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Comments

Laya

I mean, I knew I loved you, but every so often you remind me why. Thank you for this - I think you put it better than just about anyone I've read/heard.

Dandy Darkly

DANCIN MY ASSSSSSS OFF TO THE I WANT YOU BACK MIX!!!!! Thanks, Rich. xoxo

Adam

As ever, Rich, I agree.

My thoughts on said incident are linked below.

Unfortunately, my post doens't have any snazzy remixes. It does have embedded Liza though, so we'll call it a draw. ;)

gi_janearng

Rich, you are so classy. Well written as always.

I too am in the minority that doesn't believe he actually molested anyone. I think he had such a horrible childhood outside of his time onstage with the Jackson 5 that he indeed, never grew up. It does seem like he had a very childlike mentality and I think his only way to express it was on the same grounds with other kids.

Peppermint

Eloquently expressed, thank you Rich. Very saddened by the passing of this musical icon, and from all days... he died on my birthday. :( At least his memory will live on in the amazing music he left behind.

Rachel D.

I just exited a heated(/idiotic) discussion with co-workers, all of whom damned MJ as a pedophile who "deserved" to die. Your post has restored my sanity.

Thanks - as always - for the eloquent solidarity, Rich.

AJ

Why is it that the best of the entertainment industry always turn out to be the most fragile, least self-actualized beings? What the hell is wrong with this world?

Nico

This was perfect.

Viv

Thank you for this. Beautifully written! It expresses exactly and respectfully my feelings toward the King of Pop. I couldn't have said it better myself!

Vanessa

I was hoping you would post about this. I too am doubtful of the molestation stories as he always struck me as a lost man-child rather than a tormented predator. We'll never know I suppose (but multi-million dollar lawsuits always rightly or wrongly engender skepticism.)

I never liked anything after Thriller and I'm in the minority who considers Off the Wall his best album. I was at the gym when I heard. So surreal.

Hateraid

Well said. His songs are classics, pure and simple. There will never be another.

hi

I do think it's possible that he never sexually abused those children, but the issue is still really complicated, especially as filtered through the media. The common line seems to be, "We will forgive child abuse in this instance because he was talented and famous," which is really disturbing.

jenn

Perfect.

"Even when the groove is dead and gone, you know that love survives."

Kudos on the reference.

beegee

Eloquent, sensitive and appropriate. I love the sentiment. As time passes I think we will realise more and more how much of a loss this is. RIP MJ

Selah

Beautiful tribute. Thanks for posting, Rich.

RIP, Michael!

Kristasphere

You never disappoint me, Rich. Thank you for this wonderful reflection. Thank you also for ALL the laughter and love of music you provide here - you are a joy. Krista

white chocolate

Great post, as usual. Agreed, agreed, agreed.

Queen Lena

I've been having a tough time with this because I can't help but believe the allegations against him, probably because celebrity can get you out of almost any legal mess. That said, I have no desire to desecrate his memory or anything like that because I think he was a sad, flawed man who was also obviously a musical genius. I've taken this chance to listen to "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough" a whole lot because I think it's the greatest dance song ever made, the video is fantastic, and really, that's how I'd to remember him. So thank you for writing a really eloquent and classy post about him.

Joseibi

Thank you Rich. I didn't believe in all the accusations either - what parent would take money from the child's molester?! But yes, unfortunately most people are almost too glad to see a superstar fall from grace.

I am shocked and sad by all this. Despite all the eccentricities I still believe MJ to be an almost sexless harmless little child who is misunderstood by all. I wish people would remember the tremendous musical legacy he left behind - there will be no one like him and I will enjoy his songs for a long time to come.

Rachael

I have been surprised at some of the disgust and anger I've heard from people, because I completely agree with you. I do think he had inappropriate relationships with kids, but not in a sexual sense, or in the way that he'd hurt them. I think in some way he identified more with them, and felt like a kid himself. I think people took advantage of that to get money from him, and that's sad. I was surprised how sad I felt/feel about his passing, and I think it's an amazingly huge loss for the music world.

Sarah

I am one of the few who is already sick of hearing "Thriller" and "Beat It," and who is mourning the loss of actual news coverage while the stations run 24 Hour Death Watch. Suddenly everyone wants to talk about Michael Jackson's "genius," despite the fact that such a word has been largely absent from any discussion of Michael Jackson in the last sixteen years. In a way, I suppose the excessive coverage is a fitting tribute to the media circus spectacle that was so often Michael Jackson's life. It's sad that he died, but it's sad that Farrah Fawcett died, and that Ed McMahon died. It is times like these that I especially appreciate NPR: no matter who dies, they offer a respectful obituary and then move on to the other news of the day. I can think of five artists right now whose work is far more meaningful and creative than Michael Jackson's, but because they have not garnered the same commercial success will not make the six o'clock news when they die. The coverage seems to me to be "grief porn"--a strange mix of possible guilt at having objectified the freak show that MJ so often seemed to be, and of lamentation that MJ went from famous to infamous in such a short period of time. I'm sick of it already.

Bears Are Fat

Rich,

It's difficult to respond to this moment -- and you gesture toward analysis here but ultimately join the zeigeist in a form of 'eulogy.' The music is one thing (though, to be honest, MJJ has two musical periods: with-nose and without-nose -- the latter being rather tragic). But the I think the rest of it is in fact what makes MJJ interesting. So, contra the reflex to avoid the controversies and focus on the brilliant songs, I think what ultimately redeems MJJ and makes him interesting is his ability to defy categories through an abrogation of norms, including sexual ones (e.g.: race, sex, rich/in-debt)... I *like* the idea of him as someone interested in inter-generational sex (shock!) because it comports with his position as pop culture 'trickster': s/he who upsets the sociocultural order, revealing simultaneously its necessity and its arbitrariness.

Other things. Various moments in MJJ history are seared into my mind: the baby dangling incident, the mug shot in 04 or whenever it was (with drooping lower eyelids), Madonna and him on the way to the Oscars, Lisa Marie fucking naked in the 'You are Not Alone' video (ewwww), and, repeatedly, and continuing, his white children. I'm not sure you can, though your effort here is admirable, turn his songs into islands of pop cultural paradise.

Also: I do think that his death now is not unrelated to the global economic crisis. Somehow it all makes sense: but it's a sense that still has to be made (by interpreters such as yourself).

Bears Are Fat

Did my comment disappear -- and why?

Paddy

Thank you Rich.

Chantal Goya

Sarah, who are these 5 artists, pray tell. Please, show us ignorant fans where the "real" music is.

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