Michael Jackson has died

Posted on June 25, 2009

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Just a short time ago, the LA Times and the Associated Press reported that, after being rushing by paramedics to the UCLA Medical Center in cardiac arrest, Michael Jackson has died. It’s a sad end to the strange story of the man dubbed the “King of Pop” and thought by many to be the most famous man in the world. It’s a little more sad when you consider Jackson’s upcoming concert tour, which Jackson was reportedly looking forward to with great excitement as a reboot of his long-dormant music career.

Michael Jackson, in many ways, embodied in full America’s, indeed the world’s, obsession with celebrity. His stratospheric popularity and adoration were overshadowed later in his career with allegations of child abuse and episodes of bizarre behavior, which the press, both tabloid and mainstream, voraciously devoured and regurgitated to a world that at times could not tear itself away from the spectacle.

Despite the child abuse allegations, the ever-changing visage, the millions of jokes, and his general creepiness over the last few years, one thing cannot be denied and should not be forgotten – Michael Jackson was an immensely talented musician and performing artist. He led the Jackson 5 even as a boy, and his music in the 80’s and early 90’s reshaped the pop music landscape forever. Thriller will undoubtedly remain one of the most popular and most well-received albums ever. Musicians and industry insiders recognize his importance to American music. This odd dichotomy between disgust for the man and respect for the entertainer led to a disjointed ambivalence with which many came to regard Jackson.

As a child that grew up in the 80’s, Michael Jackson has for the duration of my cognizant existence been in the cultural discussion. In a funny way, although I’m not a huge fan of his, his passing means the end of a sort of era for me, and I find myself saddened in a fashion that most celebrities’ deaths don’t evoke in me. Part of the sadness stems from the immense talent that was put to waste the last several years of his life both through his own fault and the fault of others, and the knowledge that Michael Jackson, who in many ways was a decent person, was haunted and ruined by the same fame that caused him to be loved and adored by so many.

As Drudge is reporting, the King is Dead, and no matter what opinion one has of the man as a person, the loss of his musical talent and ability to entertain deserves a moment of reflection. The book has closed on the chapter of Michael Jackson, and I hope his soul finds more peace in the next world than it found here.

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Posted in: Entertainment, News