Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and now, Michael Jackson. What a weird week!
I'm not one to really mourn the loss of a celebrity. I shed some tears for Lady Di -- not just because I secretly long to be English, but also because it was just a sad, sad thing; and for Frank Sinatra (my dad's favorite). But Ed? Ed lived a long and amazing life, and it was time for him to go. Farrah? Sad that she lost her battle with cancer, but her struggle helped raise awareness of the disease.
And then there's MJ.
Now, in my experience, people generally fall into one of two camps on the MJ issue: either you love him to death, don't believe any of the child-molestation stuff, and think he is (was) the greatest thing since sliced bread; or you're one who thinks he's a horrible pedophile who escaped justice and paid off families of abused kids.
I'm kind of in the middle. Was he an amazingly talented musician? Yes. Fantastic dancer? Yes. A performer the likes of which we'll probably not see again soon? Again, yes. I think he recorded some of the best songs ever -- Dancin' Machine, Man in the Mirror, Pretty Young Thing, the list goes on and on. But was he a criminal, a pedophile, a child-molestor? I don't know.
What I do know is that he survived a horrible, abusive childhood. I'd guess he was probably molested himself, in addition to the physical and emotional abuse he suffered at the hands of his family. Then you add the fact that he's been in the public eye since what, age five? This is not the recipe for a healthy adulthood, folks. For Pete's sake -- look at Britney Spears. She suffered no abuse that we know of, and spent her early years of fame in the safe arms of Disney, and she STILL became a total trainwreck. I don't think Michael had a fighting chance.
It was pretty clear from the lifestyle he chose that ol' Mike wandered off the res many, many years ago. Neverland Ranch? Uh, yeah, not exactly a swingin' bachelor pad for a twentysomething pop star. Then he started with the plastic surgery; I can only imagine that some sort of torturous self-loathing would drive a need to transform into some weird fantasy verison of a face.
So what else could his death be but a release from all that pain and sadness? I hope he finds peace, wherever his soul has gone -- heaven, hell, or nowhere, depending on your beliefs. I'll remember him as a phenomenal performer who had an undeniable impact on music and culture as a whole.