Okay, you know how I said in the Farrah Fawcett obit that craziness is almost always forgotten. Yeah…that’s probably not going to be the case with Michael Jackson, who unexpectedly died from sudden cardiac arrest today in Los Angeles at the age of 50.
First, let’s not forget the acclaim. “Thriller”? By far the best-selling album of all-time. In the age of the digital download and micro-purchases, it will most likely always hold that record. Furthermore, his output of pop music continues to stand the test of time with songs like “Billie Jean”, “Beat It”, “Bad”, and even lesser 90s work like “Scream” and “Black or White” marking Jackson’s indisputible contribution to American music and culture. Jackson, who also spent money like a drunken sailor, revolutionized music videos in a way that’s never been eclipsed.
But before we turn him into a saint just because he died, it’s doubtful that the odder elements of Jackson’s life will be forgotten. Much like bios of Elvis are usually noted that he died on the toilet, a bloated pill-popping addict, we don’t say “And now we’re done with Elvis”. No, we acknowledge human foilables. Of course, it’s easier to acknowledge that less-than-graceful exit than Jackson’s controversy of clearly having deep mental issues involving constant plastic surgery and transforming his features from that of a black man to that of a white woman, as well as the “Peter Pan”-syndrome that likely resulted in child molestation.
Of course, the people who couldn’t be happier today are Governor Mark Sanford of Florida [CORRECTION: Sanford is the Governor of South Carolina; I’ve already started to forget him because no other news is important or will ever be important] and the rulers of Iran as the media will likely abuse this story for weeks. Remember what they did with Anna Nicole Smith? And she didn’t even do anything in her life. Jackson, you have an incredible musical legacy combined with unconfirmed-but-highly-likely-accusations that he diddled a couple kids. At the very least, by his own admission, he found no problem sleeping in the same bed with them. And making them wear surgical masks. There was always talk that Jackson would stage a comeback, but you don’t come back from that. If you can come back from that, you can come back from anything.