Donâ€™t think Michael Jacksonâ€™s death was a tragedy. He was 50, old enough to have outlived many of my friends and relatives. His best work was in the 1980s, so heâ€™s not leaving behind unfinished business, either. Anyoneâ€™s death is sad, but the alleged drug overdose of an alleged pedophile doesnâ€™t get me worked up in the same way as, say, the murder of a sorority sister a decade ago, a pediatrician who worked at a mobile health clinic serving children of migrant farm workers in the Salinas Valley, stabbed by someone she hired to clean her carpets, a murderer so stupid he was caught because he kept using her credit cards.
That death was a fucking tragedy, and it still breaks my heart to think of it. I cannot imagine the pain that her husband and parents and siblings suffer every single day.
I own Thriller and Off the Wall — both on vinyl, both amazing albums — and an MP3 of Rhymefestâ€™s â€œMan in the Mirror.â€ Jackson was a freakazoid, but he was an outstanding musician, just as Bill Clinton was a philandering scumbag and an excellent president. Most of us at Popdose are middle-class, and most of us were raised with the middle-class, Boy Scout ethos that hard work and upright behavior are the keys to success. I believe in it too, but I also recognize that thereâ€™s an enormous difference between middle-class accomplishment and what it takes to be a great president or the King of Pop (self-anointed or otherwise).
Michael Jackson had greater flaws than most of us, but he also produced greater art that most of us ever will. Death didnâ€™t make him a better person, just as his life didn’t make him a lesser artist.