Yesterday was a busy day for the Internets. At 3:40pm I got two text messages informing me Michael Jackson died. Sure enough, NPR was playing a tribute to the King of Pop and news websites were crashing one after another.
Though I was never a real fan of Michael Jackson (I'm not a real fan of much...) I did appreciate the groundbreaking music and music videos he produced. My first boyfriend had every music video on DVD and friends have made CDs for me with MJs work on it. As great as he was on stage and on TV, his life was one long tragedy. I was sad to learn of his lost childhood, how he yearned for a life like Peter Pan's so much so that he named his retreat Neverland Ranch, how his parents treated him when he was a money-making pre-teen. I didn't know what to think when the allegations of child abuse surfaced, especially in light of accusations that one boy's father wanted money for a screenplay. I pitied the poor man who was so self conscious of his own image that he changed the color of his skin and tried on several different noses, never satisfied, never living a day in perceived safety.
No one should be at all surprised at Michael Jackson's ways; when a child is forced to grow up not only at such a young age but in a spotlight and with an emotionally (sometimes physically) abusive father he is not going to be a well adjusted adult. MJ was most likely simply a sensitive, scared man deluded into thinking he can buy back his lost childhood and buy better childhoods for children so they wouldn't have to endure the same misery he did. While it was certainly inappropriate for him to share a bed with kids I doubt there was anything sexual going on. He probably thought for a few moments he was a kid at a sleepover and was doing normal things that boys do on sleepovers. I'm sure he pitied his own kids because of the life they had to lead because of who their father was, and the irony of that is they will never have the normal life he so desperately wanted for himself and for children everywhere.
Back to my first sentence... We were expecting the death of Farrah Fawcett. Unfortunately for her family and fans her death lay in the shadows of Michael Jackson's. But Michael was a man of today, and Farrah was a woman of yesterday, and Michael was, in fact, the King of Pop. God rest them both in peace.