Thursday, June 25, 2009

Man in the Mirror's final curtain call - Michael Jackson, gone at 50

I was asleep on the couch today when my youngest son called at 6:23 p.m. to ask had I heard that Michael Jackson had died. I thought I was dreaming. I turned on CNN and there was Wolf Blitzer saying they couldn't confirm it. I switched to CBS - and there was Katie Couric saying it was so. I started to cry.



My oldest son, who just celebrated his 28th birthday a week ago, was just a year-old when Thriller came out. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was still in the Navy, we were living in beautiful Key West and yes, I was still clubbin' - dancing the night away to that album (think what you like, I don't front). He was still "Black and Beautiful" then, but his appearance was starting to change. That didn't matter much to me though because, IMHO, he was a musical genius with magic feet - and he was OURS.

I absolutely loathe Jeffrey Toobin. I don't think there's a person on this earth that doesn't know, or have their own opinion about, the child molestation trial, the settlements - all of it. But, among all the panelists on CNN talking about Michael's CAREER, Toobin was the only one who continuously marginalized the MAN, talking only of his "unhealthy relationships with children" and the fact that the money Michael had made was not necessarily due to his talent, but because he'd bought the Beatles catalogue! Ass-wipe!

My heart's been so heavy lately just thinking about my people and this surreal, allegedly post-racial age of the Changeling. I've been trying to write about it, but it's been difficult. Michael's death today has made it that much harder because for the second time in 52 years - mortality speaks. As I talked to my son, all I could do was cry. He kept asking me what was the matter. I tried to explain it to him, but there just - were no - words.

I'm still cryin' ya'll. Maybe I'll be able to 'splain it later on. For now, hoping the YouTube links still work...(Remember Alfonso Ribiero in this?)



And one of my favorites among many:



You can rest now Michael.

12 comments:

cannibaleater said...

Never visited your blog before, but found you when I googled "Michael Jackson Jeffrey Toobin asshole." I was also watching this afternoon. I understand the unsavory aspects of Jackson should not be avoided. I also understand that he had a wretched and miserable childhood which was reflected in his adulthood. Which of course doesn't excuse any misdeeds. Toobin is such a ravenous cocknocker he couldn't wait until the corpse cooled before enthusiastically feasting. The news had just broke, for shit's sake. I was relieved when CNN had the good sense to pull him from the rest of the segment after the first break. The discomfit he created among the panel and commentators was clearly palpable. Wholly pissed me off too.

Like many people, I grew up on the Jackson 5 and was a HS sophmore when Thriller ruled the world. I am absolutely heartsick. The world has lost Michael Jackson. Brightness has fallen from the air.

Thanks for the post.

Deb said...

cannibaleater...Welcome and you're welcome! I've not been posting much lately but I just had to speak to the incredible sense of loss I was feeling right then. Glad to see there are others who both saw and felt what I did!!

And I noticed his removal too!! I told my husband, "He must've pissed other people off besides me, because after the commercial break, his ass was gone from the panel!"

That he, who crawled from obscurity and rode O.J.'s ass to some semblance of relevance (to the incredibly shallow MSM anyway) felt the need to "feast" before people even had a chance to digest the horrible news speaks volumes. I, too, was glad they shut him down when they did.

I just kept thinking all day how - from giggling with my little friends talkin' about which one of the Jackson 5 would be our boyfriends when they first came out (as if!), to today when he left us - I'd been alive to witness the musical genius of his entire career (he was only 2 yrs. younger than I am)! It just blows my damn mind!

Before them, we were hard-pressed to see talented Black folks on TV. Even today, I can't think of any of the younguns who come close to the performer that Michael Jackson was. I'm heartsick right there with you.

Thanks for dropping in - come back any time.

cannibaleater said...

Deb,

Thanks for your reply and warm welcome.

>Glad to see there are others who both saw and felt what I did!!

Only too keenly. I briefly checked out Fox, and was surprised by the sympathetic tone of the coverage. (Greta was on @ the time, I steered clear of O'Really and Shlong Hannity) Even the most rabid of conservative and snarky celeb gossip sites have treated MJ with respect and reverance. For the now, at least.

>That he, who crawled from obscurity and rode O.J.'s ass to some semblance of relevance

Yeah, Toobin is a pustule in need of draining for sure.

I first fell in love with MJ when I was just a wee girl and he sang "Ben." My older sister played it for me and his beautifully precocious rendering of that song made us both cry. Didn't even know what the movie was about. I'll never forget how deeply touched I was by the earnestness in his voice. I used to pretend I was a Jackson and always loved sweet lil MJ best. He kindled a few sparks in my teenage loins and later set my imagination on fire with his incomparable moves and music.

>Before them, we were hard-pressed to see talented Black folks on TV.

Too true.

>I can't think of any of the younguns who come close to the performer that Michael Jackson was.

I agree. Truly the last of the great song and dance men. His passing is the end of an era. His influence can easily be seen in these younger generations though in a technical sort of way, if you know what I mean. MJ had a manifest musical and overall artistic genius, like Mozart.

Y'know, after the news first broke today, I read that the Internet almost ground to a halt. Several large web servers crashed. The next week or so will be crazed with the autopsy findings, tributes, funeral, and other sundry items of info that will surface and probably be ugly.

I was glued to the tube and was glad for the coverage of the joyful mourners that had gathered outside the Apollo, singing his songs and dancing in celebration of his life. Wonderful.

I'll look forward to checking out the rest of your blog. I'm gonna go listen to "Ben" before I finally turn in.

Cheers, and good night.

Deb said...

cannibaleater...I swear, all I did last night was watch BET's Michael Jackson Marathon of videos (I knew they'd be good for something again one day!)

I've not watched FOX news consistently for some time. Hell, I'm watching less and less news period these days! :-) That certainly is different for them though. But as you say, I believe it is - "for the now."

As you share your memories of Michael, I can't help but smile at how much more "change" he brought to this world with his music than Obama ever could.

"His influence can easily be seen in these younger generations though in a technical sort of way, if you know what I mean."

I know exactly what you mean. More often than not, I see more a conquering of a skill, rather than a deep and abiding connection to the art. I think that's why a lot of us see him as the "last great song and dance man."

Yeah, I expect it to get pretty ugly. It already has. Everybody and their Mama's on the tube, the radio and the internet, some in sincerity and others just doing their usual "publicity pimp" acts. Such is life I guess. I just wish they'd stop with all the "Breaking News" shit if they really have no - breaking news! So annoying.

Funny you should mention the Apollo. We were watching CNN go from Harlem to UCLA and I told my husband, "Now the Apollo is where I'd like to be right now!" :-)

I've got to get back into the swing of writing more often. Not only is it therapeutic, I'm rewarded with some really great conversations when I do!

Again, thanks for dropping in. 'Nite.

cannibaleater said...

Hey Deb,

Don't know about you, but I'm still given to periods of wet, snotty bawling! I've tuned in to BET also, and will watch CNN's Man In The Mirror special Sat. night.

Wanted to share this article with you, perhaps you've seen it -

http://tinyurl.com/m26gow
At first I'm thinking, "You limey bastard." He won me over in the end, and made me cry yet again, dammit.

I always get what I consider to be legitimate news from the web. Every once in a while I tune into CNN/CNBC/FOX etc., to see how they attempt to polish certain turds.

One said turd namely being the "Changeling" as you so cleverly call him. Obamanation is Bush Light, just another pre-assembled, installed company man. All whores, all the time, IMHO. I reject gov't as a legitimate and indeed moral form of social order. I am a proponent of free market anarcho-capitalism.

>I've got to get back into the swing of writing more often.

You absolutely should blog on, citizen journalist! I've read a few of your posts so far, and have enjoyed them very much. I will definitely be back to consume more.

So, thanks to our mutual loathing of that toerag Jeffy Toolbin, I was led here :)

Take care.

ea said...

I'll make a short comment here and another on the Farrah post.

I'm haven't been a big follower of pop music since I was in college. I do recall loads of people gathering in the dorm lounge because the "Thriller" video was going to air. And moonwalking was just plain cool.

Given that--and not to be unsympathetic--but the deaths of famous people generally do not move me. I always wonder why a particular death should be any more meaningful or noteworthy than another to someone other than a close friend or family member of the decedent. Death is the great equalizer, but it is not equal.

ea said...

Not being a follower of pop music during Mr. Jackson's highest profile time period, I did not appreciate how global his admiration was until seeing news bits about tributes everywhere.

I am not one to try to pick out what is celebrity worship and what is true gratitude for something received through his music and philanthropy.

I think what is happening now with rumours and "controversies" about the man is sad and to some degree shameful. The family should be left in peace.

Deb said...

Hey ea!!! I have been pretty much out-of-pocket for the last month or so (went home to Fl, then to TX, back to FL, then to my niece's wedding in MN on July 4th).

You said:

"Given that--and not to be unsympathetic--but the deaths of famous people generally do not move me. I always wonder why a particular death should be any more meaningful or noteworthy than another to someone other than a close friend or family member of the decedent. Death is the great equalizer, but it is not equal.
"


I guess I can understand how someone, not Black, who did not grow up enduring the remnants of slave codes, and Jim Crow, and segregation, and lynchings, and marginalization in this country - particularly in the South - might not get what Michael meant to those of us who are and have. Hell, my own son couldn't understand why I couldn't stop crying! And that's not necessarily due to some generational thing, but more to do with the interracial thing into which he was born.

Though he was, bar none, an incredible "entertainer" and IMHO, the last of the great showmen of our time, for me and many of us - he was us, and we were him, ea (I'm still trying to write that post to explain it).

Death should be the great equalizer, but even in death - they won't "leave him alone." And if you're talking about death not being equal in terms of celebrity treatment, that is true - for all races I think. But that's just not what Michael's death was to us, given what he gave our people. Hope to be done with that post this weekend. Come back and take a look and we can talk more about it.

ea said...

I hope you enjoyed your travels. I think a lot of what someone means to a person is the connection. I was into Sweet Honey in the Rock when I was younger, not Michael Jackson. I will probably shed a few tears when Bernice Johnson Reagan passes. I am getting a little teary right now and have a burn in my chest--because I can feel it. And I haven't bought one of their albums in years.

Another example--I wasn't into Selena, but I have probably six Mercedes Sosa albums (cassettes and one CD). Different circles, as it were.

Deb said...

ea...I really, really did! !El abrazo de la familia era exactamente lo que necesité! And when we all went to the wedding in MN, his huge family made it even better!

" I think a lot of what someone means to a person is the connection."

That's exactly right! I like Sweet Honey in the Rock as well, but the connection to Michael was greater because we were so close in age and he was actually doing what many of us dreamed of in terms of breaking down racial barriers. And try as they might (and they did try), they couldn't stop him.

I lived in San Antonio when Selena died. The outpouring for her from the Latino community mirrored what we saw for Michael Jackson. As you said, it's what someone means to a person.

Honestly, I don't know Mercedes Sosa, or for that matter, many other Latino artists - different circles as it were. :-) But there are a few who entered the American mainstream that I do like - Célia Cruz, Tito Puente, Carlos Santana, some Buea Vista Social Club - Shakira! Once I get settled in Texas, though, I plan on remedying that by broadening my musical horizons. :-)

ea said...

Bueno, me alegra que estás revigorizada, mujer. Digame este. ¿Te hice poco triste o sufriste que el Michael Jackson aclaró su piel y cambió su nariz?

Deb said...

ea...Just doing a little catch-up. The answer to your question is NO, - porque lo entiendo totalmente. Más en eso en otro poste.

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