the wealth of what he left behind, music that will endure when most of today’s "hot hits" are long forgotten. We are, whether we admit it or not, whether we like it or not, the richer for it.

Goodbye, Michael. I wish you’d found happiness in this life, but I thank you for the happiness you brought to mine.


Erkin said...

yeah you're right.I grew up listening to his songs, watching his dance. I hope, your songs will live in our generation.. You will be remembered through your music forever. Everybody loves him from all over the world! Rest in peace...

Faethe said...


He was gay. As soon as I saw this and listened to the interview from the gay man who put the book together, everything made sense. Would you come out to a father like Joe Jackson? What would have happened to Michael Jackson if he came out? The black community is not the most forgiving in matters of gender identity.

He tried to stop himself from maturing into the gay male he was. Hence 'Neverland', the protracted adolescence, the attempt to destroy himself.

I thought he was a pederast right up and until I saw the interview explaining how he was gay, took lovers, but never came out. I doubt he ever came out to himself.

That poor fucked up kid, man. His daddy pimped him and would have killed him or died trying if his son would have come out gay. I mean, seriously, Arthur - how in hell could Michael Jackson NOT be gay? Have you seen the portraits he had done of himself? He brought the gay to gay town.

His daddy was willing to stand up for him at his trial for pederasty but would have cut him cold if he knew he was gay. And you know what? His sisters have to know that. The way women are, sisters are - we will find out or we will wear you down until you give up.

His whole problem was that he was in the damn closet and could not come out. Blows my mind.

He should have just moved in with Elton John, used Elton's attorneys and cut himself off from his family or moved to New Zealand - anywhere that Gayness was viewed progressively.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

Welcome back Faethe!! I don't know if Michael was really gay, but he seriously messed up, thanks to his father. I think one thing this whole thing shows is that the "traditional family" isn't necessarily the best thing for children. Not that the right wing will get that.

Faethe said...

Hiya Arthur :) Meh - I don't know anymore. I've been watching this train wreck unfold and I want to have sympathy for the guy. I really liked his music and did see him live a million years ago. If he was a pedo I can't think of him as anything but garbage. Now there's a rumor going around that he was dating a female. No female (that has a shred of credibility) has turned up. I just want to know that he was fucked up but still in the realm of the non felonius. That's OK. But oh my God, Arthur. This makes the whole Diana saga look positively idyllic. I thought Diana was a head case - this guy was... a Jackson. He was Jacksoned. Diana was just a tweety shrieker with marvelous hair. This poor guy - well look at his face.

I am getting no traction at all from ANYONE on whether he was gay or not! No one wants to speculate. Maybe it's because he was so indescribably gross that the idea of him having sex with anyone is just incredible. The BET forums are full of people who are disgusted at the behavior of his family. My Gay friends are just 'no comment'.

Am I hitting some sort of nerve here or does no one care? I know this guy has a mad crazy fan following. I suppose if I went into their forum and typed in all caps DOES ANYONE THINK HE WAS GAY they would chase down my ip address and turn off my internet connection.

I guess speculating that hawt people are gay is OK but not hot people is gross. Seriously, the thought of sex and Michael Jackson in the same sentence is the cure for an otherwise nice day. But I have to know!!!! Why? I have no bloody idea. It would just make him a much more sympathetic character to me. Then he would be sort of the subject of some maudlin opera and I could grieve and tear my clothes and go 'oh it was such a tragedy!'.

And I do think this requires pathos. Just because. What silly bloody thing to obsess over, eh? Lol! Hope things are wonderful you over there in your zone of sanity :) I had a tin of New Zealand corned beef and I my husband got from the Fillipino grocery. Wonderful stuff! I have no idea why but lamb and beef from New Zealand are such a treat. Maybe it's because you have such lovely land for them to feed on?


Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

I have no idea about Michael Jackson's sexuality. I thought of him as just weird and kind of asexual. I also thought his emotional development stopped in childhood somewhere.

There are no doubt plenty of gay people who desperately want him to NOT have been gay (and probably for the same reasons the rightwing wants him to have been gay so they can somehow use him against us). But I think the majority just don't care either way. I know I don't. For most GLBT people, we're just not terribly interested in whether someone is or isn't gay.

There may be talk about hot celebrities, and wishing they were gay, but that's not serious. It's similar to heterosexuals wishing a celebrity was single and attracted to them. Most of the celebrities who really are gay stay closeted, after all.

About the meat from NZ, cattle and sheep are grass fed (we have no feedlots). This also affects our dairy products. Experts swear this makes a difference, but it's also true that the best stuff is exported and we usually get the second-best stuff (which is still excellent).

Faethe said...

Thank you for explaining that :) I wonder why so many people stay in the closet, but then again, I'm not gay. If I was, I imagine being female makes it somewhat easier. As it is, I am Queer, meaning I don't really associate with one team or the other. It's rather opportunistic :p I have never gotten the sort of negative feedback gay people do get. I don't understand it. People are beings whose sexuality is a part of them. I don't understand why that needs define someone's entire character.

Oh. but Arthur the weirdness amped up a notch today with Sarah Palin resigning! I think all this celebrity stuff and bashing about in the new and otherwise is reaching some sort of terminus. People are quitting, dying, or finding something better to do.

And wow - I knew there was a difference with New Zealand meat :) Thank you for explaining why! New Zealand Lamb is the only one I and my husband do eat. There's something about American Lamb that makes it taste gamey. Even if you get second best or non-import quality I am sure it's world's better than what is here.

Happy bye bye British day!