Monday, June 29th, 2009

A Final Thought On Michael Jackson

He's talking about Michael Jackson
Even though I'm someone whose cultural markers were being formed at pretty much the precise moment when Michael Jackson became the biggest entertainer in the world, I'm mostly unmoved by his passing. I mean, I "get" the outpouring of grief and chatter and the rest of it, but I don't really "get it." Or at least I didn't until I saw this "Achewood" cartoon. It makes a hell of a lot more sense now. At least I'm no longer worried that it's a left-wing conspiracy to overshadow Iran.

17 Comments / Post A Comment

KarenUhOh (#19)

It isn't going to hit me until he's spotted at a Burger King in Ypsilanti.

zidaane (#373)

Michael Jackson's Clone is Broke and Living in Tuscon!

wiilliiaamm (#225)

eyes squint….grimace…contempteous air spit…then a brief moment before the tears. Now I am looking for a deal on boxed wine.

Dickdogfood (#650)

Ha, that's complete baloney. Oh, I loved him, I mourned him, but come the f on, I've always felt old, and have never known the "weightlessness of a joy that is blah blah blah" etc. (Wow! Do we live as we dream–alone–too?)

Dickdogfood (#650)

I mean, jeez. If I had me a crayon, I'd color it purple.

Mostly I agree. I've felt great joys but feel it is improved by my tastes of failure. The whole thing leaves me cold. He was part and parcel of the first/last time I tried to get by with the general population and he will always be tainted to me by that.

brent_cox (#40)

This will help me refrain from rolling eyes at the grieving. At least involuntarily.

The Real JR (#34)

The outright sobbing and such baffles me. And then the outrage when there's any mention of the pedophilia allegations is sort of scary, almost cult-like as if he couldn't be a musical genius AND a terrible human being at the same time. Granted, abused childhood and all but that doesn't mean you get a lifetime pass.

I'm not evil, I'm just a mother who tend to feel some sort of way about people looking the other way at really questionable behavior just because he can sing and dance.

Abe Sauer (#148)

In high school, a boy a year younger than me was killed when his truck rolled over on him. (Friday night, cruising the rural midwest backroads, post football game.) He was actually driving right behind me but I didn't learn about it until 1/2 hour later. According to my fried who found him his last words, as he lay half under the truck box, were "Get this thing off me."

Our school held a day of mourning. It was a VERY small school. And most of the HS attended his funeral. People balled and wailed, especially the girls. They were inconsolable. Then everyone went to a field and got drunk. A few boys used the opportunity to feel up some girls who hadn't, until then, allowed themselves to be vulnerable enough.

His name was Greg. I skipped the whole thing and actually went to school. I couldn't understand their extreme grief seeing how they all made fun of him and bullied him all the time. Not one of the girls so aggrieved and torn by his death would have touched him. I can't say that I liked him all that much.

What I saw was everyone using an opportunity to pretend to be caring individuals in a situation where their grief, however seemingly misplaced or overboard, wouldn't be questioned, to pretend to have the depths of humanity they liked to think they had on all the "normal" the days when there was no particular need for it, when it served no purpose.

brent_cox (#40)

Agreed, and sadly the mass-high-school-grief over the stranger's accidental death is far too common, if not nearly universal.

But MJ (or Kurt or Princess Di) seems to be a different (but related) phenomena — something about celebrity, something about public figure tragedy amplified into full-blown personal experience. I'd love to dismiss it all as crazy-people behavior, but I got too many non-crazy-people friends suffering from it. And I was on my heels for a couple days after DFW, so I am not innocent.

Whatever causes it, it's made for some uncomfortable conversations over the weekend.

Maevemealone (#968)

Very similar situation happened in my school. A boy, from a much more hard scrabble life than the majority of students, slipped under the wheels of a bus and was killed. He was often picked on and had few if any friends. I always felt bad for him. I was appalled when a girl I had witnessed publicly tease him on the team bus, where he had no place to escape to, took the day off school to attend his funeral. In hindsight, I hope it was to make up for the cruelty she'd inflicted on him, but I couldn't help but feel she just took the chance to ditch school.

propertius (#361)

Your fourth paragraph captures so much of human behavior.

olmucky (#542)

I think the people who feel sad about Michael do so because they feel partially responsible for his death.

Tulletilsynet (#333)

That could be true. It might be interesting to test the hypothesis. If we could determine that people who feel a strange lack of responsibility for Michael Jackson's death are also less hysterically sad than the average citizen right now, then you might be right. A show of hands?

David (#192)

The thing with Michael Jackson having died at the start of Gay Pride weekend this year is that for those newly converted and feeling-proud– they will now forever associate his music with their experience this weekend, as everywhere that one could overhear music this weekend, it was Michael Jackson 24/7.

Dickdogfood (#650)

I think y'all are entertaining some pretty specious ideas of how and why people grieve over things, and it bugs me IT SEEMS LIKE A RATHER UH DEFENSIVE POSTURE in the face of something not unnervingly irrational. Simple single-sourced explanations for grieving ultimately crumble upon analysis: Do I cry over Madame Bovary's death because I feel responsible? Is the loss of the World Trade Center (and I mean the towers, not the people) so sad to me because it reminds me of my lost youth? Do I cry over a lost pet because I want to show some unseen unamed that I really really care? And so on.

If we cried only for good reasons–rather than merely "socially acceptable" ones–we wouldn't cry at all.

missdelite (#625)

If a woman shrugs instead of cries over someone's death – even a stranger's – she's labeled a cold, callous bitch.

Most of us try to avoid that stigma.

Quite possibly, it's the same reason why we fake orgasms.

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