Join 3,520 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Michael Jackson, Dead at 50
June 25, 2009 3:56 PM   Subscribe

Michael Jackson, the undisputed King of Pop, has died of cardiac arrest in Los Angeles, California. He was 50 years old.

Jackson, who grew up in a troubled and abusive home, first gained fame as the youngest member of the Jackson 5, comprised of him and his siblings and managed by his father. During their carreer, the group would have numerous hits to their credit, not least of all Never Can Say Goodbye, I'll Be There, and ABC. Jackson would leave, pursuing a solo carreer in 1975.

While his first album Off the Wall produced his first solo hit, Don't Stop Til You Get Enough, his rocket to iconic status was cemented with the release of Thriller. The video to the title song would become legendary, and the album itself was a plethora of hits. It moved by some estimates 109 million units, and has been called the best selling album of all time. Not to mention the fact that one song from the album, Billie Jean, inspired a historic moment in television history.

Jackson followed this success with continued recordings, none of them achieving quite the level of success of Thriller but selling well nonetheless. He married Lisa Marie Presley in 1993, but would divorce two years later. The timing of the wedding was under a cloud of suspicion, as he was accused of having sexual assaulted a 13-year-old boy, prompting a lengthy and ultimately very expensive lawsuit. Eccentric behavior and multiple plastic surgeries made Jackson the butt of many jokes, and his finances began to fall apart, prompting the auctioning of much of his property and the sale of his famed Neverland Ranch.

At the time of his death, Jackson was preparing for a 50-show run in the UK. Despite his lesser moments, Jackson also did give tirelessly to charity, and his songwriting ability is without question. His influence on pop music will last for years to come.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing (853 comments total) 107 users marked this as a favorite

 
Look down
posted by bizwank at 3:57 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by Rumple at 3:57 PM on June 25, 2009



posted by FritoKAL at 3:58 PM on June 25, 2009


Thanks, MStPT. A worthy obit post.
posted by athenian at 3:58 PM on June 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


I presume this is the intended snark-free version....
posted by Rumple at 3:58 PM on June 25, 2009


I don't care if the other undeleted one has almost three hundred comments. This one is proper.
posted by Ruki at 3:58 PM on June 25, 2009 [10 favorites]


I think Cortex's brain just exploded.
posted by IanMorr at 3:58 PM on June 25, 2009


My guess is both FPPs will stay. BECAUSE IT IS THAT HISTORIC!
posted by Christ, what an asshole at 3:58 PM on June 25, 2009


The history of Michael Jackson's face.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:59 PM on June 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think Marisa was probably well aware of the post below, but decided to do something proper, given that the other post was un-incredible and had some truly appalling comments in it.
posted by kbanas at 3:59 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


.
posted by lapolla at 3:59 PM on June 25, 2009


(I hope this one stays, it's better.)
posted by spiderskull at 4:00 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


.
posted by bouvin at 4:00 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


My guess is both FPPs will stay. BECAUSE IT IS THAT HISTORIC!

This one can be for all business in the front for the squares, while the other can be totally party in the back for the cool kids.
posted by bunnytricks at 4:00 PM on June 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


.
posted by WPW at 4:00 PM on June 25, 2009


say what you want about him ... i still think his death makes the world a sadder place.

.
posted by lester at 4:01 PM on June 25, 2009


If I have a vote, why don't we just keep both. How many times will this happen?
posted by wittgenstein at 4:01 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by darsh at 4:01 PM on June 25, 2009


Nicely done MSTPT. I had the yellow cardigan poster on my wall as a kid. It's weird when your childhood idols die. Is this what it feels like to get old?
posted by shiu mai baby at 4:01 PM on June 25, 2009


A comprehensive and worthy obit. Thank you.

Long live the king.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 4:01 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by headspace at 4:02 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by MasonDixon at 4:02 PM on June 25, 2009


.


Thanks MSTPT.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:02 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by humanfont at 4:02 PM on June 25, 2009


See, there's a reason the news sites have pre-written obits for major figures.
posted by subbes at 4:03 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


.
posted by wiretap at 4:03 PM on June 25, 2009


Pssst: Your "troubled and abusive home" link goes to a picture of Madonna and Britney Spears kissing. No Michael Jackson clip on that page.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:03 PM on June 25, 2009


Pretty pretty pretty please keep this post?
posted by deadmessenger at 4:03 PM on June 25, 2009


I have to wonder, is this (minus the obsessive refreshing of CNN.com) what Elvis's death was like for my parents' generation? A similar young rise to stardom, a (somewhat) similar fall from grace (though certainly less so in Elvis' case).
posted by FritoKAL at 4:04 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Twiddley Diddley Deet
posted by fixedgear at 4:04 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


.
posted by rkent at 4:04 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by yeloson at 4:05 PM on June 25, 2009


(In case the other obit gets deleted)

Thriller was the first album I owned.

I'm moonwalking right now.

.
posted by chillmost at 4:05 PM on June 25, 2009


Okay, let's see if 82792 will be another obit post...
posted by spiderskull at 4:05 PM on June 25, 2009


He's going to be annoyed when he reaches the Pearly Gates and Peter asks him for an autograph.

.
posted by jamstigator at 4:05 PM on June 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


Whoops, that's 82792.
posted by spiderskull at 4:05 PM on June 25, 2009


Can we keep this one, and try and make it somewhat representative of what Metafilter should be about?

.
posted by fire&wings at 4:05 PM on June 25, 2009


This is the keeper.
posted by cortex at 4:06 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ever since I moved to Mexico 8 months ago, the crazy kid who lives upstairs seemed to have recently discovered MJ and has been playing MJ incessantly at real loud volumes. At first it was annoying, and then distracting, and now I'm just resigned to it. The funny thing is I hadn't heard or thought about MJ for years till now.
posted by dhruva at 4:06 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


He was a lover, not a fighter.

.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:07 PM on June 25, 2009


Oh, Cortex, give us one more chance.
posted by gerryblog at 4:07 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I apologize for my early knee-jerk snark at yet another MJ post, as this one is clearly the best so far. I'm forcing my office to listen to Thriller right now.
posted by bizwank at 4:07 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by gomichild at 4:07 PM on June 25, 2009


.
The King is dead!
posted by Capt Jingo at 4:08 PM on June 25, 2009


First, MJ dies, then cortex chases us all over the blue. When will the tragedy end?
posted by The Deej at 4:08 PM on June 25, 2009


Re-posting -

He's one of those guys that I never ever thought would die. He wasn't a person to me, until just now.. He was some sort of icon, snippets of media.

Jackson 5, pepsi ads, his hair on fire, thriller on mtv, moonwalker, that bizarre video with the exploding cars, mcauly caulkin, neverland, his nose, his marriage, kids and exile..


But he wasn't a person until just now...

It's like as if god was an awesome musician but then got old and crazy, moved to dubai, and then had a heart attack..

Or something like that.
posted by Lord_Pall at 4:08 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 4:08 PM on June 25, 2009


Fat Beats Radio on EVR is playing a non-stop mix of Michael Jackson listen live.
posted by geoff. at 4:08 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


.
posted by hippybear at 4:08 PM on June 25, 2009


I wonder how his estate will play out any subsequential releases of his music? I hope they treat it with reverence, rather than shilling it to ad nausem.
posted by captainsohler at 4:08 PM on June 25, 2009


___________________ .






(cuz it moonwalked, you see)
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:08 PM on June 25, 2009 [59 favorites]


Walking on the moon.
posted by furtive at 4:08 PM on June 25, 2009


I'm just glad he's with his peers now.
posted by benzenedream at 4:08 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


He was not the "undisputed King of Pop." King of Pop was a title he gave to himself and "ordered" MTV to use when referring to him.

Nevertheless, you can't deny his impact on pop music. RIP Michael.
posted by Oriole Adams at 4:08 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


.
posted by djduckie at 4:08 PM on June 25, 2009


This is the keeper.
posted by cortex


I'm glad. Jackson was a troubled individual, but his music is still incredible. Thriller is the epitome of what pop is all about, and there's no doubt of its traces in the stuff we listen to today (including so much of what's outside the mainstream).
posted by spiderskull at 4:09 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, just to get things organized, here is the previous not-terrible-but-not-good post, which has some early speculation, and there's also a metatalk thread.
posted by cortex at 4:09 PM on June 25, 2009


A collection of video interviews with Michael.
posted by elpapacito at 4:09 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thank you for the excellent obit post.
.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:09 PM on June 25, 2009


loved you, man.

.
posted by lunit at 4:09 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


The "troubled and abusive home" link should be this, sorry about that.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:09 PM on June 25, 2009


~.
posted by Floydd at 4:09 PM on June 25, 2009


Because I want my comments preserved in posterity ... from the previous thread:

This is what I'll remember of Michael:

1. My first 45 (yes 45) was "Dancing Machine" and my cousins and I wore that record out and did the Robot at every family barbecue for an entire summer.
2. My first kiss occurred while at a friend's birthday party. I was dancing with the boy to "Got to Be There."
3. One of my first concerts was Michael at Madison Square Garden. I don't even want to know what my parents had to do to get those tickets.
4. He still, in my opinion, made some of the best music in my lifetime.

If we go about examining the lives of some of our best artists, we'd be hard-pressed to find one whose life was without complications. (Miles beat the shit out of women; Jimmi was an addict, etc.) I'm not apologizing for Michael's behaviors but I'm thankful for the body of work he left behind.


.



posted by notjustfoxybrown at 3:44 PM on June 25 [+] [!]
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 4:09 PM on June 25, 2009 [8 favorites]


I'm a little surprised at how affected I am by this - I haven't been a fan since I was 12.
posted by never used baby shoes
[deleted thread]

The same feeling, never used baby shoes.

My brother and I were big into MJ about that time. We listened to his music on 8-tracks. My brother learned the moonwalk before I did, and consistently wowed all the parents at all those weddings we had to go to. The little bastard was amazing.

It would be cool if Thrill the World did something nice with this. Skew it as some kind of organized tribute. That could be amazing.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 4:09 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by TheClonusHorror at 4:10 PM on June 25, 2009


Wow. I couldn't have anticipated how sad this has made me. Chris Cornell recently recorded an acoustic cover of Billi Jean that is worth listening to, especially in the light of this tragic news.


.
posted by inconsequentialist at 4:10 PM on June 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


Good call cortex.
posted by WPW at 4:10 PM on June 25, 2009


subbes: "See, there's a reason the news sites have pre-written obits for major figures."

For fifty year olds? I don't think that Jackson was high on anyone's death watch list.
posted by octothorpe at 4:10 PM on June 25, 2009


Seems to me that he was totally deprived of a childhood, and spent much of the second half of his life making up for that. Seeing it like that explains the ranch, the child-over-the-balcony incident, and so much more.

Fame derails talent like nothing else.

.
posted by Acey at 4:10 PM on June 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


First album I ever bought was bad, 12" vinyl, loved it then and love it now.

He's had a bad couple of decades but once he was my hero. RIP MJ.
posted by greenish at 4:10 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by curse at 4:10 PM on June 25, 2009


Fine, I'll pack up the same damn comment I made and move it over here (with editing for relevance to the new & improved thread):

MJ was an amazing musician. As awful as it sounds, I almost wish he had just died at his peak so he could have the respect he deserves and be admired for his talent, rather than ridiculed for his substantial mid-life crazy.
posted by booknerd at 4:10 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I feel the need to once again link the incredible "Remember the Time" music video.
posted by Muffpub at 4:10 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by metaxa at 4:10 PM on June 25, 2009


The news today has really made me feel old and sad.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:10 PM on June 25, 2009 [8 favorites]


Michael Bashir's 9-part Living with Michael Jackson on Youtube.
posted by geoff. at 4:10 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


HELLO ELVIS 2.0!
posted by loquacious at 4:10 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by condour75 at 4:10 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, how long until the custody battle starts for the kids?
posted by 6:1 at 4:10 PM on June 25, 2009


.

One of the very first albums I bought with my own money was Thriller. I still have the tape. Despite all that insanity, weirdness and nastiness that followed in his life, the man had serious, serious talent. RIP, Michael. I hope you find some peace.

And Marisa? Thank you for posting this worthy obit. You did a great job.
posted by zarq at 4:10 PM on June 25, 2009


The first records I owned (yes, youn'ns, 45 RPM records) were Jackson 5 songs. I watched every time they were on TV (Mike Douglas, anyone?) and watched the Jackson 5 cartoon every Saturday morning. Those things are always part of one's life no matter what happens later.

His behavior as an adult was indefensible, and when it came to light that's when the Michael Jackson I knew died.

(Pasted from deleted thread.)
posted by The Deej at 4:11 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


FWIW, Livejournal is down for "emergency maintenance" right now.

I feel weird and old, now.
posted by dirigibleman at 4:11 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by graventy at 4:11 PM on June 25, 2009


Family spokesman says he can't confirm, just that family members are crying and hugging (CNN). Weird.
posted by deborah at 4:12 PM on June 25, 2009


I get that he's the textbook crazy famous guy, but he had soooo many good songs. And the good songs were soooo good.
posted by I Foody at 4:12 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


.
posted by bz at 4:12 PM on June 25, 2009


Jeff Goldblum also fell off a cliff and died today. No, really.
posted by loquacious at 4:12 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by mabelcolby at 4:12 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by limeonaire at 4:12 PM on June 25, 2009


As the great man once said, "Don't stop til you get enough."



.
posted by crossoverman at 4:13 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


The throne is now empty. Who dares to inherit it?

.
posted by Neilopolis at 4:13 PM on June 25, 2009


Thanks, MSTPT.

I'm watching YouTube playlists of Jackson 5.

Michael was acquitted of molestation in the town of my birth, my mom sold the pipe and refrigeration for the "snake room" at Neverland, and I've always loved his music. I'm not surprised he died such a young death, his poor heart was never meant to endure all it did.

Rest in peace, MJ.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:13 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


[reposting]

Wow, and here I was bitching at how bad the 405 was, as I was on the freeway when he died, and I live a block away from UCLA Medical Center.

I can't tell you how crazy it is right now. There's a siren going off about every minute, there was a huge bunch of fire trucks and ambulances about ten minutes ago, and there are three or four helicopters hovering over my apartment (and, of course, over the medical center). It's insanity. If a person's worth could be measured by the number of sirens howling, Michael Jackson would win it all.

On a less grumpy note: .

He made beautiful music that will outlive us all and I'm sorry to see him go, even though he's finally free of the torment that his life became in later years. To his family, especially his children, condolences.
posted by librarylis at 4:13 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


From CNN.com - "At the medical center, every entrance to the emergency room was blocked by security guards. Even hospital staffers were not permitted to enter. A few people stood inside the waiting area, some of them crying."

Good bless the hospital that closes the ER because of a celebrity.
posted by mrmojoflying at 4:13 PM on June 25, 2009 [10 favorites]


The first time I ever traveled overseas, on a ferry from Algeciras to Tangier, I heard Michael Jackson piped over the loudspeaker. It struck me as odd then that he was such a popular figure there. I learned later throughout my travels that Michael Jackson (and Coca Cola) are popular everywhere on the planet.

What a strange, amazing life he had. May he rest in peace.
posted by darkstar at 4:13 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Muffpub, thanks for that link. That video is incredible!
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 4:13 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by klangklangston at 4:14 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by Scoo at 4:14 PM on June 25, 2009


.       .       .
posted by joannemerriam at 4:14 PM on June 25, 2009


And when the groove is dead and gone
You know that love survives
So we can rock forever.

.
posted by SpiffyRob at 4:14 PM on June 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


.

*MJs up iPod for the week*
posted by By The Grace of God at 4:14 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just when I thought I could not feel any older than I did all day.


.
posted by D_I at 4:14 PM on June 25, 2009


There's a superstition in the South that deaths come in threes.

Ed McMahon. Farrah Fawcett. Michael Jackson.

.
posted by misha at 4:14 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


He touched a lot of people, that's for sure.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 4:14 PM on June 25, 2009 [11 favorites]


.
posted by jburka at 4:14 PM on June 25, 2009


My memories of actually meeting Michael Jackson.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:14 PM on June 25, 2009 [22 favorites]


We're acting like the music died. The music didn't die. The music is fantastic, was a great addition to the soundscape, and is just as fantastic, groundbreaking, and worthy of respect as it always was.

The MAN is what died. And the man is not the music. And if the man was, as he almost surely was, guilty of just 1% of the many many rumors of child molestation that came up over the years, than he sure as hell wasn't worthy of respect, and he sure as hell isn't getting my "."

You want to talk about the great music he gave the world? Do so. But let's not pretend that wonderful music + kid touching still equals good person.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:15 PM on June 25, 2009 [11 favorites]


A strange and sad tale. I think they will be talking about him for many, many years.

.
posted by nudar at 4:15 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't see what the fuss is about. He's been dead for over 20 years.
posted by mesh gear fox at 4:15 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


So any idea what caused the cardiac arrest? Didn't he have lupus(?) or something? I'm trying to think how lupus could case CA...

And Jeff Goldblum? I'm not getting any other hits for him being dead. And your link doesn't work, loquacious.

Shit, what a day.
posted by Avenger at 4:15 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by OmieWise at 4:15 PM on June 25, 2009


Too weird to live, too rare to die... almost.
posted by Acey at 4:16 PM on June 25, 2009


I blame it on the boogie, personally.


.
posted by pivotal at 4:16 PM on June 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


You know, for such a huge icon as MJ, I expected more from metafilter. Like better quality snark, in addition to all the tributes, obscure info, personal recollections and so on. The deleted thread was weak. So this is the great thread? I hope it'll be more than a bunch of dots.

I got my pop corn ready. Let's have it! And please, a good dessert dish of snark, folks, there's nothing wrong with dessert after the main meal of holy tributes and assorted "good for you" I remember-veggies and castor oil. We wanna have fun!
posted by VikingSword at 4:16 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Goodbye, Captain EO.
Now who will deliver the Gift of Beauty to the Supreme Leader of the Cosmos?
posted by brownpau at 4:16 PM on June 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


.
posted by ericb at 4:16 PM on June 25, 2009


Michael Jackson's death crashed LJ? Whoa.
posted by zarq at 4:17 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


.
posted by notclosed at 4:17 PM on June 25, 2009


Ed McMahon. Farrah Fawcett. Michael Jackson.

Sky Saxon, people. Fawcett, Jackson, Saxon, all on the 25th. McMahon died like two whole days ago.
posted by item at 4:17 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


My heart has broke to pieces.

.
posted by mistersquid at 4:17 PM on June 25, 2009


Assuming he is actually dead...

I can't begrudge him the talent he undoubtedly had - multi-platinum artist and so forth - but for me, after Thriller, Beat it and Smooth Criminal there's just nothing to care about. And I think those tracks (aside from the video for Thriller) are just about nostalgia.

.
posted by opsin at 4:17 PM on June 25, 2009


So...is Ebay going to expect these people to pay for the tickets? Glad I'm not the guy working the phones tomorrow of wherever you call for refunds.
posted by marxchivist at 4:18 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by bjgeiger at 4:18 PM on June 25, 2009


The Jeff Goldblum story is a fake that's taken a few people in. AFAIK, unless the flies or dinosaurs have had their way, Jeff Goldblum is still alive.

Poor, immensely talented, immensely fucked-up Michael Jackson. I hope his kids now start to have a better childhood than he ever had.
posted by maudlin at 4:18 PM on June 25, 2009


The Goldblum thing is bullshit, the site linked disclaims itself as a joke, and it was first posted in the previous thread via an obscured link. Please let the Goldblum thing drop.
posted by cortex at 4:18 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks, MSTPT for the new post.

.
posted by Sailormom at 4:18 PM on June 25, 2009


This Jeff Goldblum thing is weird.
posted by malaprohibita at 4:19 PM on June 25, 2009


What could've been.
posted by WCityMike at 4:20 PM on June 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


.

For what he did for music.
posted by disclaimer at 4:20 PM on June 25, 2009


It's so weird...people my age (late 20s) weren't really able to appreciate his music at the time, because the cultural stuff around it got so uncomfortable. He got so weird, it was hard to judge him for, you know, his actual work. But "Thriller" deserved to win the best music video every single year on MTV's countdown, to the point where it was surprising when something else came up ("Smells Like Teen Spirit" IIRC).

.
posted by graymouser at 4:20 PM on June 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


I've always felt that, in a thousand years or so, it is entirely possible that somebody like Michael Jackson could be looked back upon with a reverence and legacy akin to that of Jesus, a deity, king, or other elevated form. No, seriously, I mean it. I can't think of a single person's face that is more recognizable on the planet. He has hundreds of thousands of fans from all walks of life. He fits into the hero narrative, the celebrity narrative, the fallen hero narrative, the persecution narrative, the redemption narrative, and countless others. He lives in a remote palace-type resort called "Neverland." His messages (ie. songs) are that of togetherness, peace, diversity, and generally being a badass. And in the context of a society that values and idolizes 'celebrity' and 'music', he is up there at the very top. What do you think society 1,000 years from now will think of weekly mass gatherings of sometimes tens of thousands of people, all eyes focused on a single person, reciting words in poetic form and with melody? Also not to mention the level of globally accessible and distributable documentation we have today, differentiating this time from any before. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. And granted, this is hypothetical crazy talk. But if I could look into the future and see, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it all panned out that way.
[posterity post]

.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:20 PM on June 25, 2009 [19 favorites]


I recently moved back from Kuwait, was in a store there about a month ago, noticed a bunch of people of various nationalities standing around a TV. I wandered over to see what they were checking out--a MJ concert video.

I remember thinking, "Wow, look at the level of popularity several years after being at or near the top."

In seeing what people were watching, a reminder that in his day, he could get after it in a big, big way.
posted by ambient2 at 4:20 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the thoughtful obit, MStPT. I'm going to watch the music links and remember how much joy and great pop he left behind.

.
posted by maryh at 4:20 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by dbiedny at 4:20 PM on June 25, 2009


I almost forgot! My brother used to work at the Lanesborough Hotel in London, and he told me that when MJ visited he rented out the whole hotel.
posted by Muffpub at 4:20 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's a superstition in the South that deaths come in threes.

Yep.
posted by ericb at 4:21 PM on June 25, 2009


.

.     <>
posted by davejay at 4:21 PM on June 25, 2009


I am going to have to say I need a better source for the Goldblum news. And I hope it isn't true.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:21 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by litleozy at 4:22 PM on June 25, 2009


argh. if the site itself doesn't like that joke, I won't repost it correctly.
posted by davejay at 4:22 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by sleep_walker at 4:22 PM on June 25, 2009


"Like better quality snark, in addition to all the tributes, obscure info, personal recollections and so on. "

C'mon, man, you want me to repost my ripostes?
posted by klangklangston at 4:22 PM on June 25, 2009


I said it in the other thread and I'll say it again. I watched some youtube vids of the Jackson 5 the other day. Michael looked like the personification of childish joy and happiness. And sounded like it when he sang. It's very sad to think that the last 35 years of a 50 year old's life have been all downhill - in every respect.

If MJ really has died today, then I suppose it's sad. But if there is a tragedy anywhere in this story it's that the breathtakingly talented little boy died a few decades ago.
posted by tim_in_oz at 4:22 PM on June 25, 2009 [14 favorites]


I don't know about you guys, but when I was a kid in the early 80s, you were one of two types - a Michael Jackson fan or a Prince fan.

Prince fans were regarded as much cooler. He sang things your parents forbade you to hear. He could play the guitar. And regardless of his heeled boots and penchant for frilly shirts, no one disputed the raw heterosexual power of Prince.

Michael Jackson fans were regarded as infinitly squarer. He was the nice guy, perhaps a little too nice. He did commercials for Pepsi. Eddie Murphy made fun of him, too, which made Jackson even less cool.

I myself was a Prince fan but I'll tell you what - when I saw Jackson do his thing on the Motown 25th anniversary show, I knew I was seeing history being made. I remember he moonwalked and my dad and I looked at each other like, "This is some serious shit right here."

Even us kids who made fun of the guy could not dispute just how perfect each and every song on Thriller was. It infuriated us Prince fans. What is Michael Jackson, an alien or something? we asked. What's with this guy?

Yes, he's been an easy butt of jokes, and brought a lot of it on himself. But I keep thinking about to the Dave Chapelle defense ("C'mon, man. He made Thriller. Thriller.") and to seeing him on the Motown 25th anniversary show, at the height of his abilities. And even the Prince fan in me will mourn his passing.

.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:23 PM on June 25, 2009 [65 favorites]


.................................

..

.
posted by Malice at 4:23 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by Osrinith at 4:23 PM on June 25, 2009


This is the first . I've given on MetaFilter that I've really meant in every respect.

.
posted by LSK at 4:23 PM on June 25, 2009


I'm not really much of a fan (I Want You Back is a perfect song, though). Still, I'm sad. I think it's because he was a man that obviously had unheard of talent and died during a "trough" in his life.
posted by ignignokt at 4:23 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by Bageena at 4:24 PM on June 25, 2009


I work in a coffeehouse and every Friday morning I play R&B, soul, and funk. And I can attest to this: when anything from Michael Jackson comes up, just about everybody in the place starts to getting down. That's a fact. He was a genius.

.
posted by barrett caulk at 4:24 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Michael Jackson was challenging in a lot of ways, mostly because he was both way awesome and an insane homosexual pedophile, as if there were a God and he just wanted to ask us the question "would you listen to a pedophile's music if it was way awesome."
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:24 PM on June 25, 2009 [33 favorites]


.

(won't read the thread for fear of snark which right now I really don't think I can take)

Somebody's lacking a hero :(
posted by ClarissaWAM at 4:24 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


There was that documentary a few years ago, the one in which he was totally unable to hide how batshit loonball he had become. But there's this part of it, where in the middle of being a total lunatic, he explains coming up with the music for Billie Jean, and suddenly he stops and beatboxes the bassline, and it sounds fucking awesome and I realized oh shit, somewhere buried in all that crazy, the genius is still there. How sad that it got buried.

As I said in a deleted thread,

Look on his work, ye mighty, and despair.

posted by Bookhouse at 4:24 PM on June 25, 2009 [13 favorites]


That motherfucker could sing and dance though, huh? What a crazy life.
posted by Divine_Wino at 4:24 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


VikingSword: "114You know, for such a huge icon as MJ, I expected more from metafilter. Like better quality snark, in addition to all the tributes, obscure info, personal recollections and so on. The deleted thread was weak. So this is the great thread? I hope it'll be more than a bunch of dots."

There have been at least 7 posts, over 500 comments, and its only been ~20 minutes. Chill out. Your popcorn won't go stale.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:25 PM on June 25, 2009


Jeff Goldblum also fell off a cliff and died today. No, really.

Holy FUCK!

Anybody says acting ain't dangerous can kiss my ass.
posted by tkchrist at 4:25 PM on June 25, 2009


I am going to have to say I need a better source for the Goldblum news. And I hope it isn't true.

I searched, cant find it anywhere else. Hope it aint true.
posted by Liquidwolf at 4:25 PM on June 25, 2009


Grabbing my crotch mournfully.

.
posted by naju at 4:25 PM on June 25, 2009 [12 favorites]


.
posted by motty at 4:25 PM on June 25, 2009


Something people may not know is that he is absolutely *huge* in India, probably because his dancing aligns so well with the whole Bollywood thing.

I couldn't count the number of times Indians have asked me "Are you liking Michael Jackson? He is *King of Pop*!"

I gave up trying to explain the concept of alternative or indie music, because nothing like that was sold in the shops. Readily available Western music was restricted to a dozen or so acts that make up the main playlists of "Classic" FM radio stations - like the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Boney M & Bob Marley, with lots of Pink Floyd thrown in.

It seemed as if the Indians reasoned that because Michael Jackson was more successful than all the others, this must mean that he's the undisputed pinnacle of Western music, and therefore I must love him. They'd look at me incredulously when I'd say "No, sorry, I know his music but I prefer to listen to other things..."
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:26 PM on June 25, 2009 [13 favorites]


Oh yay. CNN is finally confirming his death. Way to go, crack news team!
posted by item at 4:26 PM on June 25, 2009


CNN confirmed per info from LA coroner's office.
posted by deborah at 4:26 PM on June 25, 2009



posted by roll truck roll at 4:28 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hope Jordan Chandler and the other boys went with the lump sum option.
posted by tapeguy at 4:28 PM on June 25, 2009


Nicely done, MSTPT.

And for one of the great musical geniuses of the century, who was as talented as he was troubled:

.
posted by scody at 4:28 PM on June 25, 2009


I liked Michael Jackson as a kid. but as an 80s child, we all did.

My boyfriend came downstairs to make sure I knew (I guess) and I was watching MTV's MJ retrospective (so yes, this is what will get MTV to show videos. VH1, not so much). I said something about how he was a talented man with a very troubled life -- which was the most charitable thing I could think to say, and my boyfriend said "that's the price he paid." He got to be amazingly talented, but I think he rarely (although sometimes) got to fully enjoy it.

This doesn't excuse or justify any of his latter-day behavior. Nor does it even really explain it.

I don't really feel sad. Mostly, I just feel sorry.
posted by darksong at 4:29 PM on June 25, 2009


Remember when you could get MJ trading cards (like baseball cards, with that terrible brittle gum)? And when people actually wore one glove? And red leather jackets with a billion zippers? I feel rather old and sad right now. However, I know Michael will continue to kick it to the people on dance floors worldwide, and that makes me a little happier.
posted by Go Banana at 4:29 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


My favorite photo of MJ, with the Reagans, via Wikipedia
posted by captainsohler at 4:29 PM on June 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


This is what it takes to get MTV to play music?
posted by the christopher hundreds at 4:29 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


OMG FAMED HOLLYWOOD ACTOR ADSVILLE CLICKFARM DIED TODAY JUST LIKE JEFF GOLDBLUM.

Goldblum isn't dead people.
posted by bunnytricks at 4:30 PM on June 25, 2009


I remember as a kid watching some MTV special back when MTV was just starting out that showed all kinds of backstage stuff during the Thriller tour, and thinking that Michael Jackson had so many fans that my chance of actually seeing him live would be like seeing the President of the United States in person. Well, I've seen four presidents since then and no Michael.

Although, I suppose the chance exists that he had a Lenin-treatment in his will.

Ease on down, ease on down the road...
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:30 PM on June 25, 2009


Wow, I somehow ended up with the last comment in the (longer) other post. Weird.

So, here we are. The death of a man whose music was a significant part of the soundtrack of my high school years. I just fired up a few old Jackson 5 videos on YouTube, and my toddler son looked over and immediately started to groove out to the music.

.
posted by anastasiav at 4:30 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Michael Jackson was fucking awesome. God damn it.

.
posted by chunking express at 4:30 PM on June 25, 2009 [4 favorites]



posted by limeonaire at 4:31 PM on June 25, 2009


I guess that a sizable part of Michael's life is better described by a man of his league and by his song, Freddie Mercury' Show Must Go On.
posted by elpapacito at 4:31 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thriller is, of course, irresistible.

Still, it wasn't until this scene that I actually thought of MJ as an interesting phenomenon (besides the obvious troubled-artist, lost-little-boy, etc.) .

Not that the idea behind it isn't itself obvious... but somehow, this little bit made it seem shockingly relevant and real.
posted by darth_tedious at 4:31 PM on June 25, 2009


Who else can remember exactly where they were when they saw Michael Jackson first do the moonwalk?
It must have been sometime in 1983, I was in grade 6 and Andrea Leyland was having one of those grade 6 pop & chips basement parties, but instead of playing spin the bottle or slow dancing to Bonnie Tyler we were all gathered around the t.v. watching this Motown tribute show live from the Apollo theatre, just to see Michael Jackson.
And then he finally came on and did not disappoint. During his song he did this thing, gliding backwards across that white stage, that none of us had ever seen before, or even imagined possible - the moonwalk. It just looked so cool - our little minds were blown and we lost no time in jumping up to try and figure out how he did it.
posted by Flashman at 4:31 PM on June 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


He was a true talent as both a singer and a dancer, and at the same time his later behaviors of excess, consumption, self-destruction, and violation of children serves as a cautionary tale of what abuse and fame can create in what was once a beautiful little boy. His story has become, for me, a metaphor for larger things, and it is so wrapped up in the history of our country and our culture that his importance goes far beyond what is an already enormous fame.

Thanks for a well-composed post about his life - his story deserves more than a headline.
posted by serazin at 4:31 PM on June 25, 2009


...and I broke the link, making the effort moot.

Goldblum is still breathing though.
posted by bunnytricks at 4:32 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by MythMaker at 4:32 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by HabeasCorpus at 4:32 PM on June 25, 2009


My posts from the deleted thread reposted for posterity: I must have listened to Thriller a million times when I was a kid. It's a shame that the kids coming up today only know MJ as a freak. He was a brilliant performer. They'll never really know just how BIG he was.
posted by LeeJay at 4:32 PM on June 25, 2009


How many people heard this first on Twitter?

What a sad alien Michael was. I think his childhood, his talent, and his fame combined to make him probably the oddest person on the planet.

Part of what makes me genuinely sad about his passing is that, unlike most people who made it and then fell off, I know, I mean I KNOW he still had great music in him. I want to hear the quiet, stripped down, bare R&B record Michael was going to put out when he was 65.

But, alas, the king is dead.
posted by dirtdirt at 4:33 PM on June 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


.

Thriller video freaked me out and it was awesome.
posted by starman at 4:33 PM on June 25, 2009


No, Goldblum's not dead. The "press release" is debunked word for word (aside from a celebrity name swap) at Snopes. Plus, Jeff Goldblum appears to be filming "Morning Glory" this week, which doesn't appear to be filming in New Zealand.
posted by WCityMike at 4:33 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by mustard seeds at 4:33 PM on June 25, 2009


All snark aside:


posted by lodev at 4:34 PM on June 25, 2009


This news is stopping people in their tracks. Literally.
posted by zennie at 4:34 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


When he was on, he was on.
posted by PenDevil at 4:34 PM on June 25, 2009


Man, Billie Jean really is one of the best pop songs out there. That bassline hooks me every time.
posted by LeeJay at 4:34 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I remember seeing that Motown thing live.

My dad was pissed cuz I dropped my Capri Sun on the carpet (fuck you dad, its in a bag!) when he moonwalked for the first time ever.

(Michael Jackson moonwalked, not my dad)
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:34 PM on June 25, 2009 [14 favorites]


> Something people may not know is that he is absolutely *huge* in India, probably because his dancing aligns so well with the whole Bollywood thing.

Yep and here's that crazy thriller style telugu video that was making the rounds a few months ago.
posted by dhruva at 4:34 PM on June 25, 2009


Sky Saxon, people.

posted by Item at 4:17 PM on June 25


Seriously? Sky Saxon, too? Now you're pushing too hard.
posted by Herodios at 4:35 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Holy shit. Why do I feel so shocked? MJ became a kind of monster later in life, and was the ultimate example of what happens when you combine an unhealthy pathology with almost unlimited wealth (and power).

Still, when I was about 10 and he did the moonwalk on the Grammys that time (and if you saw it you'd remember it). For about 3 albums he was a genius. Then that genius got all solopsistic and inverted and corrupted.

But that moonwalk...blew my mind. For that, I shall give MJ a

.
posted by zardoz at 4:35 PM on June 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


Thriller was my first tape copy.
.
posted by acro at 4:35 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Once upon a time, my parents took me to Disney World. We went to a screening of Captain Eo, and I stood up in my seat and shouted, "IS THAT A MAN, OR A WOMAN?" I was six years old.

.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 4:35 PM on June 25, 2009 [10 favorites]



OMG FAMED HOLLYWOOD ACTOR ADSVILLE CLICKFARM DIED TODAY JUST LIKE JEFF GOLDBLUM.

Wikipedia says he is. Not that they are the end-all be all.
posted by tkchrist at 4:35 PM on June 25, 2009


Who among us can say that you wouldn't go crazy if you became fantastically rich and the most recognizable person on Earth when you didn't even like yourself that much in the first place. He was a hell of a musician.

.
posted by GuyZero at 4:36 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


My brain has never been able to reconcile that the Michael Jackson of my 80s youth and the more recent freakshow Michael were the same person. I mean, I absolutely have a complete mental disconnect there. So for me, Michael Jackson, he of some of the best pop ever created, has been dead for at least 20 years. And the guy who died today is just some guy who lived a weird life and probably should never have been allowed within 100 feet of anyone under the age of 18. I'm kind of glad that guy is gone now, so maybe I can think of the other guy more fondly.
posted by marylynn at 4:36 PM on June 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


Me too Leejay:

My very first concert ever was the Jackson 5 at the Pocono 500 Racetrack in 1973. I remember it like it was yesterday, or at least last week. I also fondly recall that cartoon they had on Saturday mornings, even if the pet mice and snakes did creep me out a little bit. And the Wiz, a favorite.

Then there was the time I was wearing lace gloves (oh, come on it was the 80s) and one of my friends asked, so you think your Michael Jackson? It would have been funny but I was wearing both gloves. Then, there was the time my Mother swore that part of the lyrics to Billie Jean meant something nefarious and she kept asking me for endless what "we danced on the floor in the round" meant... I still have no idea.

Rest in Peace Michael.
posted by goml at 4:37 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Musically speaking, I'll always appreciate the Jackson 5 more than Michael's solo material -- nothing against Thriller, but I have a abiding love for Motown that I will probably never feel for 80s pop.

However, what strikes me the most about his career in the 80s was his overall presence. Growing up in the 80s, Michael Jackson was it. I don't know how else to describe it to someone who wasn't there. He was more than ubiquitous -- he was the living embodiment of celebrity, culture, and cool. If you were listening to music, you were listening to Michael. Whatever you were wearing was something that he wore. You probably tried to dance like him, but failed. When you thought of a star, a superstar, you thought of Michael Jackson. It wasn't even a question in your mind.

Furthermore, it wasn't just you. It was everybody -- all the other musicians, dancers, entertainers, everyone who came after. They all watched, listened to, and copied Michael. It was unstated. Everybody just knew that This Was What They Would Be Doing Now.

I don't know if anyone has attained that sort of cultural ubiquity since. I remember that Madonna was up there for a while, although she was always a bit more .... adult. More corporeal. Something about Michael was always unreal. Like he wasn't a person, but a god, an idea, a cartoon, a series of images projected onto your mind and in your ears and on everybody's lunchbox and t-shirt and posters on their bedroom walls. The weirdest thing about the 80s was that everybody thought it was normal at the time.

But maybe I'm just old. Fame and celebrity are a lot more impressive when you're new to the concept. And I'll admit that I've long since tuned out that sort of thing. Who knows? Perhaps Hannah Montana or Britney Spears or Justin Timberlake is somebody else's Michael Jackson.

.....

Nah.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:38 PM on June 25, 2009 [42 favorites]


This is how you do an obit post.

.
posted by Justinian at 4:38 PM on June 25, 2009


Michael Jackson was the soundtrack to my childhood and it's the one thing I've held onto during his tabloid years. I still hear Off the Wall with its eerie woooo play whenever I drive down a dark side street late at night.

He's out of my life. But I took him for granted, I was so cavalier. And it cuts like a knife. He's out of my life.
posted by nuala at 4:38 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Ber at 4:39 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:39 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by AloneOssifer at 4:39 PM on June 25, 2009


Listen to him sing "Got To Be There". Then tell me that his life story wasn't a tragedy.

.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:40 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


great post for a great pop star

.
posted by saraswati at 4:41 PM on June 25, 2009


Fuckin' Off The Wall is a great party album.
posted by bardic at 4:41 PM on June 25, 2009


Also: Harrison Ford is missing and presumed drowned after his yacht sunk. Yes, really.
posted by goml at 7:37 PM


What the hell are you talking about? I'm getting Internal Server Error. Tell me it ain't so.
posted by marxchivist at 4:41 PM on June 25, 2009


Thank you, the littlest brussels sprout! I've been trying to think something positive about Michael Jackson for the last couple hours, because I'm feeling kind of like an asshole for not liking anything about him.

But I loved, loved Captain Eo. And for that:

.
posted by gurple at 4:41 PM on June 25, 2009


Yeah, Sky Saxon.

posted by TDavis at 4:41 PM on June 25, 2009


Weird Al should do a tribute song.
Perhaps "Man doll in the wind".
posted by ...possums at 4:42 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Keith O. is saying it appears a few months ago Jackson was so saddened at the falling out he'd had with Paul McCartney that he had his will modified to leave the 50% of the Beatles back catalogue that Jackson owned to McCartney. Very classy if true.
posted by Justinian at 4:42 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


My first trip to the record store to buy My Own Music featured a hard choice between two tapes: Bad or The Ghostbusters Soundtrack. Sometimes I wonder who I would have been had I picked the former instead of the latter.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:43 PM on June 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


marxchivist: "What the hell are you talking about? I'm getting Internal Server Error. Tell me it ain't so."

It ain't so.
posted by WCityMike at 4:43 PM on June 25, 2009


Maybe not a terrible idea to stick to this workflow:

1. Confirm celebrity death news
2. Pass news on

instead of skipping straight to step 2, folks.
posted by cortex at 4:43 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'll stop crying soon.

.

Thank you for your obit.
posted by davebushe at 4:43 PM on June 25, 2009


His music will outlast us all. Rest in peace. Have fun up there.
posted by Flex1970 at 4:44 PM on June 25, 2009


Whoa. I hadn't thought about Michael Jackson in forever, when Ta-Nehisi Coates posted about him just a few days ago. So then of course I had to watch all the videos from my childhood.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:44 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why do people make the assumption that pedophiles are automatically homosexual? That is the reason gay kids are almost by law not allowed into the Boy Scouts and is a leading argument for the right to stop legalization of adoption by gay and lesbian couples.
posted by parmanparman at 4:44 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


.
posted by SageLeVoid at 4:45 PM on June 25, 2009


I truly believed he was going to be cryogenically frozen. I still do.
posted by orme at 4:45 PM on June 25, 2009


This one can be for all business in the front for the squares, while the other can be totally party in the back for the cool kids.

Which is exactly how Michael would have wanted it.

Me? I'm just happy that the Magistrate of Minge got to outlive the King of Pop (1).

1. The Magistrate of Minge is my own self-awarded honorific
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:45 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Like Elvis and Andy Kaufman, Michael Jackson will never really die. I predict a rash of MJ sightings in the near (and distant) future.
posted by LeeJay at 4:47 PM on June 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


Eh. Wiki took the Goldblum thing down. We got suckered. First time for cynical 'ol me. I guess it can happen to anybody.
posted by tkchrist at 4:48 PM on June 25, 2009


America's Elvis
posted by wfrgms at 4:48 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


America's Elvis


lolwut?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:49 PM on June 25, 2009


Play Michael Jackson out, keyboard cat.
posted by knave at 4:49 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


No, Goldblum's not dead.
That's a relief. His death would have meant more to me than that of the Howard Hughes of Pop. (Some people had been
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:49 PM on June 25, 2009


He wasn't responsible for his crazy, and if he hadn't been Michael Jackson, he might have actually gotten some help instead of being completely isolated by a gang of sycophantic leeches. They've killed the goose that laid the golden egg. They bled him dry.

He was a genius. Brilliant dancer, showman, singer. And an ingenue.
posted by Xoebe at 4:49 PM on June 25, 2009 [9 favorites]


Also sad songs are nature's onions.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:49 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Man he's done some crazy shit for attention before, but this really takes the cake.

Oh and .
posted by hypersloth at 4:50 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by Feisty at 4:50 PM on June 25, 2009


MaryDellamorte: "9The history of Michael Jackson's face."

Oh god. Look at that first picture. Michael Jackson's original face, at twenty-one, before any surgery.

Don't scroll down the page if you follow the link. Remember him like that.
posted by JHarris at 4:51 PM on June 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


.
posted by ColdChef at 4:51 PM on June 25, 2009


There will be none like him ever again.
RIP MJ, and thanks for the music...that wonderful music.

.
posted by emeiji at 4:52 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


The parallels with Elvis, while not perfect, really are remarkable. This sure came out of the blue today.

Boy, do I remember that time, when Michael Jackson was the biggest thing in the world. It was sad to watch the spiral that followed, but it's over now.

.
posted by evilcolonel at 4:52 PM on June 25, 2009


Keith O. is saying it appears a few months ago Jackson was so saddened at the falling out he'd had with Paul McCartney that he had his will modified to leave the 50% of the Beatles back catalogue that Jackson owned to McCartney.

I'm not quite sure why this is the one detail that finally made me burst into tears (though watching "Billie Jean" on the Motown 25 special nearly accomplished the same thing), but there ya go.
posted by scody at 4:53 PM on June 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


Cleveland Leader reports Jackson may have left Paul McCartney the rights to 200+ Beatles songs in his will.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 4:54 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


Michael jackson at 25 prior to his surgeries was pure beauty, especially when he danced. Some of the best music ever.

.
posted by bluesky43 at 4:54 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


> > subbes: "See, there's a reason the news sites have pre-written obits for major figures."

For fifty year olds? I don't think that Jackson was high on anyone's death watch list.


Actually, yeah, the wire services and major newspapers start an file on you once you become sufficiently newsworthy, and keep the file updated as you continue doing newsworthy things. It sounds ghoulish, but it's basic backgrounding work. Say you fall out of the public eye for a decade and then reappear, not dead but making news again. The AP and New York Times can exert nearly zero effort finding two grafs that recaps their readers on why your reappearance is newsworthy.

As for Michael Jackson dying the same week as Andy Hughes and Sky Saxon, all I can say is the Grim Reaper's scythe cuts a wide swath.
posted by ardgedee at 4:54 PM on June 25, 2009


In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.

“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”
posted by ageispolis at 4:57 PM on June 25, 2009 [8 favorites]


Poor kid.
posted by rodgerd at 4:58 PM on June 25, 2009


MJ owned the publishing rights to the whole Lennon-McCartney songbook, though he sold half of his Beatles back catalogue rights to Sony in 1995, but still makes about £40million a year from them. Michael Jackson [hoped] to bury his 24-year feud with Sir Paul McCartney – by leaving his share of the Beatles back catalogue to him in his will.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:58 PM on June 25, 2009


I have always had the strangest relationship with Jackson as a celebrity and with his music.

We were kept incredibly naive growing up - my brothers and I knew about the moonwalk. We knew something about the fashion that resulted from the thriller video. What we did not know or have first hand experience with was the whole phenomenon. I cannot remember intentionally hearing his music as a kid. Any of it.

I had never seen Thriller until the anniversary re-release a year or so ago. I just had the initial 90's gossip to go on - no real experience beforehand.

So early in 1998 or so I started listening to all of it. Wow. There is this force in it. Sadness too.

But the one overriding thing for me is just how bad I felt for the guy - how lucky I am not to have to wrestle with the same pressures and abuses that turned an amazing talent and personality into a mutant.

Later on, after I moved to Chicago, I met and worked for a woman who used to work with the family in the mid-late 70's. I told her how I just felt bad for him as "Butterflies" played over the intercom in the store and she said: "You only turn into that if you have spent the majority of your life being defined by others. What all of those kids have had to deal with from their parents and managers is almost unspeakable."

So yea, I don't have the same history most seem to have with him and I still find myself selecting him in my iPod and walking home listening to it. It is just all too damn bad.
posted by Tchad at 4:58 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm really surprisingly sad about this. I mean, totally a pedophile, right? But I remember the time we finally got cable and MTV, and it was the week the Thriller video came out, and I was a huge vintage horror film buff, and a huge fan of American Werewolf in London and John Landis, and it was the best damned time ever to be the first time I finally got cable.
posted by MrMoonPie at 4:59 PM on June 25, 2009


King of Pop indeed.
NBC, which had scheduled a one-hour tribute to Farrah Fawcett tonight at 10 p.m., has now expanded that special to two hours, beginning at 9 p.m., to cover the deaths of both Ms. Fawcett and Mr. Jackson. CBS will broadcast a special report covering both deaths at 10 p.m. ABC will air a special report at 9 p.m. as well.
posted by smackfu at 5:00 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


If they say -
Why? Why?
Tell em that is human nature
Why? why, does he do me that way?
I like livin' this way
I like lovin' this way.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:00 PM on June 25, 2009


Thanks for a good obit post, Marisa.

For the beautiful, talented boy he once was:

.
posted by rtha at 5:00 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Meh.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 5:01 PM on June 25, 2009


This is a super-hot Michael Jackson mix my pal Chisa made.

Also, I'll say it here that I will eat both my hat and yours if Michael Jackson ever harmed a living soul on purpose.

God bless his tired soul.
posted by chronkite at 5:01 PM on June 25, 2009 [11 favorites]


"Goldblum isn't dead people."

Haley Joel Osment can't see him.

QED
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 5:02 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


asdfasdfsdf.
posted by kuatto at 5:03 PM on June 25, 2009


chronkite reminds me that there's some good that will come of this... the Mikejack tribute mixes. I'm expecting JB/Dilla levels of both quality and quantity.
posted by box at 5:04 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


poor dude
posted by Onanist at 5:07 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by contrariwise at 5:08 PM on June 25, 2009


I'll add:

Yes I remember seeing him moonwalk on the Grammies and it always stayed with me, later I saw film of James Brown in his prime and saw some dancing that I can't even express my reaction to, but I saw Mike with my own eyes and that shit was amazing.


Second, for those of you who had Thriller on wax, did you ever fold it open to the picture of him lying with the baby tiger and just totally bug out on how pronounced the tendon in his wrist was?

I'm sorry he had to go so crazy and allegedly (probably) hurt kids, because he really was fucking magical at one point.
posted by Divine_Wino at 5:08 PM on June 25, 2009 [8 favorites]


Thriller is already the fifth top selling album on iTunes and will probably be number one by the end of the day.
posted by inconsequentialist at 5:08 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Say what you will, it might not be your style, but the man could dance.
posted by LeeJay at 5:11 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


For fifty year olds? I don't think that Jackson was high on anyone's death watch list.

Someone I know just pointed out that he was #10 among living people on a popular "dead pool" site, which I won't link here. Almost 5,000 people called this at the beginning of this year.
posted by deadmessenger at 5:12 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by cazoo at 5:13 PM on June 25, 2009


Too bad there really isn't a zombie Michael Jackson.


posted by bwg at 5:13 PM on June 25, 2009


kid could SING.
posted by billysumday at 5:13 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is the first thing I ever remember about Jackson, I was about 3.
posted by Liquidwolf at 5:15 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


I am watching strident cracker Nancy Grace probe this calamity.
And last weekend, I recall clueless CNN desk jockeys going 'zomg, Iran wont let us report ourselves, so you Iran people, go out there and risk your own lives and send us fucking twitter feeds and mobile phone videos.'
TimeWarner CNN. Jesus wept.
posted by nj_subgenius at 5:15 PM on June 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


.
posted by vellocet at 5:16 PM on June 25, 2009


I've always contended that *everyone* is a Michael Jackson fan. I grew up listening to his music as a solo artist and I loved the hell out of it. Somehow, every single one of my friends "hated" Michael Jackson, but I'd find the tapes in their bedrooms "My stupid mom bought it for me, I don't even want it!" Or in their cars, "this is my Dad's car, so its my Dad's tape!"

Possibly the truth in some cases, but I still have to believe that it was/is fashionable to *loathe* Michael Jackson because he was so weird (and later an apparent pedophile). Yet, how do you explain the millions upon millions of albums sold and dollars made? It is for that reason that I contend that everyone, literally EVERYONE who has ever heard music is a Michael Jackson fan.

With that said, may he rest in peace.

.
posted by mrzer0 at 5:18 PM on June 25, 2009


The next 48 are going to be a crazy. He's the biggest American celebrity to die since Elvis and things are going to get out of hand. Should be fun to watch.
posted by zzazazz at 5:20 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, Jeff Goldblum can't be dead, he was just watching me poop!
posted by mrzer0 at 5:20 PM on June 25, 2009


I am sad he died because I grew up listening to him but that person died a long time ago and many plastic surgeries ago.
posted by govtdrone at 5:20 PM on June 25, 2009


Somehow, every single one of my friends "hated" Michael Jackson, but I'd find the tapes in their bedrooms "My stupid mom bought it for me, I don't even want it!" Or in their cars, "this is my Dad's car, so its my Dad's tape!"

Heh. I remember being Little Miss New Wave in the early '80s, and loudly proclaiming that I was only tuning in to the Motown 25 special to see Adam Ant perform. Really! Michael Jackson is silly! Much sillier than the fellow named ADAM ANT.
posted by scody at 5:21 PM on June 25, 2009 [9 favorites]


This sucks. I really liked his beer reviews.
posted by terrapin at 5:23 PM on June 25, 2009 [27 favorites]


I grew up in the 80s. MJ was everything back then!
.
posted by Vindaloo at 5:23 PM on June 25, 2009


I never spent much time listening to his music, and never owned an album of his (and I'm the right age, in my early 40s). But I can recognize genius and Michael sure had it.

.
posted by maxwelton at 5:24 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow. Even the trashy media here are running mainly respectful stories focused mainly on his sheer talent and musical legacy. Some of the tributes from present day performers leave no doubt about the huge impact he had on music. So sad that it took his death for people to feel OK about acknowledging that contribution to their own careers.
posted by Lolie at 5:25 PM on June 25, 2009


I think that today's other FPPs should be allowed to be resubmitted in a day or two.
Everything is getting dwarfed right now. Hard to think of anything else.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 5:25 PM on June 25, 2009


This sucks. I really liked his beer reviews.

Zing! Nice one.
posted by Liquidwolf at 5:27 PM on June 25, 2009


He was a genius, but Michael Jackson never really got to be a little boy. After the physical and mental abuse, he went straight into working a grown man's schedule. The Jackson 5 formed when he was eight. He had a haunted look on his face on this 1971 Rolling Stone cover. "Why does this eleven year old stay up past his bedtime?"
posted by kirkaracha at 5:28 PM on June 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


According to my mom, I'd always ask to hear Beat It by gleefully shouting beat it beat it! I was 3 years old.

.
posted by kitkatcathy at 5:28 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


50 Micheal Jackson photographs
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:29 PM on June 25, 2009


Sorry, I don't have any other info about Jeff Goldblum and retract my statement. I hope it isn't true.

Don't worry about Michael Jackson, though. We'll be having sightings of him for decades to come.
posted by loquacious at 5:29 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 5:29 PM on June 25, 2009


. (again)
posted by jquinby at 5:29 PM on June 25, 2009


Can anyone comment on what will happen with those 50 sold out London concerts? Is the promoter just going to have to offer refunds and eat a whole pie of shit?
posted by Rhomboid at 5:30 PM on June 25, 2009


Can anyone comment on what will happen with those 50 sold out London concerts? Is the promoter just going to have to offer refunds and eat a whole pie of shit?

Face value ticket prices will triple as die-hard fans want memorabilia of the concerts that never were. Probably listed on E-bay already.
posted by Lolie at 5:33 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


I can't count the number of times I was there as a kid dragging out my old Moonwalker VHS to watch the Smooth Criminal scene. I was walking around my living room singing Dirty Diana at the top of my lungs. I wonder whether anywhere was really home for him and whether anyone could truly be a friend, a confidant.
posted by Rubbstone at 5:33 PM on June 25, 2009


Remember that scene in the video Black or White where he does the complicated dance then beats up the car with the crowbar?

I'll be doing that tonight.

Not in his honor or anything, just because it's Thursday.

But I'll give credit where it's due; I learned it from watching him.
posted by quin at 5:33 PM on June 25, 2009 [9 favorites]


a whole pie of shit?

Surely you can think of a kinder euphemism for British food.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:33 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


There's probably insurance and reinsurance and retrocession and turtles all the way down on the concert engagement, regardless. Whatever loss is involved is the sort of thing you generally plan for when you're doing something involving tens or hundreds of millions of dollars.
posted by cortex at 5:35 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Off the Wall was one of the first vinyl albums I bought (in 1979 when I was 12 years old). I remember unwrapping it excitedly and putting it on just as mom was putting dinner on the table. We never played music during dinner but no one complained and in fact my mom, step dad, uncle, and I all starting doing an uncontrollable jig to Don't Stop till You Get Enough as we ate.

Shimon.
posted by Devils Slide at 5:35 PM on June 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 5:36 PM on June 25, 2009


I was wondering about that, the ticket refund thing, and thinking I bet a lot of people don't even want a refund, and choose to keep their ticket as a souvenir - prolly be worth a lot
posted by hypersloth at 5:36 PM on June 25, 2009


> And last weekend, I recall clueless CNN desk jockeys...

I was just thinking that Iran coverage is going to drop off dramatically from CNN.
posted by dhruva at 5:36 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


"Can't sing, can't act, can dance a little ..."

And a similar place in history ...
posted by woodblock100 at 5:38 PM on June 25, 2009


From marxchivist's Ebay link:
A GREAT MAN WHO WILL BE REMEMBERED FOREVER. MAY HE REST IN PEACE.


2 SIDE BY SIDE TICKETS WITH AN AMAZING VIEW OF THE STAGE!!

SECTION - BK 419

ROW - K

GET A SOUVENIR THAT WILL BE A COLLECTORS ITEM FOR DECADES.
posted by dirigibleman at 5:38 PM on June 25, 2009


This sucks. I really liked his beer reviews.

Strangely enough, I've actually got Michael Jackson's Ultimate Beer on the coffee table in front of me. The man did know his suds ...

But seriously, I find news of Mr. Jackson's passing mostly sad. Poor kid never really had a chance. The thing that comes to mind was an old 1972 Crawdaddy interview I recently stumbled upon (he was twelve, and on the top of the fucking world for the first time). He didn't have much to say and the interviewer couldn't get over how normal he seemed ... except for that when asked what musicians he would most like to work with, he said either Aretha Franklin or Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson.
posted by philip-random at 5:38 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm amazed at how little I feel about this, considering what a HUGE fan I was during his heyday (for perspective, I was 8 years old when Thriller was released). I just don't have any strong opinions about the man anymore. I was more upset at (the rumor of) Jeff Goldblum's death.

Then again, my week has tasted like ass, so that may account for some of the apathy.
posted by desjardins at 5:40 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dear Michael,

I am in a state of shock since I heard the bad news. I can't help it. The way you make me feel right now is dangerous. It might just be human nature, but you are like another part of me. It's torture to know you will be not always. Back in the day my girlfriend, Billie Jean (the lady in my life at the time), and I were workin' day and night just hoping that we might be able to rock with you on the dance floor to some beat. It was fun to get on the floor and jam. It didn't matter if you were black or white if you had your pretty young thing with you to scream, "Burn this disco out!" like you were a smooth criminal. It was all a bit off the wall, but I remember the time well.

Alas, Billie Jean -- the girl -- is mine no more. She's out of my life. But I met a new Liberian girl named Diana. At first, we were just good friends. But now the girl is mine. She drives me wild and I can't let her get away. We wanna be startin' something, and I think we are going to have a baby. Be mine, dirty Diana.

Anyway, you are gone too soon, Michael. Whether it was a friend from childhood or a stranger in Moscow, you had the power to heal the world. My friends make fun of me and won't leave me alone because I just can't stop loving you. I look at the man in the mirror and I can't keep my feelings for you in the closet any longer. I want you to race up to heaven like a speed demon. Don't stop til you get enough.

Love,
flarbuse
posted by flarbuse at 5:41 PM on June 25, 2009 [31 favorites]


damn i loved him. *sniff*
posted by ewwgene at 5:41 PM on June 25, 2009


Michael Jackson was another casualty of the steamroller of childhood fame. I sometimes feel that child stardom is just a less obvious form of child abuse, at least in terms of the percentage of those who ultimately descend into mental illness and/or drug addiction. We can all name a bunch off the top of our heads, and they're just the ones whose flameouts were spectacular. I'm sure there are many more whose downward spirals weren't so thoroughly documented by the media, either because their self-destruction was less flamboyant or because we'd just lost interest in them by that time.

Yet there's still this underlying assumption that fame is a Good Thing, and we peasants are justified in withholding pity for fucked-up former child stars, as if their main problem is just that they don't appreciate how great they have it. Yes, it's so great, to be navigating through the crushing pressures and mindfuckery of fame without the perspective that comes with maturity; to have one's worth judged by the whims of the public, everything about you open to dissection by strangers. In terms of its psychological effects, fame, for most people and especially for most kids, is usually not a good thing. Unfortunately, the same people or families for whom it's most damaging seem to be the ones who most intensely crave it.
posted by granted at 5:41 PM on June 25, 2009 [18 favorites]


This sucks. I really liked his beer reviews.

Sorry to break it to you, but that Michael Jackson died in '07.
posted by eyeballkid at 5:42 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by lilkeith07 at 5:42 PM on June 25, 2009


elvis was due to perform in my hometown the day he died. they still had the concert. in a spotlight was a microphone, a stool with a guitar sitting on it. they played elvis tunes. everyone still went.

an mj tribute concert, properly done, would be tha' bomb.
posted by elle.jeezy at 5:44 PM on June 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


Murray [referring to Quincy Jones]: What are some albums that he's done, Bret?
Bret: Michael Jackson's "Off The Wall".
Murray: I'll say he is...he's off the planet! Wants to freeze himself, doesn't he?

.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 5:45 PM on June 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


Don't want to appear a snark, but also don't want to end up in the steamroller of emotion. He made some great records, was a proper famous wacko, but in a years time I'll still be sadder that Otis Redding died.

We all have to go one day.
posted by ciderwoman at 5:45 PM on June 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


I had three cassettes when I was six years old. "Thriller", "Bad", and a Genesis album. The reason I don't specify the Genesis album is because I don't think I ever once listened to it.



.
posted by Ndwright at 5:46 PM on June 25, 2009


I still think fondly of the Michael mid-80s.

Say hi to Marty for me.

.
posted by ikahime at 5:47 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by Catblack at 5:48 PM on June 25, 2009


"Rarely has the world received a gift with the magnitude of artistry, talent, and vision as Michael Jackson. He was a true musical icon whose identifiable voice, innovative dance moves, stunning musical versatility, and sheer star power carried him from childhood to worldwide acclaim.

from the Recording Academy statement on his death. So often such words of tribute are hyperbolic, but not in this case.
posted by Lolie at 5:48 PM on June 25, 2009


The Jackson 5 formed when he was eight.

Jesus, that really puts it into heartbreaking perspective all over again. Hell, my eldest nephew is nine and was exhausted last week just from playing in his Little League final (he saved the game!) and going through his third grade graduation.
posted by scody at 5:48 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


.
posted by majikstreet at 5:49 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by armage at 5:50 PM on June 25, 2009


As kids in the early 80s, my brother and I spent hours and hours trying to figure out how to moonwalk in socks on the hardwood floor. I had that yellow Human Nature poster tacked to the back of my bedroom door.

I've always loved J5 Michael Jackson and his solo stuff starting with Off the Wall and going through the 80s and 90s. I've missed that MJ for a while.

While I mourn the loss of an icon of my childhood, what some have referred to as our generation's Elvis, I think I am more upset because the last 15-20 years of his life were a damn shame, a tragic circus that he mostly brought on himself.

I fear the next week or so as the autopsy information becomes tabloid fodder and makes more of an absolute sideshow of his legacy.
posted by jerseygirl at 5:51 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


.

[and +1 for the tribute remixes, pleez.]
posted by LMGM at 5:52 PM on June 25, 2009


Now THAT is how you do an Obit post. Nicely done. Thank you.

.
posted by jeanmari at 5:52 PM on June 25, 2009


Despite all of MJ's success and money, he really didn't have a very good life, did he? I hope he had more good moments than we saw.


posted by zinfandel at 5:52 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by kimdog at 5:55 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by paulus andronicus at 5:55 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by willpie at 5:56 PM on June 25, 2009


.

RIP, Michael, you poor, mixed-up, incredibly talented bastard. I hope you and Elvis are sitting down and having a good long chat somewhere.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:57 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
posted by Senator at 5:58 PM on June 25, 2009


I have to wonder, is this (minus the obsessive refreshing of CNN.com) what Elvis's death was like for my parents' generation?

Elvis' death occurred when I was doing the "sidekick/assistant" gig on the radio, and I almost had to break down the locked door to the Music Director's Office/Music Library to get access to any Elvis records besides his most recent (and rather crappy) single. So, my experience was not typical but it was certainly a "remember what you were doing when you heard the news" moment.

MJ was three years younger than I was (If I were a girl, I'd have been in the prime demographic for Jackson 5 'crossover' - i.e. white - fans). I was massively impressed by his "Off The Wall" album, thought it better (less gimmicky) than "Thriller" and everything after was a slow but steady decline from his peak. Even when he was doing interviews for "Off The Wall", there seemed something very strange about him, so everything in his non-music life was less of a surprise (but still a disappointment). I suspect he'll be Topic #1 in many media circles for some time to come as people who didn't want to (or couldn't) go public about him before take turns "telling all". It ain't gonna be pretty, but in the long run it may help explain (but not excuse) his greatest sins.

A great musical talent and child prodigy but still, the self-proclaimed "King of Pop", because after Elvis and The Beatles, it was no longer remotely possible to dominate Popular Music - but he was Number One more years than anyone, just not a King.

.
posted by wendell at 5:59 PM on June 25, 2009


When I see a man moonwalking in the sky, I'll know it's you, Michael... May you join the other late great kings: Elvis, Koopa.
posted by aftermarketradio at 6:00 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


.
posted by mrhaydel at 6:00 PM on June 25, 2009


I feel bad for Emmanual Lewis' family, for surely he's to be euthanized and buried with Jackson....
posted by nevercalm at 6:00 PM on June 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


dhruva: I was just thinking that Iran coverage is going to drop off dramatically from CNN.

If MJ's death pushes Iran off the news cycle, I"ll…I"ll…*sigh*

What's the word that combines "nauseatingly depressed" with "infinitely amused" ?
posted by LMGM at 6:01 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


As deeply, even passionately, as I've come to love a lot of Jackson 5 tunes, but I've always, always been creeped out by Michael Jackson. I was born in 1981, so I guess technically I was around for his good years, but my earliest memories of him are from maybe 1989 and they're all of how deeply scary I found him. Even before all his seriously obvious body dysmorphic stuff in, my kid brain found him threatening. I've never been able to listen to his music (since I didn't hear it at the time) separate from the weird, tragic larger than life figure. As I've gotten older, like most everyone, I've found him just very, very sad.

I don't know if its cultural or generational, but I guess I didn't know people still felt this kind of deep emotional connection to him and his songs. I'm surprised that I'm surprised, actually. What a strange, sad end to a strange cultural phenomenon.
posted by mostlymartha at 6:01 PM on June 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


Despite all of MJ's success and money, he really didn't have a very good life, did he? I hope he had more good moments than we saw.

I think he spent his whole life looking for "a friend like Ben" (only MJ recording I ever owned) and never found one. While many might have aspired to have his talent, I doubt anyone would have traded places with him given the life it ultimately brought him.
posted by Lolie at 6:01 PM on June 25, 2009


Every time I hear "Michael Jackson is dead" on TV my head keeps saying "no no no no no". It's going take a while to wrap my head around it.
posted by deborah at 6:03 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by jbiz at 6:04 PM on June 25, 2009


omg. This is sad. Heard the news a couple of hours ago and ran to do an errand. The entire Hell's Kitchen neighborhood is abuzz with the news of Michael Jackson's death. Everybody on their cellphone or on the stoops mourning or wondering how he died so young. I turned to a fellow customer at the fruit vendor and he said he couldn't care less. I don't feel that way.

His self mutilation and pedophilia were the products of having been abused, really badly parented and then he acted out that insanity. What a terrible waste. I felt shame for him turning his skin white and can only imagine the betrayal his skin bleaching was to anyone of black African descent. I know it was bleaching because a personal assistant of his told me that some years ago.

I will never forget hearing his music for the first time at a party of the DD&D (Diplomats, Designers and Drug Dealers) crowd in New Delhi in mid-summer 1984. All the intense vitality of the 80's was packed into that amazing Thriller album of his.

Then, when I returned West a year and a half later, so many little boys in America with their single glove, popping and break dancing. What an unlikely hero for so many kids. I feel terribly about his acting out his abuse on others. But I cannot help being glad I got to hear his energizing and life affirming music decade after decade.

May he moonwalk in peace.
posted by nickyskye at 6:06 PM on June 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


He was an utter nutjob, but a cultural icon.
posted by potch at 6:07 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by fuse theorem at 6:07 PM on June 25, 2009


Some of my happiest memories are dancing to the MJ beat. Not just in the 80's, 90's, but today & future to come. Nice Legacy MJ!!! Unfortunately most geniuses just seem to have a major flaw....
posted by sequin at 6:07 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by nooneyouknow at 6:09 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by pravit at 6:10 PM on June 25, 2009


This reminds me of when Elvis died. He was supposed to do a concert in my home town (he'd done a couple performances the year before and was returning) and he died a week before the concert. They wound up holding some kind of memorial tribute for him instead.


As for Michael-I was the same age as him and remember way back in fifth grade when the Jackson Five were so popular. And Michael was this incredibly cute and insanely talented little boy-and I wonder how we got from there, to here....

Between this and Farrah it's a sobering time for us baby boomers.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:10 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fan Letter to Michael Jackson
posted by KokuRyu at 6:11 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


And oh, yes, this is exactly what it was like when Elvis died.


Exactly.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:12 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was a first grader at a Catholic school in 1984. Our playground abutted a cemetery, which made it a perfect place for playing Thriller, so we did, everyday.
posted by moxiedoll at 6:13 PM on June 25, 2009


Even Al Jazeera has his death on their front page.
posted by Lolie at 6:14 PM on June 25, 2009


This made me way sadder than I would have expected. I guess he really did seem immortal to me when I was a kid and playing the grooves off of Thriller.

.
posted by treepour at 6:15 PM on June 25, 2009


It just doesn't stop though, it just doesn't stop. And the only reason I can talk about Mike is cause he's a freak, he is a freak. That's why people let you talk about him. Cause if I brought up catholic priests fucking kids it'd get quiet as shit. But, when Michael Jackson does it it's okay because he's a freak, his face is all cut up. Just remember when you look at that thing that he calls his face that he did that for you somehow. Somehow he thought "Maybe it'll help, maybe people will like me more if I turn myself into a white, ghoulish-like creature" I don't know what the fuck it is, but he did it for you.

- Dave Chappelle, For What It's Worth
posted by supercrayon at 6:15 PM on June 25, 2009 [53 favorites]


I've always contended that *everyone* is a Michael Jackson fan.

You were mistaken.

I am sorry for his family and loved ones and their highly public loss, but the music never did anything for me. In my view, in the early seventies, he gave us poppy Soul Lite music. A few years later we had some lachrymose ballads, and then some highly processed pop product in the eighties. None of these genres has ever appealed to me.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:16 PM on June 25, 2009 [13 favorites]


It was kind of strange taking the kids to swimming lessons today--the news hadn't been confirmed when we left and on the radio they were talking some boring economy nonsense (I mean, the nerve) so I walked into the pool enclosure refreshing my iPhone, and when I did, all the instructors swam up to me and said "Is it true? Is he really dead?". And by then it was true, he had.

The younger instructors didn't really get it, to him he was always Wacko Jacko. But the older ones and the other moms hanging out, they all had a story about having had the sequinned glove, or staying up late to watch the Motown special and OMG MOONWALK WTF, or getting Thriller for Christmas...and then an expression of sadness for the thing his life circumstances led him to become. Because whatever he was, it wasn't right and it wasn't all his fault. Nobody was looking out for that guy, not unless he was performing.

After all these years of seeing him as Public Nutbar Number One, I actually feel really good about the fact that now that he's gone, all I really felt was lucky to have been born in time to appreciate him as an artist first and foremost.
posted by padraigin at 6:17 PM on June 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


Man, I just caught a clip of an old 20/20 interview with his parents and brothers. I forgot what a truly horrendous family dynamic he was saddled with, especially his dad. What a boatload of pressure to put on a little kid. I sincerely hope that his parents don't get his three kids, but I'm sure Joe Jackson won't be letting those meal tickets get away.
posted by jeanmari at 6:17 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


For those of you who downloaded Plants versus Zombies, don't forget to play it tonight, and try and be kind to the Michael Jackson zombie and his dancing buddies.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:17 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh and as someone that clubs every weekend I can assure you that even before this happened. nothing got people on the floor like a classic MJ track rmx (often "Billie Jean")

Im sure it will be even more-so this weekend.
In fact alot of my DJ friends that Ive texted and IM'd today are looking for tracks of his to plug into their sets even as we speak.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 6:18 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


.
posted by brevator at 6:18 PM on June 25, 2009


subbes: "See, there's a reason the news sites have pre-written obits for major figures."

For fifty year olds? I don't think that Jackson was high on anyone's death watch list.
posted by octothorpe at 7:10 PM on June 25 [+] [!]


Literally less than one minute before the news that Farrah Fawcett died, an editor I work with who was busy setting up a story about her said, "Oh, I just know Kurt Russell is going to go before she does." I left before the Jackson story occurred but can't wait to hear what she had to say about that.

Big news organizations have canned obits on virtually all celebrities, even 50-year-olds.
posted by etaoin at 6:18 PM on June 25, 2009


When I was 11, my parents finally said I could have a tape player. It was a big day, let me tell you. We went to the store to pick it out, where I convinced my mother that I simply MUST have this shiny new beat box, not just any old tape player, sheesh. Part of the deal was that I was allowed to buy one new cassette to go with it, and of course I picked Thriller.

When I got home, I set the beat box out in the middle of the driveway and popped in the tape. My brothers and I then rode our bikes around and around it, which sounds silly now, but it was our first taste of how music makes even the shortest journey truly awesome. I think we all tried to pretend we were older and driving around in cars, actually. There was a lot of Thriller playing in the house that summer, which I think bemused my Dad (born in the 30s) to no end, but he just went with it.

Thanks, Michael.
posted by HopperFan at 6:19 PM on June 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


I was never a huge fan, but I was giving my 9-month old daughter a bath this evening and realized she'd be growing up in a post-MJ world. Mad me nostalgic and sad. Despite his faults he brought much joy to the world through music.
posted by danherwig at 6:20 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I sincerely hope that his parents don't get his three kids, but I'm sure Joe Jackson won't be letting those meal tickets get away.

I know -- this was one of my first thoughts after the immediate shock wears off. What on earth happens to those children now? Their mothers gave up all parental rights, as far as I know. To go from the sad, weird bubble they've been in their entire (short) lives to the hands of the monstrous patriarch whose abuse arguably created the entire tragedy that was Michael Jackson seems like a particularly sad and awful final chapter.
posted by scody at 6:21 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Current hot search trends - make of them what you will.
posted by GuyZero at 6:22 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm gonna find a ROM of Moonwalker for the Genesis. Remember how you could catch a shooting star and turn into a big MJ robot?
posted by painquale at 6:22 PM on June 25, 2009


I grew up listening to him.
I am shocked

You were a great artist MJ (but then you turned crazy)

Thank you anyway for making my teenager years so much more interesting!
posted by dov3 at 6:24 PM on June 25, 2009


What on earth happens to those children now? T

Jackson has a will that reads like the treaty of Westphalia. He may be crazy, but I doubt he's so crazy that his will isn't written on structural steel. I doubt he'd give the kids to his dad.
posted by GuyZero at 6:24 PM on June 25, 2009


rest in pop
posted by sswiller at 6:24 PM on June 25, 2009


I was born in 1981. I remember asking my dad if I could listen to his Thriller album at 5 or 6 and putting it on my record player in the playroom because I loved the song The Girl Is Mine. It was many years before I realized who the other person singing the duet was. (Sorry, Paul.) Michael Jackson was just that big to me.

What a sad soul, so utterly lost but so utterly talented.

.
posted by juliplease at 6:24 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


benzenedream: "I'm just glad he's with his peers now."

This makes me horribly sad now.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:25 PM on June 25, 2009


.


I'm completely stunned.
posted by Dr-Baa at 6:25 PM on June 25, 2009


What on earth happens to those children now?

Maybe not the best source, but Radar Online says that "probably" Michael Jackon's mom will get them:
Brian Oxman, the Jackson family’s longtime lawyer, revealed to RadarOnline.com that Michael’s Jackson’s children will most likely be placed I the care of his mother Katherine and that they were at the home when their father was taken away in an ambulance Thursday afternoon.

“Probably Mrs. Jackson will take care of them, she loves them dearly,” Oxman said. Though he confirmed the children were not at UCLA Medical Center where Jackson was taken. They are currently still in LA and with a nanny.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:27 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was never into the man nor his music, but his life was lived headlined across the globe.

.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 6:28 PM on June 25, 2009


HopperFan: "353When I got home, I set the beat box out in the middle of the driveway and popped in the tape. My brothers and I then rode our bikes around and around it, which sounds silly now, but it was our first taste of how music makes even the shortest journey truly awesome. I think we all tried to pretend we were older and driving around in cars, actually. There was a lot of Thriller playing in the house that summer, which I think bemused my Dad (born in the 30s) to no end, but he just went with it.

Thanks, Michael.
"

That reminds of the scene in Pump Up The Volume, when the kid commits suicide, and Harry is playing a song over the radio for him, and the movie cuts to kids on bikes in their driveway, circling a boom box as they listen and mourn.
posted by iamkimiam at 6:29 PM on June 25, 2009


Oxman was on KO's show via telephone and started crying while talking about what he had just experienced with Michael's family. I had to leave the room at that point to keep myself from crying.
posted by inconsequentialist at 6:31 PM on June 25, 2009


I grew up listening to MJ, saw the J5 live (with the Osmonds) when we were all babies. Graduated into hard rock in college, met MJ by accident at Cody's books during college when his music was growing ever distant from the sort of soul music I loved at a kid. Over the years, I followed his story as he became a horrific caricature of how people destroy themselves right there in the limelight that is here in Los Angeles.

My brother died of cancer a few years back, and I remember him saying to me, "There will never be another Elvis." At the time I was a smart ass teenager, and thought he was just living in the past. As a way of being close to my brother and honoring his memory, I bought some early Elvis and listened for the first time this last year. I have never been so enthralled by anyone's music as that of Elvis in those golden years before he was ground up by his manager and Hollywood.

If you want to see some amazing moonwalking, check out E in some of his early films. I can now understand why so many musicians, including MJ, are so taken with E.

Rest in Peace, gentlemen.
posted by effluvia at 6:35 PM on June 25, 2009


So now my memories of Michael Jackson are up on the Guardian.

Things move crazy fast in this Internet world.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:35 PM on June 25, 2009 [10 favorites]


Poor kid.

.
posted by effwerd at 6:36 PM on June 25, 2009


Sigh. I was hoping that a refresh would reveal that this wasn't where the MJ discussion was happening anymore, or that perhaps the comments had shaped up.

Personally, I'm fucking shook up right now.

Two very major memories of my childhood died in their personal manifestations today. One was Farrah Fawcett, who was someone I saw in her most famous form every time I went to my dad's workshop in the basement (right next to the Bud Girls). That hair, that smile, that body, ...that was the first nipple I ever "saw" and I was never the same again once I realized why it was so awesome...

The other was obviously Michael. One of my very first musical memories was Thriller, on vinyl, a LOT. Mind you, my parents were fans of Molly Hatchett, Phil Collins, and Bad Company mostly. However, Thriller was a mainstay of my childhood. I remember listening to it literally daily, and if it wasn't on at my house it was while we were visiting my parent's friends. My parents were 18 and 21 when I was born (in 1981), mind you, so they were young when that album dropped. I'm a very musical person, always have been, and Michael Jackson was a GOD as far as I was concerned. Everyone I looked up to loved him; my urban, suburban, and rural relatives, my black, white, brown and every other color friend's parents. EVERYONE.

As I grew up, the mix between brilliant MJ and eccentric MJ became heavier on the eccentricity. I was in middle school when the first rumors of pedophilia started to hit, and they never stopped. Neverland started to fall apart, Michael wound up in debt and became the butt of a lot of jokes. Lest you think I was one of the ones who always defended him, I told plenty of jokes myself. "Boy's pants half off" and all of that...

Anyway, I'm really sad today about Michael in particular. Part of it is just because my childhood immortals are dying in my adulthood, I suppose. Another part of it is definitely that whatever we might think of the guy or anything he maybe allegedly did, he was someone who was basically a media toy trying to escape the insanity of his fame since his late childhood. I've always strongly suspected that what people considered to be the oddest about him was really just an attempt to get to be the child he never got to be when it was appropriate. I hope he didn't break any laws doing so, but let's remember that he was never convicted of any such thing...

My feelings are really complicated and I've already erased paragraphs of this trying to get it right. Chances are high that I'll wish I'd erased more. I'm just sad that he's gone and that many folks just a bit younger than me will not remember him for the absolutely legendary musician he was. 13 Grammys, 13 #1 tracks just as a solo artist, over 750 million records sold. Thriller has been the best selling album of all time for basically my entire life.

So goodnight, sweet Prince Michael. King of pop indeed.
posted by rollbiz at 6:36 PM on June 25, 2009 [11 favorites]


.

Man, Billie Jean is a good song. I just sat down and learned it with a friend.

Gm Am Bb Am
Cm...

Cm Gm...
Eb D
posted by umbú at 6:36 PM on June 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


"That reminds of the scene in Pump Up The Volume, when the kid commits suicide, and Harry is playing a song over the radio for him, and the movie cuts to kids on bikes in their driveway, circling a boom box as they listen and mourn."

I haven't seen that movie in years, I'll have to rent it again. All I can remember is something vague about Samantha Mathis showing her boobs?
posted by HopperFan at 6:37 PM on June 25, 2009


Maybe one of the best derivative works given to us by Michael Jackson: The White Glove Tracking Project.
posted by potch at 6:37 PM on June 25, 2009


i feel like a part of my youth died today and that i've officially become old.

RIP Michael Jackson
RIP Farrah Fawcett
RIP Ed McMahon

and

RIP My Youth
posted by liza at 6:38 PM on June 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


I'm a child of the 80s. Even though I haven't seriously listened to him in years, and most that I've heard of him lately has been more about 'loony Mike!' than talented singer... I kinda just assumed he'd always be around. That there'd be a comeback tour and a new album and some mad dancing. Probably coupled with weird behaviour, but that's fine.

Shame to see you go, Michael. I'll boogie down to you for years to come.
posted by twirlypen at 6:39 PM on June 25, 2009


Oh cool, I didn't know this was how the Smooth Criminal anti-gravity lean (7 minutes 38 seconds in) was done:

"The effect in the video when Jackson and the dancers lean forward a seemingly impossible distance was achieved using special harnesses with wires and magnets. It was desired to replicate this effect for Jackson's stage show, but it would have been more obvious and cumbersome to use wire harnesses in a live performance. Jackson and his team devised an alternative way to achieve the effect on stage. The props needed for their technique were patented in the United States by Jackson in 1993, and consists of pegs that rise from the stage at the appropriate moment, and special shoes with ankle supports and cutouts in the heels which can slide over the pegs and be thereby attached to the stage temporarily. These allow the performers to lean without needing to keep their centers of gravity directly over their feet."

The peg idea is neat. There's a picture of the patent illustration on wikipedia too. Actually, this is a little disappointing; I didn't know the lean was faked. I just assumed that MJ's magical shooting-star-fueled dancing powers gave him the ability to do preposterous leans. It wasn't that much more preposterous than his other dance moves. Well, other than turning into a car; that one was kind of unbelievable.
posted by painquale at 6:42 PM on June 25, 2009 [26 favorites]


.

For the damaged soul that he was, and the brilliant music he gave us.
posted by OolooKitty at 6:43 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Michael Jackson was another casualty of the steamroller of childhood fame. I sometimes feel that child stardom is just a less obvious form of child abuse, at least in terms of the percentage of those who ultimately descend into mental illness and/or drug addiction.

Yeah; as I was walking to lunch (with my two year old, as it happens), I was thinking about this, and the extent to which people like Jackson and Britney Spears and whatnot are exploited by parents who see them, not as vulnerable precious children, but as little wads of money.

And you know, the more I though about the Jacksons' early life, the harder I find it to distinguish, on a moral level, between the attitude of their parents and parents who would sell their kids in a whorehouse. Because, at the end of the day, that's all it seems like they gave a damn about - how mouch money they could pull out of their kids.
posted by rodgerd at 6:44 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think Jake Johannsen's joke about Liberace works here as well. To paraphrase: You're never going to hear anyone say, "He's like Michael Jackson, only more so!" He pretty much pegged out whatever scale he was being measured on.

There's probably a lot to be said for that, both for good and for ill.

RIP
posted by Cyrano at 6:44 PM on June 25, 2009 [22 favorites]


When I was growing up in the 80s, my brother and I had a VHS tape of Moonwalker that we watched all the time. I don't know exactly when we got it, but I do remember that one of our parents had recorded it from tv for us, and that no matter how strange the plot was, I always loved to watch it.

I haven't seen that movie in at least 15 years, but it still remains the most vivid memory that I have of Michael Jackson, even after all of the weird and bizarre things that he did in his later years.

Rest in peace, Michael.

.
posted by sabira at 6:46 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:47 PM on June 25, 2009


"I sincerely hope that his parents don't get his three kids, but I'm sure Joe Jackson won't be letting those meal tickets get away."

Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown.
posted by mecran01 at 6:49 PM on June 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


Describing him as an over-hyped non-talent is an understatement. The man had one half-good song, Billie Jean, and that is it. One hundred years from now, the man's musical legacy, such as it is, will be mostly forgotten. The U.S. had an embarrassing surfeit of African American musical talent in the 20th century, but MJ was not amongst them.

The child star thing, the stunts, the dance moves and most importantly the period of time when mass global music marketing reached its zenith all combined to make him the pop superstar he undoubtedly was. But I always found his music mostly irritating and banal. I was thinking this again today when I heard Beat It on the radio of a shop I was at - before I had heard the news and realised why it had been playing. Hopefully this one last frenzy of airplay with news of his death and then his music can start its long slide into obscurity.

RIP Michael; a life burnt by fame.
posted by Sitegeist at 6:49 PM on June 25, 2009 [12 favorites]


.
posted by Gravitus at 6:51 PM on June 25, 2009


I'm just old enough to remember learning to dance to the Jackson 5 - along with the other tentpoles of Tiger Beat pop fan icons of the early 70s, the Osmond Brothers and (briefly, but what's brief when you're six?) the DiFranco Family - but never really noticed him until Billie Jean, when he was already exhibiting signs of really uncomfortable weirdness. I was working with a dozen or so older black women at the time at a phone service in L.A. All had a good ten or more years on Jackson, and all had withering things to say about Motown, about his family, particularly about his father, and about his plastic surgery. What I absorbed from their talk was that he was tragic in spite of his success. This when he was maybe 25, and the most celebrated pop icon in the world: a huge success. It was an interesting juxtaposition for me at that age (17 or so), and I remember being sorta astounded that these women knew so much about him and his family. Was the Jackson patriarch's now-legendary abuse even tabloid info at that time? I don't think the white press cared, and I wonder if the black press dared, to expose it.

It was a little absurd to feel sorry for someone like Micheal Jackson, but I did. I still do - not so much, now that we know, or have good reason to suspect, that he was a predator - but I still do. He produced some music of absolute joy. Shivers-down-the-back vocals and some of the best pop songs ever made so far. But he was missing that necessary third rail of whatever it is we all need to lead our lives conscientiously, and without it he went off the tracks.
posted by goofyfoot at 6:52 PM on June 25, 2009


This obit has a line that I think is quite perceptive: "He was the pop star of the era of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, or ET and Star Wars, futuristic in style yet terminally sentimental in content."
posted by stammer at 6:54 PM on June 25, 2009 [17 favorites]


I feel like my childhood is officially over.
posted by MediaMer at 6:54 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


.
posted by betafilter at 6:54 PM on June 25, 2009


Hopefully this one last frenzy of airplay with news of his death and then his music can start its long slide into obscurity.

Aw, how nice -- that's pretty much word-for-word what my mom said when John Lennon was shot. (She still sneers "wah wah wah, I wanna hold your hand" in a baby voice whenever anyone mentions the Beatles within earshot of her.)
posted by scody at 6:55 PM on June 25, 2009 [13 favorites]


I was born in 1983, and by the time I was old enough to begin developing personal musical tastes Michael Jackson was already tainted by scandal and his surgeries and was more or less a joke to my peers.

That said, even I can listen to his music, never having been a part of the cultural phenom itself, and recognize the incredible talent therein.

A sad loss to music.


.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:58 PM on June 25, 2009


Describing him as an over-hyped non-talent is an understatement. The man had one half-good song, Billie Jean, and that is it.

Let's see, how shall I put this... you have got to be fucking tone deaf or brain dead. And this goes for all of you coming with this fucking "oh he was just an overrated unit-shifting product" bullshit. Off The Wall and Thriller are two of the greatest pop albums ever recorded, not to mention his unparalleled showmanship, not to mention the amazing work he did with the Jackson 5 as a child, and denying that out of some idiotic sense of indie-rock-hipster orthodoxy which requires you to hate anything popular is beyond moronic. Grow the fuck up.
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:01 PM on June 25, 2009 [105 favorites]


.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:01 PM on June 25, 2009


Hopefully this one last frenzy of airplay with news of his death and then his music can start its long slide into obscurity.

I think you will be devastatingly disappointed as a Michael Jackson hater if you think he's going to fade into obscurity in your lifetime.
posted by Liquidwolf at 7:02 PM on June 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


Wow, this is a shock. This is Michael Jackson as I prefer to remember him, when he was on top of the world. When he was, literally, out of this world. (Unbelievably, I just watched these videos on YouTube last night. I hadn't thought of Captain EO in years, but I was reading a book that mentioned it recently. I never got to see it at Epcot and decided that now was my chance. And then I found out about his death today, so..weird timing.)
posted by Mael Oui at 7:02 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Of course, .
posted by Mael Oui at 7:03 PM on June 25, 2009


Michael Jackson inspired my hero, Darren Hayes. His tribute to Michael is pretty much what I could have written for Darren. If it weren't for Darren and his music I have no idea what would have happened to me in my teen years.

Thanks for inspiring my hero, and for inspiring many other heroes for many other people. Your legacy lives on.

.
posted by divabat at 7:04 PM on June 25, 2009


I'm not a big fan of Michael Jackson.

But I am a big fan of The Wiz.
posted by paisley henosis at 7:07 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Fifty is pretty young to die. But I don't know how happy the remaining 30 to 40 years of his life would have been if he'd had a chance to live them. His was one of those trainwreck lives that are as painful to forecast as they are to watch.

And so his death is tragic, both for its untimeliness and because of the life he lived.
posted by orange swan at 7:08 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I remember growing up with his music as a kid, from hearing him on the radio to my mom's vinyl copy of Thriller. By the time I was actually old enough to appreciate music, the 80s were over, so I never had one of those "wow" moments like seeing the moonwalk for the first time. His music is still part of the whole mosaic I remember to be my childhood, more so than any other artist I can remember from when I was that small, so this really hits home in a weird way.

.
posted by threetoed at 7:11 PM on June 25, 2009


Oh, and also: this...

The U.S. had an embarrassing surfeit of African American musical talent in the 20th century, but MJ was not amongst them.

...is hilarious, considering that the greatest African American musicians of the 20th century who were alive during Michael Jackson's career (from Marvin Gaye to James Brown to Aretha Franklin to Quincy Jones to Gladys Knight to literally too more to count) were virtually unanimous in holding MJ in the highest musical esteem.

Unless you want to make the extremely dubious argument that Marvin Gaye et al. had the talent to produce great music themselves while simultaneousy failing to possess the ability to distinguish good music from bad when produced by someone else.
posted by scody at 7:12 PM on June 25, 2009 [20 favorites]


You know, Michael Jackson was as much a part of my life as he was of everyone else's, from the moment Ms. Ross first introduced the Jackson Five, to that classic clutch of 80's albums. And there's nothing that successfully evokes one's past the way that music does, so when a great pop musician dies, it's bound to conjure a degree of nostalgia for the better times in our lives.

Yet the only mourning that I'll be doing today is for the innocence of those children who were delivered up to feed his sexual (or quasi-sexual) urges, by parents who were so desperate for a piece of the dream machine that they were prepared to pimp out their own pre-pubescent children to a man who clearly had an unnatural and inappropriate interest in them.

I wonder what those children must be thinking today, as they watch the man who was their abuser being feted by the media vampires who will happily forgive anything that brings them an extra dollar?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:12 PM on June 25, 2009 [14 favorites]


Even now, Jeff Koons is rubbing his hands together and cackling.
posted by klangklangston at 7:12 PM on June 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


The first poster I had on my wall was MJ (to the horror of my racist family). I just now delighted to watch my husband dance along with the Thriller video (I myself still know the entire Vincent Price 'rap'). I was horrified to witness what an abusive childhood becomes in an adult man with more money and power than just about anyone else in the music business, and had nothing to do with him for years, but this is a sad thing anyway.

.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:15 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


No words.

.
posted by chihiro at 7:17 PM on June 25, 2009


I was born far too late to remember Michael in his heyday, but he's so ubiquitous that fourth-grade me had a pretty good image of the Michael of my times - that white face wearing dark glasses framed by the long black hair. My teacher was showing us an old video with Michael in it, I want to say "We Are the World," and I was confused when she told us that this vibrant young black man was Michael Jackson. I asked my teacher if he'd had a tan back in the day, and she gave me a very strange look.

But in high school a group of us had to learn the Thriller dance for a play, and I watched one of the best breakdancers in our school trying to approximate his solo, and I knew that Michael was something special. I downloaded some of his music, and "Billie Jean" was on repeat for a while.

I can picture his funeral right now. JT singing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," Samuel L. Jackson giving the eulogy - "Well, he bleached himself and maybe molested little boys, but he was the goddamn King of Pop. Everybody bow your fucking heads."
posted by Devika at 7:19 PM on June 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


.
posted by snapped at 7:21 PM on June 25, 2009


Ha, Moonwalker! I haven't thought of that movie in ages, but I'm having fun watching it again on Youtube. It's such nonsense. The California Raisins segment is even weirder than I remember. Joe Pesci's character tells no one in particular "I want every kid in the world to take drugs because of me!" to subtly establish to the viewing audience that he is the antagonist. And of course here MJ turns into a cross between the Batmobile and a DeLorean.
posted by painquale at 7:22 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Never "got" or liked his music. His dancing, yeah it looked cool the first time I saw it; after that, meh.

And he had a personal physician and then the ER was closed because one famous, ostentatious, wasteful, self-indulgent child abuser's dead body is in the ER? What about all the not-so-famous people who may have died, or received less expedienct care because the ER had been turned into the "King of Pop's" mausoleum?

And this outpouring of emotion? Look, I understand part of what we mourn when the iconic die is our own aging, the loss of our youth and innocence, part of what we celebrate is our own nostalgia, but when Neil Armstrong -- who (albeit as part of a big team) accomplished so much more that Michael Jackson -- dies, we'll see a five minute news item, not wall-to-wall coverage. And that upsets me far more than Mr. Jackson's death.
posted by orthogonality at 7:22 PM on June 25, 2009 [21 favorites]


.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:22 PM on June 25, 2009


but when Neil Armstrong -- who (albeit as part of a big team) accomplished so much more that Michael Jackson -- dies, we'll see a five minute news item, not wall-to-wall coverage. And that upsets me far more than Mr. Jackson's death.

Sure, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, but Michael Jackson moonwalked. (Sorry, I couldn't help myself.)

.
posted by TBoneMcCool at 7:26 PM on June 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


And he had a personal physician and then the ER was closed because one famous, ostentatious, wasteful, self-indulgent child abuser's dead body is in the ER?

As a point of clarification, I think it's fairly safe to say the ER was not "closed" to people in need of emergency care. At the time, there was a media storm descending on the place, so it would probably make sense that security was keeping the press out. I seriously doubt his bodyguard were turning away ambulances and stabbing victims.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:26 PM on June 25, 2009 [6 favorites]



Dear Michael,

I was pleased to learn that you were not seriously hurt in your recent accident. I know from experience that these things can happen on the set – no matter how much caution is exercised.

All over America, millions of people look up to you as an example. Your deep faith in God and adherence to traditional values are an inspiration to all of us, especially young people searching for something real to believe in. You've gained quite a number of fans along the road since I Want You Back and Nancy and I are among them.

Keep up the good work, Michael. We're very happy for you.

- President Ronald Wilson Reagan
The White House
1 February 1984


posted by cinemafiend at 7:27 PM on June 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


I don't know much, but I do know that Billie Jean is one of the great songs of the 20th century. I don't know what to think about MJ the human -- all of what I know was filtered through the Star Machine of the big media, so I realize that what I know about him is -- well, nothing. So I'm just plain surprised by his death, but I will always love that one song.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:29 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


.
posted by strixus at 7:29 PM on June 25, 2009


Yet the only mourning that I'll be doing today is for the innocence of those children who were delivered up to feed his sexual (or quasi-sexual) urges

Yes, what he did to those children was unforgivable. But can't we separate that from his musical legacy? James Brown brutalized women. Elvis was a totally dysfunctional drug addict who liked to humiliate members of his band onstage. Chuck Berry was a pervert who pimped out teenage girls. Yet it seems like it's only Michael Jackson whose negative aspects have eclipsed everything else. Can't he be remembered as a great musician who, also, apart from being a great musician, was fucked up in his personal life?
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:30 PM on June 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


I actually hated MJ when I was growing up in the 80s. I though the was a scary looking weirdo.

It wasn't until college that I started to appreciate his music. And that was because I had , by then, gotten into hip hop, and started hearing DJs mix MJ's music. Great stuff. I never saw his videos until today, on youtube. Holy shit the guy was an amazing dancer.

He was a crazy weirdo who might have been a child molester. Once upon a time he made great music.
posted by wuwei at 7:32 PM on June 25, 2009


Michael Jackson in "We Don't Have to Change At All" from Free to Be You And Me
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:35 PM on June 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


.
posted by strangememes at 7:36 PM on June 25, 2009


when Neil Armstrong -- who (albeit as part of a big team) accomplished so much more that Michael Jackson -- dies, we'll see a five minute news item, not wall-to-wall coverage. And that upsets me far more than Mr. Jackson's death.

Well, obvious jokes aside, I guess a lot of what we talk about in times like these really serves to show what is most important to us in this world. Neil Armstrong? Man, others could (and did) do what Neil did. Neil Armstrong didn't devise the physics that made a moon landing possible, after all.
posted by rollbiz at 7:37 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


..
posted by TwelveTwo at 7:38 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by furious at 7:38 PM on June 25, 2009


He was a crazy weirdo who might have been a child molester. Once upon a time he made great music.

Pretty much says it all...
posted by fullysic at 7:39 PM on June 25, 2009


Your favourite pedophile sucks.
posted by pompomtom at 7:39 PM on June 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


I wonder what those children must be thinking today, as they watch the man who was their abuser being feted by the media vampires who will happily forgive anything that brings them an extra dollar?

The media vampires had a feedy-frenzy over every single accusation levelled against Michael Jackson over the last 10 years, too. I'm honestly not seeing any "forgiveness" in any of the media. The child abuse stories are being recapped. But the heavyweights of the music industry paying tribute to an artist's musical legacy is newsworthy.

Half an hour before Jackson's death was rumoured, the front page of our local media was featuring Farrah Fawcett's death - there's not a whole lot to write about Farrah Fawcett which is going to fill the wasteland that is weekend news reports. The good, the bad, and the ugly of Michael Jackson's life is actually worthy of public discussion and public scrutiny and there will undoubtedly be many editorials about the public reaction to the death of someone so recently publicly reviled. But I see no danger of the media beatifying Michael Jackson to the same ridiculous degree that they sanctified Diana in death.
posted by Lolie at 7:39 PM on June 25, 2009


Well, I'm spending tomorrow finally getting around to learning the Thriller dance routine.

.
posted by jamaro at 7:43 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by griffey at 7:45 PM on June 25, 2009


I was born in '84, so I fell below the "Mandatory Michael fan" cutoff, inasmuch as there is one. He was always a little retro to me, and by the time I was really getting aware of music, the child molestation jokes were in full swing. So I like to think I look at this as something of an outsider, and it seems like his death is providing people with a way to perform an act of surgery: separating "Michael Jackson, King of Pop and Avatar of Celebrity" from "Michael Jackson, reclusive self-mutilated pedophile creep." A week ago, nobody I knew would seriously talk about him except as an object of scorn and mockery, even if they semi-ironically loved Thriller as part of the Zombie meme; this weekend, we'll all be dancing to "Beat it" reimxes without a trace of irony.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:47 PM on June 25, 2009 [9 favorites]


This is a moment in time, and while it will seem corny to most of you - We Are the World. RIP. Micheal.
.
posted by tizzie at 7:47 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


I wonder what those children must be thinking today, as they watch the man who was their abuser being feted by the media vampires who will happily forgive anything that brings them an extra dollar?

I've always been more or less in the "weirdo, but not an active child molester" camp, mainly because my college roommate (now a child psychologist) and I spent a drunken evening discussing the Jackson molestation case, and it was her professional opinion that Jackson most likely saw these boys as playmates, or surrogate brothers, rather than sexual objects.

I wonder if, now, we'll see a slew of "Jackson Molested Me" stories in the press. I wonder how the presence (or absence) of such stories will change this history/legacy of the man.
posted by anastasiav at 7:49 PM on June 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think I will always remember him dressed in the yellow vest and bow tie, his serious gaze accented by heavily applied eyeliner. That was the poster that hung on the door of my room.

I am glad I had the privilege of growing up during the "Off the Wall" and "Thriller" eras. I feel kind of sad for the generation of Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Bros.

.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:50 PM on June 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


.
posted by Webbster at 7:51 PM on June 25, 2009


Photos and video and accompanying article about MJ's former digs.
posted by atsotsis at 7:52 PM on June 25, 2009


To me, perhaps the most tragic part of this death is seeing the repeated misspellings of the first name that Jackson, I, and over 3.8 million Americans share.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:52 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


.
posted by andromache at 7:52 PM on June 25, 2009


I don't believe for one minute that Michael Jackson is the only celebrity who has preyed on children (seems horrendously statistically unlikely) in recent times. I do wonder if the general weirdness of his adult life and the sheer magnitude of his wealth and fame made him more likely to be publicly outed for it though.
posted by Lolie at 7:53 PM on June 25, 2009


I feel sorry for you fuckers who just don't get it. My parents were overbearing and overprotective, and I managed to miss most pop culture of my time (even though I lived in the US), but even I got to experience the glory that was MJ. He transcended all those boundaries.

.
posted by sa3z at 7:55 PM on June 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


Well I, for one, never stopped dancing my ass off sincerely to MJ's music. I even like the smoothed out late 80's/early 90's stuff.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 7:59 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


In recent years I've been thinking that, sweet Jesus, Michael Jackson desperately needed some kind of help; he needed some way to just pull the plug on everything and find peace somehow. I was half-hoping he'd take a page out of Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam's book and publically announce that he was retiring from music forever, he'd found some kind of philosopihcal or religious or some kind of path that he was going to pursue now, and he was going to drop out of the spotlight and take care of himself now, thanks everyone, and goodbye. And then he'd work on resting and healing and mending himself and living a quiet life and finding peace that way, because that was the one thing I don't think he ever had, was peace.

It's sad that this was ultimatey the way he had to come to it, but at least now he has peace.

A little video to consider.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:00 PM on June 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


Dr. Zira - Same with me!
posted by ikahime at 8:02 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by Bron at 8:04 PM on June 25, 2009


the christopher hundreds: "This is what it takes to get MTV to play music?"

Let it also be remembered that MTV videos were Whites Only until Michael Jackson dance-kicked the door down.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:05 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah. I remember the first time I saw Thriller. Where I was. Who I was with. What other music video can I say that about?

.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:06 PM on June 25, 2009


When I heard he died, at first I thought, "wow, that's so sad." Then I thought, "wait, that's not sad, he was a child molester."

Then I downloaded Man in the Mirror to my i-phone and belted it out as I drove around town.

Talk about conflicted.
posted by fyrebelley at 8:07 PM on June 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


but when Neil Armstrong -- who (albeit as part of a big team) accomplished so much more that Michael Jackson -- dies, we'll see a five minute news item, not wall-to-wall coverage. And that upsets me far more than Mr. Jackson's death.

You don't get how this works, do you? For those of us of a certain age, Michael Jackson's music was the (catchy, eminently danceable) background music during a sizable chunk of our lives (for me, it started with doing the dance routine to Thriller as a class in third grade--in my all-white, blue collar, rural elementary school!), all the way to dancing to "Do You Remember the Time" at prom.

My grandmother died the same year my childhood dog did. I saw my grandmother for only 3-5 days, every year or two. I spent hours with that dog every damn day. Guess who I wandered around the house looking for, without realizing it, with a terrible hole in my heart after she died?
posted by availablelight at 8:11 PM on June 25, 2009 [27 favorites]


For those who want to laugh at something: mourners gather at the wrong Michael Jackson's star in Hollywood.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 8:13 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


Even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Just played "Smooth Criminal" at high volume.

.
posted by porn in the woods at 8:15 PM on June 25, 2009


Durn Bronzefist: "Yeah. I remember the first time I saw Thriller. Where I was. Who I was with. What other music video can I say that about?As"

As soon as I heard the news today, I knew that I'd remember for the rest of my life where I was at the time.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:18 PM on June 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


"For fifty year olds? I don't think that Jackson was high on anyone's death watch list."

Anyone can be hit by a bus; if you're even half way famous AP is going to have a dead file on you waiting for that bus.

"Why do people make the assumption that pedophiles are automatically homosexual? That is the reason gay kids are almost by law not allowed into the Boy Scouts and is a leading argument for the right to stop legalization of adoption by gay and lesbian couples."

I don't recall any sweeping generalizations to that end in here. Rather specific statements about Michael Jackson whose alleged indiscretions were with boys.

"And he had a personal physician and then the ER was closed because one famous, ostentatious, wasteful, self-indulgent child abuser's dead body is in the ER? What about all the not-so-famous people who may have died, or received less expedienct care because the ER had been turned into the 'King of Pop's' mausoleum?"

Well to be fair the guy is dead, even if true you really can't blame people's actions on him at that point.
posted by Mitheral at 8:18 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by K5 at 8:23 PM on June 25, 2009


RIP MJ

=(

.
posted by cholly at 8:23 PM on June 25, 2009


"I remember the first time I saw Thriller. Where I was. Who I was with. What other music video can I say that about?"

Me too and it was really weird. It was a couple weeks after the video came out (we didn't have TV at the time); I was at a friends place for dinner; and the local 5:30 news show played it in it's entirety at the end of the broadcast. Surreal I tell ya. The jocks must have been pissed.
posted by Mitheral at 8:24 PM on June 25, 2009


One less night of Bill O'Reilly.
posted by jeremy b at 8:29 PM on June 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


'Thriller' was one of the first albums of any significance in my childhood, and I think I've always rooted for Michael to some day be proven innocent-but-misunderstood with regards to the allegations leveled against him in later years. I'm a little bit surprised by how sad I feel over his death but I guess there really was something special about him, after all. I hope his final years were happy ones.

Rest in peace and happiness, MJ.
posted by DingoMutt at 8:32 PM on June 25, 2009


I feel sorry for you fuckers who just don't get it. My parents were overbearing and overprotective, and I managed to miss most pop culture of my time (even though I lived in the US), but even I got to experience the glory that was MJ. He transcended all those boundaries.

I guess that makes me a "fucker", but my parents weren't so overbearing, so I was allowed to listen to decent music. I think that's why I "don't get it". I'm not sure why that makes me pitiable but, hey, whatever floats your boat.
posted by pompomtom at 8:33 PM on June 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


I was half-hoping he'd take a page out of Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam's book and publically announce that he was retiring from music forever, he'd found some kind of philosopihcal or religious or some kind of path that he was going to pursue now, and he was going to drop out of the spotlight and take care of himself now...

See, this is where I have some compassion. Because if you look at those old interviews with his parents, you realize that this guy was forced into being the bread winner for an enormous family who really didn't treat him very well. In the clip I saw earlier today, this 20/20 interviewer is sitting in the back of a car with Michael, who was wistfully talking about how he wasn't allowed to go out and play after school with other kids. Ever. His dad required them to immediately begin rehearsal. Then, the camera cuts to a scene where the interviewer is sitting across from his parents, talking about the price of fame for young kids. And she comments, "Surely, there must have been sacrifices...", waiting for mom and dad to chime in one the effects that this has had on their kids' lives. And these two start talking about the sacrifices that THEY have made. Why, Joe Jackson had to load all of those instruments on top of the family car! And those instruments were expensive! The self-centeredness of them both took my breath away.

What a psychological burden to put on an 8 year old. A 12 year old. That if you want to quit tomorrow and go off and do something else and just be alone that it is quite possible that all of the people around you will be angry and disappointed in you and won't be all to pay the bills. What a train wreck of a family life to put a kid through.
posted by jeanmari at 8:33 PM on June 25, 2009 [33 favorites]


Very sad news. My favorite MJ song.
posted by sleevener at 8:33 PM on June 25, 2009


Even though he's associated with so much sketchy and seedy stuff, MJ will for me always be associated with the absolute DELIGHT of hearing the first few bars of "Billie Jean" and running out to the dance floor, or bouncing around singing "PYT", or the almost physical excitement and ecstasy that is the first bars of "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" or the last of "Wanna Be Startin' Something". This is music I've seen tens and even hundreds of people drop everything to dance to and smile over. That's power, and talent, and maybe that sway is behind the sordidness that came to sully his reputation.
posted by mynameisluka at 8:42 PM on June 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


Spent some time rewatching all his videos (so awesome!), and I think my favorite (at least right now) is Beat It--there's just such a wonderful exuberance in his dance moves there. That's the Michael all us girls were in love with back in the day (if you weren't there, you can't understand). Seriously, I don't think people understand how innovative he really was. He totally invented the video (he wasn't the first, but he made it what it is) and the group dance routine. Everyone who came after him owes him a huge debt.
posted by Go Banana at 8:43 PM on June 25, 2009


Quincy Jones on MJ's passing:
"I am absolutely devastated at this tragic and unexpected news. For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don't have the words.

Divinity brought our souls together on The Wiz and allowed us to do what we were able to throughout the 80's.

To this day, the music we created together on "Off The Wall," "Thriller" and "Bad" is played in every corner of the world and the reason for that is because he had it all...talent, grace, professionalism and dedication.

He was the consummate entertainer and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the world forever.

I've lost my little brother today, and part of my soul has gone with him."
Well put, Mr. Jones...
.
posted by paulsc at 8:44 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah. I remember the first time I saw Thriller. Where I was. Who I was with. What other music video can I say that about?

I'm probably a few years older than you, since for me it's another Michael Jackson video, "Black or White". They played it after an episode of the Simpsons, back when it was on Thursday nights. I remember the morphing blew my mind. This was 1991, we didn't have morphing! Then it got a little weird when he blew up the car after the music stopped, but it was still memorable.
posted by smackfu at 8:47 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


I gave up trying to explain the concept of alternative or indie music, because nothing like that was sold in the shops.

Actually, the indie scene is coming up now, mostly thanks to Myspace and YouTube. But pretty much spot on for the rest of the comment; Maikhail Jaikishan pretty much personified angrezi (== 'English') music in most of my childhood, his thematic approach towards albums finding a very prominent echo with the whole we're-creative-we-can-do-any-genre kitsch that was prevalent in 60's and 70's Bollywood. Also, his Disney-isque Heal-The-World kumbaya also fit in neatly with Bollywood's core its-all-about-lou ethos.

Dance-masters did extensively copy from, or were inspired by, his dance-steps and his music, but that's secondary; the Beatles, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd and Bob Dylan (gratitious self-link) were popular, but weren't inspirational enough for Bollywood because they were too dark and less encompassing. As a result, kids in muffisil towns probably weren't exposed to other international music; easy to imagine that they were less disappointed that you didn't idolize MJ, and more by that they didn't have a common point of musical appreciation with a travelling firang. :-)

For, MJ was exactly that for 80's India; before globalization, before MTV, before AR Rahman, before Dil Se created history by breaking into the UK top 10 list, MJ was our ticket to popular world culture.

.
posted by the cydonian at 8:47 PM on June 25, 2009 [11 favorites]


What didn't make me feel particularly old : Michael Jackson dying
What did : Realizing that an entire generation has only known him as a pervert

My god, for the first 10 years or so of my life the guy was basically a hero. Hell, he was more than that. He was the most famous person alive.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:48 PM on June 25, 2009 [29 favorites]


Describing him as an over-hyped non-talent is an understatement.

It's like my mom always says, if you can't say something nice, shut the fuck up.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:52 PM on June 25, 2009 [25 favorites]


I'd like to highly recommend tracking down and listening to Gimix by the Avalanches. There's a lovely bit of Billie Jean towards the end of the mix. Using relatively simple means, the Avs turn the line "She says I am the one" into something new, and a seedy accusation transforms into a joyous declaration. It's one of my favorite moments in any mix or mashup.

.
posted by shortfuse at 8:53 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by spinifex23 at 8:55 PM on June 25, 2009


Making a list of people I need to punch in the dick.
posted by chunking express at 8:55 PM on June 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


Hey, Sitegeist: Faze called and he wants his lame faux-jaded schtick back.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:57 PM on June 25, 2009


Darkness falls across the land,
The midnight hour is close at hand.
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y'all's neighborhood.
And whosoever shall be found
Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a corpse's shell.
The foulest stench is in the air.
The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzy ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom.
And though you fight to stay alive,
Your body starts to shiver,
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller!

MU-HAHAHAHAH! MUU-HAHAHAHAHAH!!!
posted by not_on_display at 9:00 PM on June 25, 2009 [8 favorites]


I am by no means knowledgable about Michael Jackson. Other than They Might Be Giants, for me music is something that happens to other people. But I do know some thing possibly relevant:

painquale: "I'm gonna find a ROM of Moonwalker for the Genesis. Remember how you could catch a shooting star and turn into a big MJ robot?"

It's been a long time since I've played it, but yes. In fact (assuming I remember this right, it's been like 15 years), I discovered that there is a key girl to rescue first in every level. If you rescue her first, the shooting star appears and you get to blow up the bad guys as the robot for a while.

Michael Jackson and Sega had a pretty good working relationship. They also released a Moonwalker arcade game that wasn't too bad. It supported three-player co-op, with each player playing his own variously-colored Michael Jackson. It actually came out some time after the Genesis game.

Promo screens for the Genesis game show a mode that was removed from the final version, of an expanded version of the shoot-em-up sequence at the end of the game. The game's also notable for presenting some rather good versions of MJ's hits at the time. The Genesis is sort of looked down upon for its musical capabilities now, considering how deep in the SNES' digital audio shadow it was cast, but it's some of the best music on the Genesis.

Finally, the Dreamcast game Space Channel 5, and its PS2 sequel, both feature cameo appearances by "Space Michael," whose dance moves catch on to the other members of your entourage if you rescue him. Michael Jackson got a Special Thanks credit in the first game for that one (don't know about the second).
posted by JHarris at 9:03 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


The man had one half-good song, Billie Jean

This tells you everything you need to know about this commenter. Hip ignorance is still ignorant. Whenever you're done posing for the cool kids, you're more than welcome to join the rest of us dancing to some of the best pop music ever put to vinyl. And I sure as fuck don't mean Wavves or whatever Pitchfork has told you to worship in the interim.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:04 PM on June 25, 2009 [14 favorites]


When I heard he died, at first I thought, "wow, that's so sad." Then I thought, "wait, that's not sad, he was a child molester."

Then I downloaded Man in the Mirror to my i-phone and belted it out as I drove around town.

Talk about conflicted.


You know, strangely enough (or maybe not so strangely), this conflict, which I feel as well reminds me of another icon who died within the past few years: Bobby Fischer.

Utterly unparalleled in his prime. Drew in millions of fans in admiration of what he had done. Then became a recluse, only to emerge once every several years, apparently having completely lost it, to do things utterly embarrassing to his fans, things which were astoundingly shameful if not downright criminal. I hope they both find the peace in death which they could not find in life.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:07 PM on June 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


News of Jackson's Death First Spread Online.

Michael Jackson-Related Traffic Doubled Twitter's Update Frequency, Tripled Facebook's.

Michael Jackson's Death Roils Wikipedia.

Michael Jackson’s Albums Storm the Charts on iTunes.
posted by ericb at 9:07 PM on June 25, 2009 [12 favorites]


I was in the store today bopping along listening to Michael Jackson's "Beat It" playing when the music stopped and the announcer said, "We have just had it confirmed that Michael Jackson has died, at the age of 50, from a cardiac arrest. Again, it has just been confirmed that Michael Jackson has died."

Every single person in the store stopped dead in their tracks and just listened. For a moment after the announcement was played no one said a word. Then, we all turned to one another with disbelief. Not one of us could believe what we had just heard. I mean obviously the radio station had heard a rumor as they were playing MJ's music, or that was the creepiest coincidence ever, but, wow, he was an icon on my childhood.

As many have stated here, "Thriller" was the first cassette I owned. I played it until it fell apart, that was all we listened to, nonstop, at birthday parties, at sleep overs, at school rest time. He was the man and everyone wanted to be like him. Even as he changed and grew into a sad individual I could always remember him through his music.

Goodbye Michael, rest in peace.
posted by SuzySmith at 9:07 PM on June 25, 2009 [11 favorites]


I was a little beyond MJ and his music by the time he went world-wide in the '80s, but I grew up with him and the Jackson Five on the radio speakers and the turntables all through the '70s. The dichotomy between the little angel kid who sings "ABC 123" and the final result is simply and heart-breakingly too much to bear.

For those who only know him as a pop phenomenon, you have to know that he was one of the world's great musicians and songwriters as well as a brilliant dancer and showman. Quincy Jones and countless others praise nobody higher than MJ when it came to studio chops.

I was lucky enough to work for a few years with one of the Jackson Five's early musical directors, and I can tell you from personal experience that everyone who worked with Michael knew him to be a rare treasure on this earth.

Someone up above said they'd eat their hat if MJ ever intentionally harmed a single person in his lifetime. It's not going to erase his bad reputation, but for those of you lumping MJ and Gacy together in the "child molester" cell, try to have a little perspective and sympathy for this immensely talented, abused and disturbed person.

Oh, and fucking

.
posted by Aquaman at 9:13 PM on June 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


I shouldn't be revealing this, but nobody knows who I am (except the ever vigilant NSA). I have an FM transmitter and I occasionally make pirate broadcasts. I'm doing so tonight.

Please feel free to point me to any fun MJ (or MJ-heavy) mixes. I'm in a broadcasting mood tonight.

Oh, and:

.
posted by CommonSense at 9:19 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'd like to highly recommend tracking down and listening to Gimix by the Avalanches.

Michael Jackson inspired the Residents too. Here's the Residents' version of the Hank Williams song, Kaw Liga, that uses a beat very similar to Billie Jean.
posted by jonp72 at 9:21 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by DreamerFi at 9:22 PM on June 25, 2009


What with all the anguish and heartbreak unleashed in this thread over the death of a has-been manufactured pop star, I shudder at the thought of the mass suicides that will take place among Mefites when Bel Biv DeVoe head off to their great reward.

It must be said that Quincy Jones wrote a lot of great songs, Bob Fosse was an excellent dancer, and Moonwalker was the first video game I ever saw that completely blew me away. As for Michael, he's a fairly tragic figure and an excellent self promoter but I'll save my grief for Farah Fawcett. She gave more orgasms to pubescent boys than Michael could ever dream of, and in doing so made the world that much better.
posted by bunnytricks at 9:23 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


I couldn't read all of this. I've got to go to work tomorrow, so I've got to get to bed sometime.

In the Spring of my 7th grade, I was in art class one morning and we were painting self-portraits using mirrors that had been negative-space-scraping projects of some sort the previous year. I had lucked out, because mine was mostly clear in the center, with just a simple border and "Nirvana" scraped into the bottom of it. Towards the end of class, everyone's talking and I'm just sitting there bouncing my mirror off of my restless leg, and it shatters. I'm a little embarassed, but think mot to much of it.

Leter that day, walking home from the bus stop past the park near my house, the youth tennis instructor sees us and calls us over to tell us that Kurt Cobain had died. The fuck was smiling about it. I felt a chill like few I've ever felt in my life.

I had a similar experience today. I left work on K Street (it's a non-profit, and I'm unpaid; don't think I'm evil or anything) while my co-worker was playing Oasis tunes on a strange whim. "Supersonic" came on, and he didn't really know the song. I mentioned that it was their first single, and that in some long-forgotten Rolling Stone list, Lars Ulrich had listed it among his top five best rock songs ever. Leaving work, I'm recalling the airport I was in, reading that magazine, and my odd idea at the time of how cool it would be to mix up "Supersonic" with "I Want You Back" - which might be the best pop song ever recorded.

So I end up biding my time on the Blue-Line ride arranging "I Want You Back" in my head for my old and now-defunct band that I had with Afroblanco. And the whole time, I'm grinning like a drunken, masturbating monkey. I'm still humming it to myself as I'm back in Alexandria, waiting for my apartment's metro-shuttle to take off, and then the radio reports the news from TMZ. The passengers were universally stunned into silence, only a couple moments later turning to one another to confirm what we just heard. The chill again.

And all evening long I've been trying to figure out why. I never owned a MJ album, but I've been feeling dead inside all night. My older brothers always listened to REM and Black Flag and the Beastie Boys, but were way too cool for Jackson (aside from teaching me to Moonwalk, naturally.) I didn't have MTV until I was in sixth or seventh grade. But he was ubiquitous, and this matters.

I was born in 1980, so whether I (or anyone in my family) was seeking him out or not, Michael was a more public figure than Reagan in my first decade of life. And he was fuckin' great - then I didn't know any better and couldn't make critical decisions, obviously, but I certainly can recognize now what my instincts told me then. Moreover, he was the biggest icon of the 80s, rivaled only by Madonna. 1980s upper-middle-class suburban Houston was, in many ways, idyllic, almost certainly because I was a child. I only realized today that my cynicism and disillusionment maps almost perfectly with MJ's descent into ghoulish, insane monstrosity.

My friends and I listened to "Black or White" and "Remember the Time" ad nauseum, but even then, Hammer and Vanilla Ice were beginning to take center stage. Michael was losing his throne to what would be a short string of pretenders and then, for a good while through the nineties, really no one at all. When the video for "Scream" came out, it was clear even to me at the time that the song (far below his standards) was actually all about him trying to use Janet's coattails to prop up his fading career. It looked like they were two strangers put together by a casting agent.

Then, Pop was dead for a while, and Michael grew more and more freakish, his most iconic moment of the decade being the awkward kiss with Lisa Marie on the VMAs. By '99, when Pop revived itself, everyone was doing their Michael impressions, except for Michael, by this point basically unairable on television aside from when he'd do something scandalous.

At some point in time, though, he had a clear and unmistakable psychological regression to childhood, though. At least that's how it seemed to me, and while that made it hard for me to hold him fully accountable for his actions, his face became a perfect Dorian Gray mask for an icon of my childhood who was ill-conceivedly determined to remain that way. As I stepped further and further away from my youth, as the world seemed to keep getting worse, Michael Jackson was a living wax statue reflecting that change.

I guess what I'm saying is that with his death, so goes my perception of living in the same world that I grew up in. gchatting with a friend this evening, he said two things that resonated with me. The first was that Michael seemed to be on the verge of a Third Act for his life, cut short at the last moment. The second was that he couldn't comprehend living in a post-Michael-Jackson world.

Even though he was only on the periphery of my consciousness for almost all of my life, he was ALWAYS there, and so I can't comprehend living in that world either.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:24 PM on June 25, 2009 [16 favorites]


Two years, almost to the day, from Chris Benoit's death. Who did more good? Who did more evil? How will they be remembered?
posted by jtron at 9:25 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


She gave more orgasms to pubescent boys than Michael could ever dream of

Cited for fatuousness and likely falsity (heh). We get it. Shit in some other thread.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:26 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Re-posting:

.
posted by azarbayejani at 9:27 PM on June 25, 2009


From the other thread...

& (a sparkly glove instead of a ".")
posted by Jaybo at 9:28 PM on June 25, 2009


MTV and VH1 are playing MJ's videos and suddenly the years melt away and I'm a teenager again, practicing dance steps in the basement with friends.

Sleep well man. You got weird as fuck in the later years, but Thriller redefined the word incredible and for that you deserve a bit of peace.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:29 PM on June 25, 2009


And I sure as fuck don't mean Wavves or whatever Pitchfork has told you to worship in the interim.

Actually, Pitchfork put Thriller as #27 of their list of top 100 albums of the 1980s.

I don't care what kind of music your promo bait covers; any 80s list without Thriller is kidding itself. Thanks to a twenty-year campaign waged by Jacko to completely incinerate his artistic integrity, revisiting Thriller is a revelation, cutting through the tabloid baggage with its crisp, sharp-edged Quincy production. "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" is sweltering dance-floor Afro-funk highlighting Michael's abhorrence for personal criticism; "Billie Jean"'s paranoid bass and hiccup histrionics are still cooler than its video's illuminated sidewalks; the breakdown in "PYT", with its ecstatic call-and-response and sultry panting, remains the funkiest goddamn thing since James Brown's "Hot Pants". Though the audio equivalent to Star Wars in that it can be held responsible for inspiring perhaps more crap than any other release of its time, Thriller permanently ziplocked the sound of era so that it might forever remain as fresh and vital as the album itself.
posted by jonp72 at 9:31 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


.
posted by Superfrankenstein at 9:31 PM on June 25, 2009


A talented song and dance man, but to my ears in no way a genius.

And for all the excuses and sympathy, he was a creepy middle aged man. I'm sorry to hear he's dead, but I don't get all the emotion. I think it's got more to do with those of us of a certain age mourning our own youth and facing our mortality than with observing the departure of either a great artist or a great human being. He's been functionally gone for 25 years.

But ok
.

For lost youth.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:32 PM on June 25, 2009 [11 favorites]


jonp72, I know and appreciate that fact. I'm talking about a "mindset" not a website.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:33 PM on June 25, 2009


Nearly 500 comments and not a single Corey Feldman joke. You're slipping, MeFi.
posted by dhammond at 9:35 PM on June 25, 2009


"It's been a long time since I've played it, but yes. In fact (assuming I remember this right, it's been like 15 years), I discovered that there is a key girl to rescue first in every level. If you rescue her first, the shooting star appears and you get to blow up the bad guys as the robot for a while."

Assuming that the arcade version is the same as the regular console version, it's not the kids that give you robot powers, it's catching Bubbles.

When my girlfriend and I played the game a couple weeks ago at the arcade, we said that if the game reflected Jackson's reality, everything else made sense—you had to save kidnapped urchins from archaic gangsters, and your only actions available were either to dance or fight unless you collected a skittering chimp who turned you into a Mecha-Jackson that shot lasers bolts.
posted by klangklangston at 9:36 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


His music video: Black Or White -- a masterpiece!
posted by ericb at 9:39 PM on June 25, 2009


Neil Armstrong -- who (albeit as part of a big team) accomplished so much more that Michael Jackson

What? That makes no sense. Their accomplishments are not comparable - they were in completely different realms.
posted by granted at 9:43 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


.
posted by madh at 9:44 PM on June 25, 2009


Two years, almost to the day, from Chris Benoit's death.

Who?
posted by ericb at 9:47 PM on June 25, 2009


Nearly 500 comments and not a single Corey Feldman joke. You're slipping, MeFi.

Go for it!
posted by ericb at 9:48 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by twins named Lugubrious and Salubrious at 9:51 PM on June 25, 2009


MTV just played the full-length "Thriller" video, and I was utterly transfixed, instantly transported back 26 years. My memory's fuzzy after all this time, but IIRC, when it first came out, MTV would play it every hour on the hour. Still the best music video ever, and I'm not just saying that out of respect for the dead; if you had asked me two days ago I would have said the same thing.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:54 PM on June 25, 2009


I watched the Thriller video with my older daughter today. She's only 6.5, but she likes to be scared a little bit so I figured it would be okay. She kind of scoffed at the werewolf transformation and clapped her hands with glee at the zombie dance.

Later when I tucked her in she admitted it was a little scary, even though she knew it was only costumes. And then she grinned and said "But Mama, I need to watch it again. Because that was some GOOD dancing."
posted by padraigin at 9:59 PM on June 25, 2009 [31 favorites]


Wikipedia lists him as a "multi-instrumentalist", but declines to name any specific instrument. I don't think I've ever seen him using an instrument. Does anybody know?
posted by Flunkie at 10:01 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are two things to say about him. He was a musical genius; and he was an abused child. By abuse, I do not mean sexual abuse; I mean he was used brutally and callously for money, and clearly imprisoned by a tyrannical father. He had no real childhood and spent much of his later life struggling to get one. He was spiritually and psychologically raped at a very early age - and never recovered. Watching him change his race, his age, and almost his gender, you saw a tortured soul seeking what the rest of us take for granted: a normal life.

But he had no compass to find one; no real friends to support and advise him; and money and fame imprisoned him in the delusions of narcissism and self-indulgence. Of course, he bears responsibility for his bizarre life. But the damage done to him by his own family and then by all those motivated more by money and power than by faith and love was irreparable in the end. He died a while ago. He remained for so long a walking human shell. ...

I grieve for him; but I also grieve for the culture that created and destroyed him. That culture is ours' and it is a lethal and brutal one: with fame and celebrity as its core values, with money as its sole motive, it chewed this child up and spat him out.
- Andrew Sullivan
posted by Joe Beese at 10:03 PM on June 25, 2009 [27 favorites]


If MJ's death pushes Iran off the news cycle...

If? Have you been watching TV?

And

.

For abused kids everywhere, including Michael.
posted by mediareport at 10:03 PM on June 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


"But Mama, I need to watch it again. Because that was some GOOD dancing.

Quoted for genuine tears and/or the human condition.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:04 PM on June 25, 2009


I love to dance to Jackson's music more than anything else.
posted by taliaferro at 10:11 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thriller had 9 tracks and 7 hit singles.

Take a look at this wiki page of highest selling albums worldwide.

There have been 36 albums have sold between 20 and 25 million copies.(2 are Jacksons)
Only 13 have sold between 26 and 30 million (1 is his)
There are 9 between 31-40 million (1 more)
Finally, there are 10 which sold between 41-50 million (none are his, but 4 are soundtracks and 1 is a greatest hits album)

there are none in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s or 90s.. and there is one album that sold over 100 million copies.

Thriller
posted by Bonzai at 10:19 PM on June 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


.
posted by strawdog at 10:20 PM on June 25, 2009


Now I feel old seeing so many people who are younger than me getting that "I feel old" feeling at this news.

This was a strange day. The developing news was bringing out bad memories for me of a recent death in my family. At the same time a disliked coworker was making stupid remarks as she trolled the web.

Whatever - I liked his music, feel sorry about his troubled childhood, am intrigued that Motown, which holds a special place in my heart, discovered him. But it was the late 70s/ early 80s stuff on Epic that ruled. In retrospect, "Don't Stop" is probably my favorite of all.
posted by NorthernLite at 10:22 PM on June 25, 2009


Yes, what he did to those children was unforgivable. But can't we separate that from his musical legacy?

You can do whatever the hell you like. All I'm saying is that today, my thoughts are with those children who got to sup Jesus Juice and sleep in Michael's bed as they watch the image of their abuser repeatedly emblazoned on our TV screens and newspapers.

Michael's dead. He doesn't need our sympathy any more. In my view, we aren't mourning him, we're mourning the loss of that part of our younger, hotter selves that he represents to us.

But those kids are very much alive, and the legacy of Michael's behaviour will continue to play out in their lives for years to come.

Historically, we've been very good at ignoring or overlooking child abuse -- perhaps because the reality of it is just too obscene for us to confront, perhaps because we're also seduced by the abuser when they happen to be charming or powerful. It was this ability to overlook his ongoing and fairly public child abuse because of his stardom and his talent that allowed Michael Jackson to get away with as much as he did for as long as he did.

Suggesting that we continue to do so at a time like this seems to me to repeat our collective failure to protect those children once again.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:29 PM on June 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


When I heard the news as it broke I didn't feel either shocked or sad, and I couldn't figure out why it didn't affect me.

A few hours later I realised the answer: I've felt bad for Michael Jackson for years; every time I saw a photo of his messed up face it made me sad to think that at one time he'd been relatively normal. But then who knows how any of us would have behaved had we had his childhood.

Maybe now he'll get some peace.
posted by bwg at 10:29 PM on June 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


MTV just played the full-length "Thriller" video, and I was utterly transfixed

We watched that, and then the video that followed it: the crazy-ass 80's star-fest LIberian Girl, which I had never before heard, seen, or knew existed.
posted by anastasiav at 10:32 PM on June 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


It sounds naive, but he had seemed immortal to me in his way. So brilliant and so troubled, I hope he has found some peace.
posted by vespertine at 10:33 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by Dilemma at 10:36 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:37 PM on June 25, 2009


"On June 13, 2005, the jury found Jackson not guilty on all [child molestation] charges."

Just a reminder. Innocent until proven guilty, America.
posted by Dilemma at 10:38 PM on June 25, 2009 [14 favorites]


If MJ's death pushes Iran off the news cycle...

Amazingly, a couple of the Iranians whose Twitter feeds I've been following are Tweeting about Michael Jackson. Unbelievable. MJ could be Ahmadenijad's only hope for a nonviolent suppression of the revolution.
posted by Dr. Zira at 10:39 PM on June 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


Wow - WTF is with the video for Liberian Girl? Wow. Just... wow. Hey, Steve Guttenberg!
posted by GuyZero at 10:40 PM on June 25, 2009


And this outpouring of emotion? Look, I understand part of what we mourn when the iconic die is our own aging, the loss of our youth and innocence, part of what we celebrate is our own nostalgia, but when Neil Armstrong -- who (albeit as part of a big team) accomplished so much more that Michael Jackson -- dies, we'll see a five minute news item, not wall-to-wall coverage. And that upsets me far more than Mr. Jackson's death.

I think it's different with music. Music bypasses our logic circuitry and hits us somewhere deeper, more primal. Music can change your mood with just a few phrases, and is part and parcel of so much of our lives. That road trip to Atlanta, that afternoon riding bikes round the driveway, that first dance -- Michael was there with us. When someone whose voice accompanies so many of our memories passes away, you can bet it hurts because it's so damned personal.

No doubt Neil Armstrong is an accomplished man, an American hero. I'm sure he'll get much more than five minutes. But it's a completely different field he's in, and one not so apt to resonate in the heart and mind, so it's not a fair comparison. I would bet my left kidney Michael Jackson has touched way more lives than Mr Armstrong -- that's why the outpouring. He truly was a global superstar.
posted by emeiji at 10:42 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Amazingly, a couple of the Iranians whose Twitter feeds I've been following are Tweeting about Michael Jackson. Unbelievable. MJ could be Ahmadenijad's only hope for a nonviolent suppression of the revolution.

What'd I tell ya? GLOBAL SUPERSTAR!
posted by emeiji at 10:43 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by dtp at 10:45 PM on June 25, 2009


Take a look at this wiki page of highest selling albums worldwide.

*despairs for humanity*
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:45 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


I always loved this Pepsi commercial he did with his mini-me, Alfonso Ribiero.
posted by cazoo at 10:46 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm partial to Scream, myself.

But yeah, the claymation scene in Moonwalker was totally awesome to me as a kid. I also remember desperately wanting to be one of the actors in the Moonwalker scene where a cast of children perform Bad. I had a Michael Jackson poster on the door of my room. I guess it seemed cool that there was an adult performer who would acknowledge kids and make music that was for them too.
Eventually when I became an adult I grew aware of the fact that Michael had a very clear idea of the effect he was producing in his young fans. It made me sad, I felt like he was lost to me. I never stopped listening to his music, but I could also never allow myself to fully indulge the way I did when I was younger. Ugh, this sounds so corny, but I felt like he had taken advantage of my innocence to get me to like him. And I had never even met the guy, let alone been to Neverland Ranch. As I got older, what had been my appreciation for someone in the entertainment industry taking my age group seriously and producing adult-like works for us, became this increasingly eerie question as to why a grown man would be so obsessed with children.
I know I'm not the only person in my generation who experienced this either. Before all the rape allegations in the early 90's Moonwalker and Captain Eo were popular fodder for a lot of us. It never occurred to us to think that there was anything unsavory about Michael until our parents began to quietly discourage us from watching his movies, or until they had to explain the meaning behind Leave Me Alone. "Mommy, why are all the people bothering Michael?" To us he would have been right at home alongside our Saturday morning cartoon characters (not to mention the Pee Wee Herman debacle). I think, too, that this is part of what made him so enduring; the idea that he was more of an icon than a human being in the public eye - materialized in his incessant drive to further shape his image as some sort of cartoon by iconifying his physical appearance. Perhaps to endear himself to children even more. WTF Michael?

Also, I wasn't familiar with the Jackson 5 or early Michael until I was in my late teens. I never even cared. He was well beyond Off the Wall and Billie Jean by the time I started listening. The Michael Jackson I knew and loved was worlds apart from the Michael Jackson of that era.
posted by Demogorgon at 10:52 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


I like his music. My appreciation of him left when he started messing around with children.
Of course now the expose's will come out where the "real truth", is told, then his family will be fighting over everything. I hope his kids have something left so they will be taken care of.
posted by Upon Further Review at 10:55 PM on June 25, 2009


Describing him as an over-hyped non-talent is an understatement. The man had one half-good song, Billie Jean, and that is it. One hundred years from now, the man's musical legacy, such as it is, will be mostly forgotten.

Next year will be tenth as a member of Metafilter. I plan to be on here another 90 just to prove how ridiculous this statement is.
posted by Ugh at 11:07 PM on June 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


We had final exams this morning and afterwards went out to celebrate. Everyone got some silly prize and guess what I got? A fedora and a white glove, for "Best Michael Jackson Impersonator." It wasn't til I'd gotten home that I found out MJ had died. I've never been one for sap, but I can't help but think the hat and glove sitting on my desk are a little parting gift from Michael. Rest in peace MJ, you were the greatest.
posted by pravit at 11:07 PM on June 25, 2009


Take a look at this wiki page of highest selling albums worldwide.

*despairs for humanity*


I'm hoping next we can compare relative sales of Mountain Dew and Beaujolais.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:09 PM on June 25, 2009


Man, this is like Reagan all over again....
posted by pompomtom at 11:10 PM on June 25, 2009


Man, this is like Reagan all over again....

No kidding. Michael Jackson was a great musician and all, but FUCK HIM for invading Grenada.
posted by scody at 11:13 PM on June 25, 2009 [26 favorites]


Describing him as an over-hyped non-talent is an understatement. The man had one half-good song, Billie Jean, and that is it. One hundred years from now, the man's musical legacy, such as it is, will be mostly forgotten.

You obviously lack the soul for getting down.
posted by Dr. Zira at 11:22 PM on June 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


I was in sixth grade when the Thriller music video came out. In one class, we held a mock Academy Awards. The teacher said we had to stick to the nominees, but everyone wrote in Thriller for Best Picture anyway. Best Actor: Michael Jackson, of course. Best Actress? Oh crap, the teacher had us there. Who on earth played Michael's date? But someone in our class (sixth grade!) had actually watched the video-with-credits enough times to remember her name: Ola Ray (if I recall correctly).
posted by treepour at 11:27 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


No kidding. Michael Jackson was a great musician and all, but FUCK HIM for invading Grenada.

Plus, Reagan molested more kids than Jackson.
posted by item at 11:29 PM on June 25, 2009


Just a reminder. Innocent until proven guilty, America.

In a court of law. Which is not binding on the court of public opinion. This is a feature, not a bug, of modern society. O.J. was acquitted, too.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:35 PM on June 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


.
posted by bananafish at 11:35 PM on June 25, 2009


Beat It was playing on the radio when my friend taught me how to put on eyeliner for the first time. Tomorrow will be my first day living in a world without Michael Jackson and that makes me sadder than I could have imagined.

.
posted by Ugh at 11:37 PM on June 25, 2009


It amuses me that people feel the need to post micro-biographies of their first encounter with this man's music and so forth, like it is even relevant.


This is not about you.


A human being died. The impact is on his family. Think about *them* and how they feel. Try and imagine it. That is human compassion and the only appropriate response.

That you bought his album or had an emotional reaction to some music 20 years ago is totally irrelevant, and long screeds about such are utterly narcissistic.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 11:43 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


A capella version of Ben and other songs on YouTube, for those who have no recollection of MJ without the mega-production machine of his later career. Haunting.
posted by Lolie at 11:46 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


No, your ridiculous, condescending comment is what is narcissistic.
posted by ageispolis at 11:47 PM on June 25, 2009 [57 favorites]


It amuses me that people feel the need to post micro-biographies of their first encounter with this man's music and so forth, like it is even relevant.

Eulogies are pretty standard procedure when somebody dies.
posted by emeiji at 11:49 PM on June 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


Who's that guy with Joe 'King' Carrasco?

.
posted by mazola at 11:51 PM on June 25, 2009


That you bought his album or had an emotional reaction to some music 20 years ago is totally irrelevant, and long screeds about such are utterly narcissistic.

Well, yeah. It was the 80s.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:52 PM on June 25, 2009


Where's the hate in my comment? I think the third paragraph shows I feel some sympathy for the man.

What I was trying to do was combat some of the mega-hype that we've all been exposed to about his music and which is again being laid on thick now that's he's died. If people make hyperbolic claims about a musician then they shouldn't complain when these claims are challenged. I was twelve when Thriller came out so I've been exposed to my (un)fair share of Michael Jackson music and I was left unimpressed by it right from the start. I'm not shitting on anyone's sentimental, nostalgic attachment to the music - that I can understand. But you hype a kid with some fancy dance steps and slick video production as some sort of musical genius and I will take issue. Let's see if people are calling him a genius in a hundred years.
posted by Sitegeist at 11:54 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


That you bought his album or had an emotional reaction to some music 20 years ago is totally irrelevant, and long screeds about such are utterly narcissistic.

I dunno; I enjoy reading them. It's interesting to me that so many of us are tied together by such a common pop-cultural thread; people who I now interact with almost daily without having met (for the most part), who were doing similar things to me & my friends way back when, without ever really being able to imagine that we'd be having these kinds of conversations today.

And since this is now about me, I might as well post my little bit: my very first introduction to the glories of the Sony Walkman, and to stereo headphones, involved the beginning of Thriller, where a door creaks open & footsteps cross from one side of a room to another. Until that revelation, I never actually 'got' stereo, and why it was supposedly so much better than mono.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:55 PM on June 25, 2009 [8 favorites]


Shocked. Just yesterday, I was hit by a early-forming tune, and was thinking, "Damn, that one suits Michael! Wonder how hard it would be to sell him a tune?".

I'm also surprised to see how young his kids are. I hope Michael had enough good advice that he had set up trusts. And I hope there is someone around with the right chops to do right for those kids. While I found the whole business of hiding their faces strange, I also thought it made good sense.

My first exposure to Michael was Jackson 5. "I'll Be There" always stuck in my head, and when I was 12, I sang one mighty fine falsetto imitation. I was locked up in juvie at the time, and it amused me that I was doing a better Michael than the black kids. His 80's stuff mostly went unnoticed by me, with most of the rest of the pop of the time. I was in to strange music then, and TV wasn't part of my life, and neither was pop culture. (I get more exposure to pop culture on Metafilter than any time since my early teens).
posted by Goofyy at 11:56 PM on June 25, 2009


A human being died. The impact is on his family. Think about *them* and how they feel. Try and imagine it. That is human compassion and the only appropriate response.

You really think there's a lot of compassion for his parents floating around? Should people have "thought of his family" during the court cases and withheld comment then? When you push your children into the public arena in the manner the Jackson parents did and live of the fruits off that exposure, you don't get to choose the public's responses - not to the good, the bad, or the ugly.
posted by Lolie at 12:01 AM on June 26, 2009


To the MJ of my youth, buried under the self-destructive insecurity and crippling insanity:

I truly mean it when I say, I hope you can finally rest in peace.

.
posted by yeoja at 12:04 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Sphinx at 12:10 AM on June 26, 2009


I'm conflicted too. I'm glad he's not going to molest any more children now, but it's going to be pretty horrible hearing all that dreck getting constant airplay over the next week.

Definitely talented (though far from the best), definitely tragic (but there are many millions of more tragic stories), definitely a basket case for at least the last 20 years.

Yes, I was all too aware of him as a kid in the eighties. No, I wasn't a fan. Shocking, I know.
posted by dickasso at 12:11 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


John Kenneth Fisher: "And if the man was, as he almost surely was, guilty of just 1% of the many many rumors of child molestation that came up over the years, than he sure as hell wasn't worthy of respect, and he sure as hell isn't getting my ".""

Optimus Chyme: "Michael Jackson was challenging in a lot of ways, mostly because he was both way awesome and an insane homosexual pedophile"

MrMoonPie: "I'm really surprisingly sad about this. I mean, totally a pedophile, right? But..."

nickyskye: "His self mutilation and pedophilia were the products of having been abused, really badly parented and then he acted out that insanity"


Michael Jackson was never found guilty of any sexual abuse charges against minors:

By January 1, 1994, $2 million had been spent by prosecution departments in California, two Grand Juries had questioned two hundred witnesses, but Jordan's allegations could not be corroborated... Jordan refused to testify in a criminal trial, neither the police nor the Grand Jury pressed criminal charges, citing a lack of evidence, Jackson was not charged with a crime

And again in People v. Jackson:

"He denied all counts and asserted that he himself was the victim of a failed extortion attempt. On June 13, 2005, the jury found Jackson not guilty on all charges."

The real pattern here is repeatedly exposed opportunistic lies by numerous parties with obvious financial motives:
A number of Jackson's former employees—most of whom had worked at his ranch—sold stories to the tabloids of alleged prior sexual misconduct on Jackson's part, instead of reporting their claims to police. One couple initially asked for $100,000 claiming that Jackson sexually caressed Macaulay Culkin. They were prepared to expand upon this allegation for a fee of $500,000, whereby they would allege that Jackson put his hands down Culkin's pants. When the story broke, Culkin strongly denied the allegation, and did so again in court.[30] A former security guard made various allegations about Jackson, saying he was fired because he "knew too much",[32] and alleged that he was ordered by Jackson to destroy a photo of a naked boy. Instead of reporting this to police, Hard Copy accepted the story in return for $150,000.[32] Afterwards, Jackson's maid, Branca Francia, alleged that she "quit in disgust" after seeing Jackson in a shower with a child, but did not inform the police. It later emerged that Francia was actually fired in 1991, but nevertheless sold her story to Hard Copy for $20,000.
His own sister lied about having evidence of his pedophilia, and later retracted it claiming it was just to cash in on his destruction.

The public didn't buy this stuff at first, but comedy punchlines and folk prejudices made it received wisdom over time. I mean the guy is just weird, so obviously he's a pedophile. Just like the weird outcast kids in high school are so obviously "fags," according to the folk sociology of high schoolers. (see also the implicit belief that weirdo guys are serial killers. Being a weirdo guy is the number one predictor people will believe you do anything they find morally repulsive and reprehensible.)

Prince, of course, wouldn't be as vulnerable to the same public beliefs. In a lot of ways he was just as fruity as Michael Jackson, but Prince had promiscuous sex with lots of women, which we assume is the "normal" behavior for rock stars. Society often says that monogamous people are Good, and promiscuity is "deviant," yet ironically, a rock star that doesn't fuck lots of women is automatically suspected of being a sexual deviant. A non-promiscuous rock start is considered genuinely "weird" (not entertaining Zappa or GG Allin weird), and see above for what that predicts.
posted by dgaicun at 12:17 AM on June 26, 2009 [76 favorites]


.
posted by The Monkey at 12:22 AM on June 26, 2009


I was twelve when Thriller came out so I've been exposed to my (un)fair share of Michael Jackson music and I was left unimpressed by it right from the start.

Well, I was twelve when "I Want You Back" and "ABC" came out (that was a few years before Thriller, you whippersnapper!) and I was very impressed. Still am.

Granted, that has as much to do with the bass playing of James Jamerson and the incredible Motown arrangements as with the singing of the young Michael, but, still... maybe you just needed to be born a little sooner. The child Michael was incredible.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:23 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was born a little too late to get in on Thriller when it blew up, but Bad was the first tape I ever owned, ever saved up my allowance to get. It was also the first tape I ever wore out.

A few hundred comments ago, it was mentioned that Jackson defined celebrity and spectacle in the eighties. I agree. No one was bigger than Jackson. Everyone was measured against Jackson. As a child, I kind of regarded all other pop stars as his vassals, landed nobles who owed their allegiance to the King. (not that I knew what a vassal or a landed noble was at the time, obviously - it was just plain to me that, for ten solid years at least, he had unmatched clout among entertainers.) Furthermore, he had clout that could be transferred - being able to bust out a good moonwalk absolutely raised one's profile at my elementary school - only a couple guys and one girl could manage it.

Who else could have pulled off Moonwalker? It seems so goofy now, but my brothers and I must have watched Moonwalker 100 times at least. God, my parents must have gotten so sick of us wanting to rent it every weekend. But it had singing and dancing and mobsters and OMG MICHAEL'S A FUCKING ROBOT NOW! We played a hell of a lot of Moonwalker on the Genesis, too. It was basically just Revenge of Shinobi with lethal dance-offs instead of Ninja Magic, but we thought it was the shit. And as insane as the home game was, the arcade version was even nuttier, with the option to go after Mr. Big's goons with up to three MJs! Again, it seems like an impossible pitch today, but at the time we had zero trouble accepting the conceit of the game and the movie - of course Jackson had two clones who both shared his plasma-blasting dancing powers - anyone who'd seen the Smooth Criminal video knew the dude was a goddamn superhero!

Watching him crash and burn in the nineties was pretty tough. I've no doubt that, in the years to come, his hangers-on are going to let us in on all the Howard Hughes-level craziness he got up to in his final years. He was a profoundly troubled man that likely committed a number of unforgivable acts. He was also an ingenious performer and musician who did a tremendous amount of charitable work. I'm not willing to sit in judgment of him tonight - I've never been to Neverland; I'll never really know what kind of man he was.

I do know that, without a doubt, that his music is absolutely immortal. Keep your toes from tapping when Billie Jean starts, I fucking dare you. Matter of fact, I'm off to cue up a few dozen Youtube videos of the King during the zenith of his reign. Smooth Criminal was my favorite, so I'll start there. I fully expect the Tube to run super slow, as I'm surely not the only one choosing to mourn in this fashion. It's just a shame I haven't got a Moonwalker cartridge laying around.

A . for the world's last great song-and-dance man. Shimon!
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:29 AM on June 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


I was 16 when Thriller came out and I was listening to Motorhead and Black Flag but I still got it.

You ever see a kid wearing combat boots try to do the moonwalk? That was me.
posted by cazoo at 12:34 AM on June 26, 2009 [10 favorites]


A non-promiscuous rock start is considered genuinely "weird"

A non-promiscuous rock star who, by his own admission, had boys sleep in the same bed with him is considered genuinely weird. Did he molest any? I don't know. I certainly hope not, and I would very much like to believe he didn't. But it's unfair to suggest the widespread image of him as a pedophile arose solely because he didn't sleep with lots of women.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:36 AM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


RIP, Jacko. I didn't think you would die, much less so soon.
posted by ooga_booga at 12:38 AM on June 26, 2009


Also, I'm only a little annoyed to find out that the Lean required special shoes and wires to pull off. My buddies, my brothers and I were convinced Jackson could pull off such a move w/o help, and fell on our damn faces more times than I'd like to admit while trying to prove it was possible.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:43 AM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


It amuses me that people feel the need to post micro-biographies of their first encounter with this man's music and so forth, like it is even relevant.
...
That you bought his album or had an emotional reaction to some music 20 years ago is totally irrelevant, and long screeds about such are utterly narcissistic.


If sitting here, blasting Thriller through my headphones, and fondly remembering the first time I shook my ass on a dance floor to Billie Jean makes me a terrible narcissist, then so be it.

You must be a blast at parties.
posted by threetoed at 12:48 AM on June 26, 2009 [16 favorites]


Let's see, how shall I put this... you have got to be fucking tone deaf or brain dead. And this goes for all of you coming with this fucking "oh he was just an overrated unit-shifting product" bullshit. Off The Wall and Thriller are two of the greatest pop albums ever recorded, not to mention his unparalleled showmanship, not to mention the amazing work he did with the Jackson 5 as a child, and denying that out of some idiotic sense of indie-rock-hipster orthodoxy which requires you to hate anything popular is beyond moronic. Grow the fuck up.

1. I agree
2. you're wrong

I agree with you because as a sometime DJ, it's just overwhelmingly, inarguably true: the kid/man dropped a good half-dozen (or more) of the 20th century's greatest records on us. Full stop. Any DJ who wouldn't play Billie Jean in the right context is a fucking idiot, and about as culturally relevant as Madonna (the actor).

You're wrong because Michael J never really did it for me, ever. Probably because we're both the same age. As a little kid, I simply had no interest in other little kids (particularly boys) being stars. It seemed pointless. I was more into Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles. Later, moving into adulthood, Michael J just grew to represent everything I so utterly DESPISED about the culture. I spent far, far, far more of the 1980s listening to the Butthole Surfers than Michael J.

And so on. The man has always divided us, and will continue to, even in death. But strangely, the boy still sets us free.

.
posted by philip-random at 12:48 AM on June 26, 2009 [7 favorites]


If that was fear I saw in those eyes in the 1983 Motown performance, it was completely gone in the Black or White video.

When he started to do things that others couldn't or wouldn't approve of, he wasn't shoveled into a loony bin like Nijinsky. Eccentricity isn't madness, and if anything MJ's eccentricity held up a mirror to both sides of the certifiable American psyche.

So long, dude. Thanks for all the great tunes. May a better world greet you if you ever decide to come around again.
posted by Twang at 12:59 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


As I told a friend tonight, when I was growing up I totally rejected MJ because he was Popular and I was the kind of kid that rejected things that everyone liked.

But years later, as I got into electronic dance music and became a connoisseur of all things that shake an ass, I heard Billie Jean and Thriller with a different ear and said "that's some good shit right there".

It's hard for me to mourn his passing because I feel that what he had to give to the world he gave. But what he gave was real and significant, and anyone who denies that just doesn't get it.
posted by flaterik at 1:21 AM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


.
posted by molecicco at 1:43 AM on June 26, 2009


As a person who was abused as a child and whose molester was not brought to justice, I take this time to send my prayers to anyone who was abused and has to watch a nation so publicly mourn their attacker.

But even with that, I do hope that Michael Jackson has now found peace.
posted by jaybeans at 1:48 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


The bad taste jokes are already flying round at work...I'll refrain from repeating them here, you could probably fill in the blanks yourself.
posted by mippy at 1:49 AM on June 26, 2009


I have written so many things here and just erased them because they didn't seem right. So I will just leave it at:

.
posted by litlnemo at 1:53 AM on June 26, 2009


I was never a fan of Mr Jackson. As a child, The Jackson Five just weren't my cup of tea. Later, when he released his best album - Off The Wall - I thought it was a very nicely made disco/pop album but certainly didn't buy it or listen to it. I was a rock 'n' roller, through and through. As a kid I was listening to crap like KISS ALIVE II. By the time Thriller went to #1, I just kind of wanted him to go away (not even EVH's solo on Beat It could move me to like it). I thought his singing was (frankly) kind of humorous and whilst I realised that he was a good dancer, it just didn't do much for me (in much the same way that ballet doesn't turn my crank). I preferred, as I said at the time, to watch and listen to that other eccentric American icon - James Brown. I *still do*.

Things went downhill quickly when my mother, ever the type who 'doesn't get it' (her favourite artist to this very day is Neil Diamond), mysteriously bought me a ridiculous red leather jacket with shit all over the shoulders. She was kind of crushed when I didn't like it (it must have cost a fortune). Then, he started to behave very, very strangely indeed (child abuse and self-hatred do bad things to a man) and quickly morphed into an international punch-line.

The music went downhill just as quickly as his face. It became a parody of itself, a way of telling the world how wonderful he still was. Just look at the album titles. By the time Bad came out, I actively hated and avoided his stuff the way people used to try and avoid the Black Death. The worst bit, to me, was the way he began to represent the excesses of America itself. Self-obsessed, endlessly tinkering with appearance, and increasingly dead, artistically. He was the poster child for a nation that had started to look pretty bizarre indeed, like a kid on a bad LSD trip, staring into the mirror for so long that a Tinkerbell nose started to seem like the right idea. His money problems also provide a sad parallel. A personal zoo is an expensive enterprise. He'd have been better off with his own space shuttle.

It is sad when anyone dies at 50, for whatever reason, and leaves children without a parent. But, I don't relish the next few days/weeks/months of media hype and grieving pop widows, blogging and tweeting their grief over a man they never met and could never have understood properly (he couldn't even pull that off, himself). He was a sad person, made all the sadder by unprecedented success. Thrust into the uncomfortable world of mega stardom at an age when most people are sheltered in the happy routine of school, friends, bicycles and sunshine, he had tour buses, TV appearances, limited educational opportunities and a bizarre family life that probably included some real abuse. Later alleged proclivities on his part certainly give this line of thought credulity.

People always lose the plot when a celebrity dies, especially one as famous (and infamous) as Michael Jackson. It's the way our culture works now, and the media has homed in on this weakness in our collective armour: we will lap up every detail, and they happily supply more than we need. Celebrities are the new Roman Gods. It's a bit like Pan has passed away.

I plan to keep talking about the real tragedy of June 2009, the events in Iran, in the hopes that this 'wake' will pass quickly.
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:58 AM on June 26, 2009 [11 favorites]


.
posted by lundman at 2:10 AM on June 26, 2009


It's interesting to me that so many of us are tied together by such a common pop-cultural thread; people who I now interact with almost daily without having met (for the most part), who were doing similar things to me & my friends way back when, without ever really being able to imagine that we'd be having these kinds of conversations today.

Even as someone who had no interest in his music, I grant that that IS interesting. I think we increasingly live in a splintered media culture and there are likely fewer and fewer things that we all have in common. I suppose people of my parents' generation all either watched the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show in February of 1964 or made a conscious decision not to. I have no idea what touchstones my children's generation will all have in common.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:18 AM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


.
posted by ElectricBlue at 2:28 AM on June 26, 2009


Some of the more virulent "how dare you snark?" polemicists in this thread -- the ones who are getting all huffy (or worse) at those of us who aren't particularly moved by MJ's death or worshipful of his musical genius -- ought to consider that their kind of "love" for Michael Jackson the superstar -- Michael Jackson the idea -- was precisely what cost him the normal kind of love that could have given him a happy life. The "love" so many millions apparently felt for Jackson -- and now loudly proclaim across the nets and the networks -- was meaningless on a human level. It fucked him up just as much as his abusive father's "love" did.

If the world had never known of his talents, we'd all be fine. And he might still be alive and maybe even a little bit happy. So what are those gifts worth in the end? It's not like we lacked for musical geniuses during the last 40 years.

We lost another great artist this week, with much less fanfare. Ustad Ali Akbar Khan's father, Ustad Allaudin Khan, was an abusive taskmaster who pushed his son to early virtuosity and success. Somehow, he overcame that to become not only one of the world's few real musical "geniuses" (a word we toss around too easily these days) but also a decent human being and a great teacher of the next generation of Hindustani artists.

One is allowed not to like any particular musician's work, you know. Jackson's music never did anything much for me -- overproduced pop with standard grooves, precisely sung, cleverly produced, and -- I concede -- beautifully danced. I don't think he was overrated, just that he was over-hyped for the talents he had. His global success was as much a marketing phenomenon as a recognition of any singular gift.

And the hype continues, in this thread and across the global media today.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:34 AM on June 26, 2009 [11 favorites]


I didn't know it would affect me like this. I finally get the whole Diana obsession the Brits had when she passed.
posted by dearsina at 2:35 AM on June 26, 2009


Oh, and:

$
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:37 AM on June 26, 2009


He's been gone for less than 24 hours. Why can't we let people just be sad about it without justifications or guilt trips?

Bye, Michael.
posted by like_neon at 2:44 AM on June 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


He totally invented the video...

Well, I don't know about the video, but he is a the holder of at least one patent as the inventor of some very tricksy shoes.

Invention in action.
posted by rokusan at 3:08 AM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


(Or, on non-preview lack of reading comprehension skillz, what painquale said.)
posted by rokusan at 3:10 AM on June 26, 2009


Jesus Christ, what a bunch of tossers. Michael Jackson's music is just fine- for kids. When are people going to let go of there stupid fucking childhood memories? Not going to? Fine. Then enjoy the dread of death that goes with nostalgia and sentiment. Michael Jackson wasn't Elvis- in fact, Elvis wasn't Elvis- but sure, get lost in your putrefying dreams of a past that was marketed. At you.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 3:28 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


To hear the Jackson Five on the radio has always made me sit up and notice. His singing is beautiful and strong and iconic and pop-defining. Brilliant for (at) what it is.

The rest of his life was just the saddest damn thing though.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:59 AM on June 26, 2009


LaToya Jackson scene pulled from Bruno
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:04 AM on June 26, 2009



.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 4:24 AM on June 26, 2009


It takes a lot of insight to shit in a thread. Is it hard to be so right all the time?
posted by EatTheWeak at 4:28 AM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


Jesus Christ, what a bunch of tossers. Michael Jackson's music is just fine- for kids.

Shit, Morrissey's escaped the nursing home.
posted by kid ichorous at 4:31 AM on June 26, 2009 [17 favorites]


Impromptu Michael Jackson Sing-A-Long at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin last night. Photos by MetaFilter's own whatnot.
posted by ColdChef at 4:32 AM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


RIP, PYT.
posted by ColdChef at 4:36 AM on June 26, 2009


Jesus Christ, what a bunch of tossers. Michael Jackson's music is just fine- for kids.

According to what? Science? Fuck off.
posted by dgaicun at 4:41 AM on June 26, 2009 [12 favorites]


This, more than anything else, is what makes me want to lay a single rose on the grave of the Eighties.

(And then turn around to find a small army of zombies dancing in unison while Vincent Price's voice telling me the midnight hour is close at hand...)
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:51 AM on June 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


Dearsina: Please don't mistake the Diana nonsense for anything other than the press mourning the passing of an easyly-spinnable property, and assaulting their readership with the last fix of guilt they could squeeze from the still-warm corpse as it happened.
Talking of people hounded by the press, .
posted by davemee at 5:11 AM on June 26, 2009


I was never a fan of his music, but I was a fan of his voice, and I've felt very deeply for a long time that his life must have sucked, even with the fame and money and all, and that how he lived and what he was for such a long time gave him no real basis for existing in the adult world and that's why everything went awry for him. I'm really sorry that he died so early. He did have a really shitty mid-life crisis for all the world to see. It will be interesting to see how many of his very young friends come forth and tell their stories. Maybe we'll get the true story on that. If he'd lived, despite what he did to his body, he would have had many more songs to sing and they would have been worth hearing.
posted by h00py at 5:12 AM on June 26, 2009


It amuses me that people feel the need to post micro-biographies of their first encounter with this man's music and so forth ... such are utterly narcissistic.

And how!!!! I HATE when I go to funerals and people are all "I remember when I first met him" or "I'll always remember how much he meant to me." Narcissistic assholes! Ruining a perfectly good funeral by making it all about them.

God I hate people!
posted by The Deej at 5:13 AM on June 26, 2009 [13 favorites]


I didn't know it would affect me like this. I finally get the whole Diana obsession the Brits had when she passed.

Most of us didn't particularly care about Diana dying. Lots did, most didn't.
posted by idiomatika at 5:14 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Gotta hide your inhibitions
Gotta let that fool loose deep inside your soul
Want to see an exhibition
Better do it now before you get too old
'cause we're the party people night and day
Livin' crazy that's the only way

So tonight gotta leave that nine to five upon the shelf and just enjoy yourself
C'mon and groove (yeah) let the madness in the music get to you
Life ain't so bad at all if you live it off the wall
Life ain't so bad at all (live life off the wall)
Live your life off the wall (live it off the wall)
posted by bwg at 5:15 AM on June 26, 2009


Yacht Rockers Michael MacDonald and Kenny Loggins reunite in order to finish Michael Jackson's Thriller album -- with a little help from Vincent Price!
posted by KokuRyu at 5:22 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was gonna say something about how MJ really does nothing for me, his ubiquitous 80s presence having long since bred contempt for something I didn't really enjoy much in the first place, but then I remember how shocked and saddened I was when Douglas Adams died (heart attack age 49 - go figure) and I guess this is the same type of thing, only for a larger number of people.

We all have heroes of our own, and their achievements and personal qualities can be very, very different, but they do have something in common. Losing them sucks.
posted by Sparx at 5:24 AM on June 26, 2009 [5 favorites]


Spring, 1983 - Peggy Killian is the music teacher at a middle school in Douglasville, Georgia. She's putting on a spring musical, mostly a cheesy script she ordered through the mail, and she adds a song that the chorus has been working on, called "Rainbow Runners". The show is now called "Rainbow Runners, Coming of Age". It's reasonably fun, but a lot of work; she really cares about putting on a good, fun show that everyone will enjoy.

And then she realizes that it needs something else: a fully choreographed big musical number to Michael Jackson's "Beat It".

I had no interest in pop music, very little rhythm, negligible groove, and a small part in the show. EVERYONE danced to "Beat It". Although very short, I was soon moved from the front line of dancers to the second line (or maybe third). I was taking ballet lessons, but this kind of dancing was nearly impossible for me (still is). It was still (I realize this now, in retrospect) a whole lot of fun, even if I never did figure out how to shake my tiny tiny hips (I figured it out toward the end of college, I think).

Then she showed the Thriller video at the cast party. Interesting.

So, Mr. Jackson's art penetrated even into my world. He was good.


PS - thank you very much, dgaicun. It's always bothered my how "accusations" can devolve, over time, to accepted "facts". I want to go support due legal process now.
posted by amtho at 5:25 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


RIP MJ - at your best, your music truly did draw blood on the dancefloor.
posted by ruelle at 5:42 AM on June 26, 2009


while Vincent Price's voice telling me the midnight hour is close at hand...

With. That should have been with, not while. My kingdom for an edit button.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:47 AM on June 26, 2009


Excellent post. All the jokes aside I think Jackson was one of the best. He'll be missed.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 5:50 AM on June 26, 2009


For Jackson, the child
.
For the abuse victims, including his staff who were left to sue for their wages when he went bankrupt
.

I have recently developed a new found respect for the work Jackson did with Jones on Off the Wall, very smooth disco pop. Production values so perfect that it sounds as fresh today as it did when it came out. Excellent dance floor material.

Now for the snark:

For me, Jackson the artist died when BAD came out. I couldn't believe how execrable it was, even to my young ears. I knew it was not as good as Thriller and that he was over the hill pop-wise.

I always thought his dancing was a bit, well, average. As in not funky, relaxed and in the groove, but stilted and tense. Uncomfortable to watch.

Better that he died a quick death from cardiac arrest than a 50 date extended death-on-stage. I can't imagine what made him agree to doing all those gigs in London (two shows a day at weekends?), which his family are blaming for his death.
posted by asok at 5:52 AM on June 26, 2009


The more I think about it, the more I think his particular brand of crazy was about wanting to disappear, to get smaller and lighter and fade away into nothingness. I think he was a shy kid, told by his dad he was ugly, yet forced to stand in front of people. By the time he was old enough to stop doing it, what could he do? What other life could he have imagined? Barbecues in the backyard? Dinner parties? I think normalcy just escaped his grasp, and he literally chipped away at himself.

It is very sad, what some people do to their children. Where was his mom? And where's the mom to his own kids? What a mess.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:57 AM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


I can't imagine what made him agree to doing all those gigs in London

I'm guessing it was related to the $400 million dollars he was reportedly set to receive for them.
posted by dirtdirt at 5:59 AM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


As a six-year-old in 1983, Michael Jackson was one of the scariest people in the world. When my babysitter attempted to watch the world premiere of his latest video, I ran out of the room screaming and crying, not expecting to see the guy who played "Billie Jean" turn into a monster. My classmates treated me with fascination and derision.

As an adult, the Jackson 5's singles and Off The Wall were the soundtrack to the barbecues my upstairs neighbors would throw. Yeah, I still found him a little intimidating, but listening to "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough" always reminds me of impromptu dance parties in Boston's late-summer humidity.

Rest in peace, Michael. I hope you find the peace that eluded you in life.

.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:07 AM on June 26, 2009


This thread is a crazy, emotional, bittersweet, touching and maddening eulogy for the inscrutable and inestimable Mr. Jackson. Good job, MeFi.

It's pretty bumming news. I feel bad for his kids. I'll pray for his soul to find peace.
posted by Shohn at 6:07 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


This made me think of a couple things:

1. He was the biggest pop star of the 80s, and he only made two albums in that decade. (But over half the songs on those two albums were top 10 hits.)
2. The difference between Off the Wall and Thriller was basically the difference between pop music of the 70s and pop music of the 80s.
posted by snofoam at 6:12 AM on June 26, 2009


Others have mentioned the Motown 25 performance -- I clearly remember coming up out of my chair and saying to my girlfriend something like, "We just watched a star get born."

However, I've been watching him destroy himself for 20 years, so I really don't feel shocked or especially saddened now. Seriously, I've been grieving for a long time.

The first plastic surgery was a huge success for him. The nose job went a long way toward making him a star. Suddenly he was beautiful. I think he chased that for the rest of his life.

I don't know if he was a musical genius. Michael was a great performer, but Quincy made the records.
posted by Trochanter at 6:23 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


It amuses me that people feel the need to post micro-biographies of their first encounter with this man's music and so forth, like it is even relevant. ...That you bought his album or had an emotional reaction to some music 20 years ago is totally irrelevant, and long screeds about such are utterly narcissistic.

please pull your head out of your ass, Henry C. Mabuse.
When are people going to let go of there stupid fucking childhood memories?

same to you, Gamien Boffenburg.

for better or worse, my stupid fucking childhood memories are a very significant part of who & what i am. my stupid fucking childhood memories of michael jackson as part of the jackson 5, which i first saw on the ed sullivan show are also, for better or worse, a part of who i am. remembering the jackson 5 on the ed sullivan show helps me to remember who & what i am, and how i came to be the person i am. i daresay that goes for just about everyone. except perhaps for Henry C. Mabuse & Gamien Boffenburg.
posted by msconduct at 6:35 AM on June 26, 2009 [8 favorites]


There is something in all of this I haven't thought about enough to really grasp - it has something to do with popular culture, certainly, but it also speaks to class, race, politics, and technology.

Yesterday, when all of this was just coming out a friend of mine was on a CTA bus in Downtown Chicago (South Loop) giving live updates of an impromptu sing-along of Billie Jean started by a gaggle of girls who just found out from the feed on their cell phones.

By the time she had gone four or five blocks the whole bus was singing (minus a few stoic puss-faces, I am sure).

Aside from accusations, marketing, weirdness, and any number of other arguments for-or-against him as a man or performer... Yesterday there was a bus of folks, of all races and classes, who try hard not to make eye contact or interact with each other singing the same song.

There is something more than marketing and mob mentality in that.
posted by Tchad at 6:43 AM on June 26, 2009 [22 favorites]


We wont have Micheal Jackson to kick around any more. To me Micheal Jackson has been gone for a while. I will always remember him pre-thriller. RIP
posted by GratefulDean at 6:54 AM on June 26, 2009


[derail ahead]

ricochet biscuit> I think we increasingly live in a splintered media culture and there are likely fewer and fewer things that we all have in common.

I completely disagree. Because of instant, widespread mass media, and because there's a higher profit in selling and doing stories on just a few - a Britney, a Paris or a MJ instead of 1000+ less-hyped artists, we involuntarily have these celebrities in our faces 24/7. The effect of this pressure and wealth would make all but the strongest personalities crack and distort under the pressure, but that's all part of the show, too, isn't it?

Paris Hilton is the ultimate example. Here's a person who's famous... for being famous. period. She's apparently smart enough to roll with it, unlike Britney or Michael.

Most of us realize this is going on and don't much care for it, but like a car crash we can't turn away, can we? Economy's still in the shitter, N.Korea and Iran are hotspots, but gosh it's nice that MJ's passing has taken our minds off of that.

600+ comments on Mefi? QED.

[ end of derail ]

The early MJ solo albums are genius. Since he hasn't yet been mentioned, I thought I'd give some props to recording engineer Bruce Swedian. Bruce had a long working relationship with Quincy Jones, and he was central to giving the early MJ albums their matchless sound and smoothness.

I do think that Michael was a great artist, and gave us something unique and amazing. Like others have said, we didn't lose him yesterday, he left us several years ago, and yesterday was just the period at the end of a sentence.

Anyway...

.
posted by Artful Codger at 7:12 AM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Jackson performing Billie Jean from 2001. Has this been linked yet? Anyway, he was still pretty fucking good. Dude was a god damn showman.
posted by chunking express at 7:13 AM on June 26, 2009


Why do these obit posts always cause people to get really mad at each other?
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:14 AM on June 26, 2009




This is not a pisstake. He was very well known as a local eccentric near me, yet the tale of a man who goes round dressed as MJ and moonwalking in the town centre seems unbelievable.
posted by mippy at 7:15 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


In a hundred years, he'll be remembered like Jolson. Where we hear Jolson and all we can think of is the blackface, and all we can hear is the mannered, weird vocal inflections singing over extremely dated music, they'll just hear weird, mannered vocal inflections over dated music. The dancing will look old-fashioned. And all they'll see is the hideous, carved-up white face. Don't kid yourselves.
posted by interrobang at 7:20 AM on June 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


My thought on why everyone gave him so much hell was just that he walked so many lines. He was not an adult, but not a child. Not white, but not black. not clearly male, but not female. He makes everyone uncomfortable because they can't clearly delineate what he is and safely file him away in a category.

I've always felt that the world did MJ a grave dis-service in making what was likely an extraordinarily difficult life even worse.

Rest in peace.

.
posted by zennoshinjou at 7:26 AM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


Farrah, Ed, and now Michael. It's like my Seventies died this week.
posted by Toekneesan at 7:31 AM on June 26, 2009


Childhood memories? I'm enjoying his music right now!
posted by klangklangston at 7:34 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would like to have a moment of silence for Weird Al's best source of material though.
posted by klangklangston at 7:35 AM on June 26, 2009 [5 favorites]


I'm not exceptionally upset to hear about MJ's death, and I've been trying to think since last night about why that is. Thriller was the first tape I ever owned, and I played it until it broke. I still love MJ to this day - made sure P.Y.T. was on the setlist at my wedding reception last year. But his death doesn't sadden me as much as I would have thought.

Here's (I think) why - he was such a clearly tormented individual. I think of his death as the closest he could come to being at peace.

What does sadden me is that he never did find a way to exorcise those inner demons, and to experience peace in his life. I wish he could have found a way to become well psychologically, to come to terms with the abuse he suffered and the abuse he brought upon others. So I mourn that his entire life seemed to be filled with suffering, not so much that it has come to an end.
posted by misskaz at 7:36 AM on June 26, 2009


.

I think a lot of the people who are dissing the music have never heard Off the Wall.
posted by HumanComplex at 7:46 AM on June 26, 2009


"I'm hoping next we can compare relative sales of Mountain Dew and Beaujolais."

The obviously better choice wins out I'm thinking, even if we look at dollars rather than volume.

"Oh, and:

"$"


Classy.

"I can't imagine what made him agree to doing all those gigs in London (two shows a day at weekends?), which his family are blaming for his death."

I imagine half a billion dollars is a pretty good motivator.
posted by Mitheral at 7:48 AM on June 26, 2009


If we could only get BoingBoing somehow to censor the story then this thread could conceivably bring down the Internet
posted by Poet_Lariat at 7:49 AM on June 26, 2009


I completely disagree. Because of instant, widespread mass media, and because there's a higher profit in selling and doing stories on just a few - a Britney, a Paris or a MJ instead of 1000+ less-hyped artists, we involuntarily have these celebrities in our faces 24/7...

Paris Hilton is the ultimate example. Here's a person who's famous... for being famous. period. .


Maybe the difference is that today you can be famous for absolutely nothing, so who will bother to practice constantly to become the best at what they're doing in order to reach the pinnacle of stardom in the current age? Maybe some will just for the love of it or something, but the stories of Jackson's childhood are of constant rehearsal, and like him or not, I don't see how you can deny that it shows. He hits all his notes and executes all his moves perfectly.

I didn't like him in the 80s, when I was rejecting top ten music for the punk/goth stuff, but I still think he was incredibly good at what he did. The current equivalent might be Justin Timberlake, but he will never influence a generation or be the king of anything, and he's got to make fun of himself to stay relevant... I mean, it could just be their personality differences, and if Jackson were born later maybe he could have influenced the current age, but it doesn't feel that way to me.

I never bought or watched MJ on purpose, but because of the way the media worked in the 80s I got a constant influx of his singing & dancing, and hearing or seeing it now brings back feelings of nostalgia, even though I actively rejected it at the time. But the only time I've ever heard or seen Justin Timberlake is on SNL (and once someone pointed him out on the street but I'd never have known).

Anyway. RIP.
posted by mdn at 7:50 AM on June 26, 2009


It's times like these I wish there was poll-taking on MeFi. How will you remember Michael Jackson? As a super-energetic kid, part of the Jackson Five. As a serious artist? In his 1980s pop-star form? From his increasingly lavishly produced videos? From his days of creepy middle-age and painful to look at sliced to the bone face?
I'll remember the artist and the talent. Thanks, Michael.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:52 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Let it also be remembered that MTV videos were Whites Only until Michael Jackson dance-kicked the door down.

Wiki discusses this. Yeah, they weren't playing Super Freak, and they weren't playing a lot of black artists. But "Whites Only" is hyperbolic.

Anyway, I was a bit young in MJ's heyday (and didn't have cable) and when I really became aware of him I'd already gotten heavily into rock, and then the weirdness started. I've long thought he was trying to create the childhood he never was able to have. Unfortunately, that got pretty unseemly when he was no longer an adolescent. Peter Pan is appealing as the boy who never grew up. But the grown man pretending is pretty damn creepy.
posted by 6550 at 7:55 AM on June 26, 2009


"That you bought his album or had an emotional reaction to some music 20 years ago is totally irrelevant, and long screeds about such are utterly narcissistic.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 11:43 PM on June 25"


This is so fucking idiotic. I was just at a funeral the other day, for a man in his late 30s who died from a work accident. Since we're friends of the widow's brother, we spent some time sitting by him in the receiving area, where friends and family came after filing past the coffin. Every single person, without fail, first said something like "I'm so sorry" and then proceeded to relate some kind of story about a personal interaction with the deceased - how funny he was, or how he always got the job finished on time, or how wonderful he was with his son. The widow commented at some point that these anecdotes helped, in that it was proof after proof how many people loved and cared for him. THAT is what human compassion is.
posted by HopperFan at 8:04 AM on June 26, 2009 [8 favorites]


they'll just hear weird, mannered vocal inflections over dated music. The dancing will look old-fashioned. And all they'll see is the hideous, carved-up white face. Don't kid yourselves.

You're ignoring the incredible body of work Michael Jackson produced as a child star, with The Jackson 5. Arguably, this was among his strongest work, and I would argue it completely transcends the kind of cultural ephemera you're talking about. Take Jackson 5 songs like "I Want You Back" or "Ben": Songs like that don't go out of style or look gaudy in hindsight. I think you seriously estimate the depth and breadth of Michael Jackson's body of work and the significance of his talents as an artist, probably because you associate him too exclusively with the Pepsi-shilling, moon walking ubiquitous pop megastar he transformed himself into in the 80s.

And you're completely missing the more tragic, mythological aspects of his life story: Here was this sweet-faced little boy who took the world by storm with his precocious ability to sing and dance with skills rivaling that of any grown man, and all the while, behind closed doors, he was abused and exploited (at least financially; possibly even sexually) by members of his own family--those who should have been his closest allies, his protectors.

Then skip ahead a few years, and you find Michael Jackson as a young adult relentlessly driven by a desire to be loved and adored, pushing himself to produce studio albums and live concerts that were bigger, better spectacles than anyone had attempted to create before, perhaps to prove to everyone (including himself) that he was and would always be authentically loved for his talent, as the "undisputed king of pop."

Flash forward again, and Michael Jackson's focus on his career has fallen by the wayside, giving way to what seems an almost pathological compulsion to become a child again, abandoning the adult world to find love and acceptance, perversely, among children, whom he describes in a 60 minutes interview as "the face of God."

So now, at 50 years old, Michael Jackson is dead. But that sweet-faced five-year-old boy who first caught the world's eye by singing like a man--that tragic little boy who seemed to draw all the love and adoration in the world to him but probably never once found the authentic love he longed for--died long ago. In his place, we found a strange man with a face like a paper death mask, whose obsession with becoming a little boy again turned the world away.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:06 AM on June 26, 2009 [9 favorites]


"I think you seriously underestimate..."
posted by saulgoodman at 8:07 AM on June 26, 2009


Michael Jackson 'converts to Islam and changes name to Mikaeel' (Nov, 2008)

Huh, I haven't heard this reported anywhere else. I had no idea. (via Juan Cole)
posted by Auden at 8:10 AM on June 26, 2009


Michael Jackson almost broke the Internet when he died.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:12 AM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Moderate derail here:

Please don't mistake the Diana nonsense for anything other than the press mourning the passing of an easyly-spinnable property, and assaulting their readership with the last fix of guilt they could squeeze from the still-warm corpse as it happened.

Yes and no. In my experience, the Diana "thing" for a lot of women, especially, was this: So many people ... many women, some not ... believe that if they could only be thinner, or richer, or more beautiful, they'd be happy. People because obsessed with her life story because she stood as a huge counter-talisman to that idea. She was a representative reminder of the very true fact that what brings happiness is love, family, and fulfillment in what you're doing.

In many ways Jackson sort of fills the same niche.
posted by anastasiav at 8:14 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hate the modern phenomenon of people being famous purely for being famous, like Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth.
posted by klangklangston at 8:22 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


You're ignoring the incredible body of work Michael Jackson produced as a child star, with The Jackson 5.

You're obviously ignorant of the rich and varied career of Al Jolson. He wasn't just a blackface singer; you probably didn't know that. Neither will the people of the future know or care that there was a Michael Jackson beyond the ghastly sliced-faced child molester.

This is what music from a hundred years ago sounds like. It's great, isn't it? See how it sounds? That's what Michael Jackson will sound like to the people of 2109.
posted by interrobang at 8:30 AM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


But Al Jolson didn't have the internet.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:48 AM on June 26, 2009


> That's what Michael Jackson will sound like to the people of 2109.

...right. listening to their cranial implants. while driving rocket-cars.

Do you seriously think sound recording and reproduction is going to progress much in the next hundred years? For the last 10 years the quality of pop recordings has actually been declining (loudness, MP3s) according to many observers. So I daresay the recordings of the latter 20th century will still be sonically acceptable in the future. Arrangements and genres will of course be dated.

In other words, if we had good recordings of the best of Jolson, Callas, Caruso today, would you still make the same point?
posted by Artful Codger at 8:48 AM on June 26, 2009


Of course Jackson's music will sound dated.

But I think listening to it as it was or pure will pale in comparison to what artists will make of it either straightforwardly or as parody or somewhere in-between.

I am thinking of Max Raabe when I write that, having read the Jolson reference.

A good deal of how we appreciate Art has to do with the layers we add to it and how we experience it sometimes pure, sometimes filtered through other artists and mediums.

I, for one, cannot wait to hear the robot chorus of 2109 performing Thriller.
posted by Tchad at 8:51 AM on June 26, 2009


In other words, if we had good recordings of the best of Jolson, Callas, Caruso today, would you still make the same point?

You're acting like the recordings we have of them don't sound fuckin' awesome.
posted by interrobang at 8:51 AM on June 26, 2009


> You're acting like the recordings we have of them don't sound fuckin' awesome.

...Then is your point that they simply sound dated? Sorry, I thought you were dissing the sound quality of the Jolson stuff.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:58 AM on June 26, 2009


Yes, my point is that they sound dated, and we have no conception of Jolson's heyday--he was the biggest star in the world!--so it'll be similar for Michael Jackson in the future. All that remains of Jolson's incredible fame is the caricature; it'll be the same for Jackson.

I listen to Al Jolson all the time; Caruso, too. But only weirdos listen to pop music from a century ago.
posted by interrobang at 9:01 AM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Going back and looking at old performance videos of Micheal Jackson.

That man wasn't human. He had talent beyond anyone else I've ever seen as a performer. His entire body screamed what he did in that moment.
posted by Malice at 9:06 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I listen to Al Jolson all the time; Caruso, too. But only weirdos listen to pop music from a century ago.

Not....really. Lots of songs you'd think are "folk music" are actually only a century old, or even less. A lot of the songs that get used in lots of old-school Bugs Bunny cartoons are from the Gilded Age. And technically, any "classical" music was "pop" music from over a century ago, and it has lots of fans.

Music is music. A given song will hold up however long it holds up. There's no way to know how people of the future will regard Michael Jackson -- except to stay alive for the next 100 years and find out.

There's lots of guesses to be made for or against longevity -- but at the end of the day, it's really just a crap shoot, even if you come down on the side of "eternal"; there are a lot of instances I know of where something or someone was lauded as the Next Big Thing or A Modern Classic in its own day, and then within only a couple decades dropped completely off the radar.

they'll just hear weird, mannered vocal inflections over dated music. The dancing will look old-fashioned. And all they'll see is the hideous, carved-up white face. Don't kid yourselves.

Or, people will have developed a taste in such a way that he could be regarded as "ahead of his time." That can happen too -- that HAS happened. There's no way of knowing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:12 AM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sure, I agree. All I'm saying is that it's absurd to say "his music will still be listened to in a hundred years" when you look at his closest equivalent from a hundred years ago.
posted by interrobang at 9:15 AM on June 26, 2009


As a hippie child, I had a "We Are The World" poster in my bedroom. It was truly one of my favorite songs. I was also a huge fan of "Heal the World" for similar reasons.

MJ managed to reach everybody. Even those of us who spent our childhoods listening to Free to Be You and Me as opposed to Thriller.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:20 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


In 100 years, I don't think there will be a whole lot of 11 year olds wandering around, out-performing the most famous adults and capturing the attention of the entire nation (and eventually planet).

I think, a century from now, anyone who watches a young Michael Jackson perform will still be able to appreciate the talent he displayed.
posted by juliplease at 9:23 AM on June 26, 2009


Shit.
posted by flippant at 9:25 AM on June 26, 2009


dgaicun, Michael Jackson was never found guilty of any sexual abuse charges against minors. He was, however, repeatedly accused of a variety of types of molestation by numerous children over a twenty year span. Then paid $15+ million to settle one boy's 1993 sex abuse claim. If he were innocent he would have fought tooth and nail to prove himself innocent and not settled. Settling out of court is, basically, admitting guilt and paying the victim off for their silence, even though the words of any settlement say the person paying does not admit to any wrongdoing.

One of the accusers was Gavin Arvizo, a 13-year-old cancer survivor, "in candid remarks after the case, some jurors said they had not ruled out the possibility that Jackson had abused boys in the past". There was dangling his infant over the railing with the baby's head covered and the crowd shrieking in horror below, arriving for the molestation trial in pajamas, bragging about the "sleepovers" with underage boys in the same bed.

Michael Jackson was shaped in and by the cult of celebrity by raging narcissist parents.Then he became a part of it, victim and perpetrator, thrust up on the fame pedestal. It's strange that one face of his tormented personality could convey such intense vitality, playful joy, lust for life. He shapeshifted from young black child star with balletic testosterone to Liz Taylor wannabe with Pity Me The Waif Clown, Pied Piper of Neverland wierdo, philanthropist for the Benetton generation, plastic surgery monstrosity and spendaholic Richie Rich, all thrown into the mix. Loving his music means also being completely discombobulated by his character. His illness was very much part of his drive to be so special.

Rather than try and artificially separate what was ill about him from his extraordinary, memorable and inspiring talent I think it is okay to see him as a complex whole.
posted by nickyskye at 9:27 AM on June 26, 2009 [23 favorites]


All that remains of Jolson's incredible fame is the caricature; it'll be the same for Jackson.

You may be right, and no doubt, Jackson's fame will fade. But I think I disagree about the specific kind of caricature that he'll leave behind. I think people will latch on to the epic mythological aspects of Michael Jackson's life story and career and that he'll be remembered as one of those archetypal "tragic child prodigy geniuses," rather than as some kitschy star-of-the-moment type celebrity, a la Jolson.

And Jolson's legacy has also suffered inestimably due to the fact that he performed in black face for part of his career. A lot of contemporary music fans find that hard to swallow, even knowing the cultural realities of Jolson's time. Jackson, on the other hand, didn't play to the cultural stereotypes and prejudices of his day--he tried to transcend them, consciously becoming more androgynous and racially indeterminate as time went on, even as increasingly, he alienated his audience in the process.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:47 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've seen several accusations that Jackson molested children.

When was he found guilty of this? I seem to remember that he was found not guilty, and indeed was found to be the subject of extortion attempts.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:52 AM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, I was twelve when "I Want You Back" and "ABC" came out (that was a few years before Thriller, you whippersnapper!) and I was very impressed. Still am.

I would have been sixteen, I suppose. The most recent albums I'd bought prior had been Frank Zappa's 'Hot Rats', Captain Beefheart's 'Trout Mask Replica' and the Velvet Underground's first album.

Like Flapjax, I was seduced by the Jamerson bassline, the Holland Dozier Holland arrangements and the Jackson's vocal performances. The idea of listening to Hot Rats and Trout Mask Replica again today leaves me pretty cold, but I'd have no qualms whatsoever about whipping out Diana Ross Presents The Jackson Five, knowing it sounds just as fresh and vital today as it did the day that it first came out.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:04 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


And Jolson's legacy has also suffered inestimably due to the fact that he performed in black face

As Jackson's did performing in white face.
posted by nickyskye at 10:06 AM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've seen several accusations that Jackson molested children.

For my part, when I wrote "abandoning the adult world to find love and acceptance, perversely, among children" I was only referring to his admitted predilection for spending more time with children--up to and including sharing his bed with them--than with adults during the period of his self-imposed exile at the Neverland Ranch. Whether or not he molested children, this is not within the normal bounds of behavior for a grown man, right or wrong.

I've drawn my own conclusions independently, but then, it's not up to us to decide his guilt or innocence.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:08 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


.
posted by scrutiny at 10:12 AM on June 26, 2009


Sure, I agree. All I'm saying is that it's absurd to say "his music will still be listened to in a hundred years" when you look at his closest equivalent from a hundred years ago.

I don't know about that. It's already been about 40 years since the Jackson 5 first broke out. Sixty more years isn't that long. The best of MJ's music is already considered classic. If I'm still alive in 2069, I will still be listening to Michael Jackson.

As one the best-selling artists of all time, he stands a good chance of being listened to simply because his music is so widely distributed. And holy smokes -- FIFTEEN of the top 25 albums on iTunes right now are Michael Jackson's.
posted by emeiji at 10:17 AM on June 26, 2009


The videos for Bad and Smooth Criminal were the coolest things in the world when I was 4.

.
posted by minifigs at 10:17 AM on June 26, 2009


I don't think he was overrated, just that he was over-hyped for the talents he had. His global success was as much a marketing phenomenon as a recognition of any singular gift.

If this was actually possible, don't you think that the music industry would be doing it on a more regular basis? Their whole industry is going down the Gary Glitter, and yet no amount of marketing or promotion seems able to arrest that.

Great pop music touches a chord in millions across nations and cultures. Not just in the artist's fans, but in the culture as a whole. In the window cleaners who whistle it while they work, and the old grannies who hum it to their grandchildren as well as the teen pop fans -- and what differentiates pop icons is that they're able to do that, not just once, but repeatedly, and not just for a single generation, but for successive generations.

Whether you like him or not -- personally, I loved the Jackson 5 and thought his solo work was catchy and clever, but it didn't really move me -- I don't think anyone can reasonably argue that he didn't do the things that qualifies him as a bona fide pop icon.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:22 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


>I don't think he was overrated, just that he was over-hyped for the talents he had. His global success was as much a marketing phenomenon as a recognition of any singular gift.

If this was actually possible, don't you think that the music industry would be doing it on a more regular basis?


*reads PeterMcDermott'sresponse above*

*Looks at Britney Spears, N'Sync, The Backstreet boys, and the Jonas Brothers*

Uh...how much more of a "regular basis" were you thinking, there?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:24 AM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


From An Emergency Michael Jackson Essay, By Ray Smuckles:

...His story went out like a light today, and now all we have is his music. He can’t make any more mistakes.* We can’t say anything bad about him anymore.**

R.I.P., Michael. You moved more wax than anybody, player.***

* Unless there is something weird in his will.
** I wish this were true.
*** Except: The Beatles (they had a huge head start), Elvis (even bigger head start), and Bing Crosby (40-year head start, and declining super-fast).

posted by Iridic at 10:29 AM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm still waiting to feel some sadness. Or anything but vague disquiet and disgust. I'm sick of hearing about what a great person MJ was. I'm sick of all the tributes and personal stories. I'm tired of hearing about his childhood and how "tragic" and "troubled" he was. All I can think about is the children he's fucked up for life. And I don't feel sad knowing he won't do it to any more children.

His music was good, but it's been almost twenty years since that mattered. Just because you liked him when you were a kid doesn't mean you get to deify him now that he's dead.

The other thing I don't get is the hostility towards anyone who isn't completely worshipful to his memory. He was people's "hero"? Really? Still? And that doesn't cause you some serious cognitive dissonance?
posted by threeturtles at 10:32 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Settling out of court is, basically, admitting guilt and paying the victim off for their silence, even though the words of any settlement say the person paying does not admit to any wrongdoing.

There's an interesting GQ article from '94 that sheds a lot of doubt about that assumption in this case. It's long but worth a read as it gives a lot of context missing from headlines at the time. Obviously I can't speak as to its absolute veracity, but it creates some quite reasonable doubts
Why would Jackson’s side agree to settle out of court, given his claims of innocence and the questionable evidence against him? His attorneys apparently decided there were many factors that argued against taking the case to civil court. Among them was the fact that Jackson’s emotional fragility would be tested by the oppressive media coverage that would likely plague the singer day after day during a trial that could last as long as six months. Politics and racial issues had also seeped into legal proceedings — particularly in Los Angeles, which was still recovering from the Rodney King ordeal — and the defense feared that a court of law could not be counted on to deliver justice. Then, too, there was the jury mix to consider. As one attorney says, “They figured that Hispanics might resent [Jackson] for his money, blacks might resent him for trying to be white, and whites would have trouble getting around the molestation issue.” In Resnick’s opinion, “The hysteria is so great and the stigma [of child molestation] is so strong, there is no defense against it.”

Jackson’s lawyers also worried about what might happen if a criminal trial followed, particularly in Santa Barbara, which is a largely white, conservative, middle-to-upper-class community. Any way the defense looked at it, a civil trial seemed too big a gamble. By meeting the terms of a civil settlement, sources say, the lawyers figured they could forestall a criminal trial through a tacit understanding that Chandler would agree to make his son unavailable to testify.

Others close to the case say the decision to settle also probably had to do with another factor — the lawyers’ reputations. “Can you imagine what would happen to an attorney who lost the Michael Jackson case?” says Anthony Pellicano. “There’s no way for all three lawyers to come out winners unless they settle. The only person who lost is Michael Jackson.” But Jackson, says Branca, “changed his mind about [taking the case to trial] when he returned to this country. He hadn’t seen the massive coverage and how hostile it was. He just wanted the whole thing to go away.”
posted by Sparx at 10:38 AM on June 26, 2009 [7 favorites]


The idea of listening to Hot Rats and Trout Mask Replica again today leaves me pretty cold ...
wow. that's too bad. here to testify yes TESTIFY brothers & sisters! that those have both held up *very* well.
posted by msconduct at 10:41 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


And holy smokes -- FIFTEEN of the top 25 albums on iTunes right now are Michael Jackson's.

When I saw the dominance of Michael Jackson's material on iTunes last night, I thought, "Doesn't everyone who wants Thriller already have it? It's like a Federal law that you have to own that album, even if you never listen to it." I guess I was wrong.
posted by Prospero at 10:42 AM on June 26, 2009


nickyskye "dgaicun, Michael Jackson was never found guilty of any sexual abuse charges against minors. He was, however, repeatedly accused of a variety of types of molestation by numerous children over a twenty year span. Then paid $15+ million to settle one boy's 1993 sex abuse claim. If he were innocent he would have fought tooth and nail to prove himself innocent and not settled. Settling out of court is, basically, admitting guilt and paying the victim off for their silence, even though the words of any settlement say the person paying does not admit to any wrongdoing."

Not speaking for Michael but if I had a net worth in the 100's of millions with 10's of millions rolling in annually from my back catalogue I'd pay off 15 million to make this kind of stuff just go away. It would be well worth the reduction in stress. In fact I just spent relatively equivalent amounts of time to make a tax audit come out right and Revenue Canada wasn't even accusing me of anything. I would have been quite willing to just pay them a proportional amount of money. It's just not worth the stress and the demands on your time and schedule.

A similar metric is at play when people pay off aggressive panhandlers. If charity was at play people would pay them at first contact. Instead people pay them after a minute or two of interaction just to make them go away.

And lots of scams work because it isn't worth the target's time to pursue the matter. You can even see this in ask me where people are advised to not waste their time in court for small amounts or for cases accross political boundaries.
posted by Mitheral at 10:42 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sure, I agree. All I'm saying is that it's absurd to say "his music will still be listened to in a hundred years" when you look at his closest equivalent from a hundred years ago.
posted by interrobang


Hey, c'mon, man. The newest Star Trek confirmed that rebellious teens will still be listening to the Beastie Boys in 200 years.* That's evidence, right?

*admittedly, in Iowa...
posted by COBRA! at 10:43 AM on June 26, 2009


EmpressCallipygos, none of the people you list are nearly as famous as Michael Jackson. Little teenage kids born well after he stopped making music know who is. And my grandmother, who was living in Sri Lanka for much of the 80s, knows who is is. He has some seriously broad, world wide appeal. Jackson was stupid famous because he was Michael FUCKING Jackson.
posted by chunking express at 10:43 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Or ya, what Sparx quoted.
posted by Mitheral at 10:44 AM on June 26, 2009


Settling out of court is, basically, admitting guilt and paying the victim off for their silence...

And no, this isn't the case.
posted by chunking express at 10:46 AM on June 26, 2009


As Jackson's did performing in white face.

That's clever sounding, but not even close to accurate or fair.

I'm sick of hearing about what a great person MJ was.

Michael Jackson, the adult, was not a great person.

But the person who died yesterday wasn't just Michael Jackson the adult. He was also the scarcely recognizable physical remains of Michael Jackson, the little boy, who the world fell in love with and who we can still hear singing sweetly without any taint of whatever his future crimes might have been in the recordings he made as a child. Was the young Michael Jackson we can still hear and see singing "Ben" an evil monster because the ghoulish looking man he became later in life may have been? Can you really look into this face and see it that way?

Maybe it's because I have a young son of my own, but when I watch the videos of the young Michael Jackson now, with that incredible energy and talent of his shining as intensely as it did, and I think about what this world did to him--how his family and early associates abused and exploited him for their profit, how the cult of celebrity and the media landscape around him fed his insecurities, neuroses and eccentricities for their profit, how even the medical establishment betrayed him in so many different ways for their profit--how this world and all its profit seeking ultimately managed to warp, distort and contort even a natural talent as pure and bright as that little boy demonstrated into a monstrosity, it fills me with so much fear about my own son's future.

What's wrong with this world if this is how its most gifted progeny end up? That, to me, is the question Michael Jackson's life and career raises. And it's not a story only of our place and time in history, but a story that penetrates to the very heart of what it means to be human.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:47 AM on June 26, 2009 [10 favorites]


All I'm saying is that it's absurd to say "his music will still be listened to in a hundred years" when you look at his closest equivalent from a hundred years ago.

This is nonsense that can be dispelled with two words: Frank Sinatra. Sinatra is still widely appreciated and listened to, and his first recordings are going on 70 years old. Hell, his "comeback" work with Capitol is nearly 55 years old. No one with even a modest understanding of popular music can tell me with a straight face that In the Wee Small Hours, easily one of the greatest albums of all-time, may still sound OK now but will have disappeared in another 40 years.
posted by scody at 10:47 AM on June 26, 2009 [6 favorites]


I Remember Michael is one of those single serve pages asking people to donate to charities he supported.
posted by chunking express at 10:48 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


All I can think about is the children he's fucked up for life.

I recommend you think of something else. That sort of fixation is unhealthy.

But before you quit thinking about it, could you please post a link or two to these children's stories? I ask only because I don't recall ever hearing a word about how fucked-up these children's lives became. All I can recall is that a bunch of families made gobs of money by accusing Jackson of doing things. I don't recall any of them actually (a) proving that he did those things; or (b) showing any evidence whatsoever of harm.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:48 AM on June 26, 2009 [9 favorites]


He was, however, repeatedly accused of a variety of types of molestation by numerous children over a twenty year span. Then paid $15+ million to settle one boy's 1993 sex abuse claim. If he were innocent he would have fought tooth and nail to prove himself innocent and not settled. Settling out of court is, basically, admitting guilt and paying the victim off for their silence, even though the words of any settlement say the person paying does not admit to any wrongdoing.

I must disagree with this on the grounds that 90+ percent of US convictions are won through plea bargains, out of court. Less than 10 percent of convictions result from due process, a statistic I put to the simple crush of so many laws, the ease of stacking multiple charges and liabilities onto the same crimes, and the mounting expense of defending against it all.

In his legal life, MJ was always an estate before a man, and I doubt he was allowed to make a single decision with regard to his legal strategies. It's probable that one of his lawyers decided that this case would cost less settled. The rest is silence.
posted by kid ichorous at 10:48 AM on June 26, 2009 [7 favorites]


Photos from impromptu dance parties in Jackson's honour on the Flickr blog.
posted by chunking express at 10:51 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Police search for Jackson’s personal doctor --"As autopsy begins, physician’s BMW seized, LAPD says."
posted by ericb at 10:54 AM on June 26, 2009


Settling out of court is, basically, admitting guilt and paying the victim off for their silence, even though the words of any settlement say the person paying does not admit to any wrongdoing.

Argh! My lawyer senses are tingling!
Following up on what kid ichorous said, from a civil perspective, litigation takes an enormous toll not just financially, but emotionally. Sometimes, it is more cost effective both on the wallet and on the soul for a defendant to settle, even if there is a high likelihood that a defendant would be held liable.
posted by Dr. Zira at 10:55 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


[or rather would NOT be held liable]
posted by Dr. Zira at 10:56 AM on June 26, 2009


It's also worth mention that the accusations against Jackson overlapped with the day care sex abuse panic of the 1980-90s.
posted by kid ichorous at 10:59 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jesus juice.
posted by valentinepig at 11:03 AM on June 26, 2009


I assumed this would happen by morning, and lo, by morning, the Web had made it so:

The Iranian demonstrations, YouTubed to the strains of "Beat It".
posted by darth_tedious at 11:06 AM on June 26, 2009


Speaking of Beat It, Emm Gryner's cover of the song is phenomenal.
posted by chunking express at 11:14 AM on June 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


Michael Jackson's music was only for kids? Yes, when I think of music that's strictly for kids, I think of songs about a paternity dispute with a presumed femme fatale. Kids appreciate the lyrics, the invoking of a paranoid mood via the still smooth yet funky music, etc.
posted by raysmj at 11:18 AM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


Michael Jackson was talented, there's no doubt about that. My favorite MJ moments were "Dancing Machine" (a J5 hit, technically) and "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough." Those were very catchy, infectious pop songs, and they both hit number one without the benefit of a slick, carefully scripted/choreographed accompanying video. I'm wondering if Thriller would've sold as many copies and had as many hits if it wasn't for MTV and the much-ballyhooed videos that accompanied some of the songs. "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" certainly seemed to have the Top 40 chops to hit number one on their own musically, but would the album have sold so many mega-millions if people hadn't seen the zombie dance in "Thriller" or the rival gangs achieving detante through dance in "Beat It"? I'm not questioning his talent, or trying to start a flame war, I'm seriously wondering whether Thriller would've gone into the sales stratosphere without the Motown 25 special and the MTV videos? (Off the Wall generated four Top 10 hits and two number ones without the benefit of MTV.) What's sort of sad about Thriller and all its superlatives is that Michael always felt pressured to top it, and was frustrated when he didn't, but who could possible compete with that kind of insane success? Not even the original artist.

RIP Michael. "Ben" is one of my 70-something Mom's favorite songs and she still knows all the words to it. Thanks for making her world, and millions of other people's world, a little brighter.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:21 AM on June 26, 2009


Jackson Family -- Demerol Shot Caused Death.
posted by ericb at 11:28 AM on June 26, 2009


Oriole Adams, to answer your question - no. Without the iconic videos, Thriller would not have sold 106 or 109 or 100-and-however many copies. But this is only relevant if you see the music as the total end product. The videos and concerts and showmanship were a HUGE part of it, and a major part of why people remember him.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:28 AM on June 26, 2009


I would like to have a moment of silence for Weird Al's best source of material though.

Good point. He has other sources, of course, but Vaughn Meader also did a pretty good Nixon.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:33 AM on June 26, 2009


EmpressCallipygos, none of the people you list are nearly as famous as Michael Jackson. Little teenage kids born well after he stopped making music know who is. And my grandmother, who was living in Sri Lanka for much of the 80s, knows who is is. He has some seriously broad, world wide appeal. Jackson was stupid famous because he was Michael FUCKING Jackson.

I'm confused -- I was responding to the person who was responding to the person who said that Michael Jackson was "over-hyped for the talents he had" and "as much a marketing phenomenon as a recognition of any singular gift".

You don't think that Michael Jackson was "over-hyped for the talents he had", do you? In light of this last comment, I'd wager not. so I'm not sure how your response follows the thread of conversation i was actually having.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:35 AM on June 26, 2009


Well, all you abject haters out there can now at least take comfort in knowing your low opinion of MJ is not without support in high places.

Apparently, Chief Justice Roberts, in his days within the Reagan administration, didn't particularly appreciate Jackson's talents either.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:39 AM on June 26, 2009


Let's just hope the matter of MJ's legacy isn't left to the courts to decide.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:40 AM on June 26, 2009


The videos and concerts and showmanship were a HUGE part of it, and a major part of why people remember him.

Exactly. One of the things that's amazing about Thriller is that it represented, for the first time, the total integration of sound and vision (to borrow a phrase from David Bowie) on a mass level. The musical output of Thriller is intextricably linked to the visual output of Thriller -- and this was totally by design. This is different from the other artists of the period who were arguably "made" by MTV (e.g., Duran Duran), or from previous musical stars who had used TV/film to promote their work (e.g., the Beatles). The genius of Thriller is that it existed simultaneously as a complete work in both dimensions.
posted by scody at 11:40 AM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos, clearly i'm having a different conversation in my brain.
posted by chunking express at 11:49 AM on June 26, 2009


"AT&T reports that as the news was breaking, 65,000 texts were sent every second, the biggest spike in SMS traffic on AT&T's network in history."*
posted by ericb at 11:52 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


wow. that's too bad. here to testify yes TESTIFY brothers & sisters! that those have both held up *very* well.

I have to say that ever since I wrote that line I've had Peaches en Regalia playing in my head, so perhaps I *was* a little hasty.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:53 AM on June 26, 2009


What happens to his kids? -- "Facing an uncertain future and a possible custody battle in the wake of their father’s sudden death are Michael Jackson’s three children."
posted by ericb at 11:53 AM on June 26, 2009


.
posted by DaddyNewt at 11:55 AM on June 26, 2009


Chief Justice Roberts is the vox clamans in terrisest, that for sure.
posted by cortex at 11:59 AM on June 26, 2009


Lisa Marie Presley weighs in on Michael Jackson - a must read. She says she really loved him, that their marriage was not a sham, and that she tried -- and failed -- to save him.
posted by Quiplash at 12:00 PM on June 26, 2009 [5 favorites]


According to People Magazine, Debbie Rowe still has parental rights to her two children with Michael. Why?
posted by Quiplash at 12:01 PM on June 26, 2009


Exactly. One of the things that's amazing about Thriller is that it represented, for the first time, the total integration of sound and vision (to borrow a phrase from David Bowie) on a mass level.\

I agree that these videos were crucial in helping move product. I also notice that John Landis has been mentioned zero times in 700 posts.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:01 PM on June 26, 2009


"His story went out like a light today, and now all we have is his music. He can’t make any more mistakes. We can’t say anything bad about him anymore."

I was fine yesterday, but this got me weeping. Hell.
posted by sixswitch at 12:02 PM on June 26, 2009


Oops, I meant to backspace over that last "why?" Please ignore, thanks :-)
posted by Quiplash at 12:02 PM on June 26, 2009


Not quite zero times, rb.

I feel a little left out not having really seen Thriller when it happened. Young, bad timing, just flew right by me. I do remember seeing Moonwalker on video and being both compelled and confused by such a weird thematic mashup.
posted by cortex at 12:08 PM on June 26, 2009


.
posted by ob at 12:09 PM on June 26, 2009


"AT&T reports that as the news was breaking, 65,000 texts were sent every second, the biggest spike in SMS traffic on AT&T's network in history"

A flag raising round number; I wonder if there are any limits in the system.
posted by Mitheral at 12:11 PM on June 26, 2009


Michael Jackson album sales soar.

Sales of Jackson music, videos climbs online.
"Michael Jackson's death has led to skyrocketing sales of his music and videos online.

After the pop icon's death was announced Thursday, Amazon.com sold out within minutes all CDs by Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5. That comes Friday from vice president of music and video Bill Carr.

Carr says 60 percent of Amazon's CD orders Thursday were for Michael Jackson music, something he called 'stunning.'

And Barnes and Noble said that its Web site and brick-and mortar stores are currently sold out of most Jackson CDs, DVDs and books.

Both companies say they are working to get the products back in stock."
posted by ericb at 12:24 PM on June 26, 2009


My sister used to shriek at the mention of his name (she was 3) and I hid behind my couch everytime the Thriller video came on MTV. A babysitter rented the "Making of" one night and it scared the bejeezus out of me. Nightmares for weeks. RIP Michael.
.
posted by ahdeeda at 12:24 PM on June 26, 2009


.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 12:25 PM on June 26, 2009


I feel a little left out not having really seen Thriller when it happened.

I remember when they released the video on December 2, 1983. It was a television event. I also recall pre-ordering a videotape of it at my local video rental shop. Wish I still had it. It's in a landfill somwhere with my other VHS tapes.
posted by ericb at 12:28 PM on June 26, 2009


I also notice that John Landis has been mentioned zero times in 700 posts.

Uh, except for that mention by MrMoonPie.

In any case, yes, John Landis was absolutely instrumental in directing the "Thriller" video (which he also cowrote with Jackson). But there's vastly more to the visual legacy of Thriller than just, well, "Thriller." There was "Billie Jean" (directed by Steve Barron). There was "Beat It" (directed by Bob Giraldi and choreographed by Michael Peters). There was the Motown 25 performance (which introduced his fabled "moonwalk"). The Jacksons' Victory Tour (and all of MJ's subsequent tours) were mass visual spectacles.

Yes, of course, all of these things required an array collaborators -- not the least of which, Quincy Jones in producing the album. But this sort of churlish nitpicking (I'm bracing for the chorus of "well, he didn't actually design and sew his own costumes, did he?") in an attempt to argue that one of the largest global pop culture phenomenons of the twentieth century wasn't really one of the largest global pop culture phenomenons of the twentieth century seems asinine.
posted by scody at 12:30 PM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


I also notice that John Landis has been mentioned zero times in 700 posts.

Did he die too?
posted by smackfu at 12:30 PM on June 26, 2009


All that remains of Jolson's incredible fame is the caricature; it'll be the same for Jackson.

I think that depends to some extent on the future state of the art of media reproduction. We've come a long way from the 20s -- all that remains is scratchy B&W and off-kilter soundtracks and the 78s.

The Thriller video is 25+ years old already and I don't think it could be surpassed technically if it were re-shot today.

Stylisms also are important here. Music had been evolving in complexity throughout the 20th century. Where it goes from here is anyone's guess, but since I'm an old fart I think the 80s was Peak Art, and no-one can deny that MJ owned the 80s, with OTW in opening, Thriller in the middle, and Bad at the end. Now, I can't personally stand much of this output, but I appreciate the artistry involved.
posted by @troy at 12:31 PM on June 26, 2009


Out of all the tributes and memories from the past 24 hours, this is the one that finally made me cry.
posted by ericbop at 12:33 PM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


At least one fight has been resolved. The girl is Paul's. The doggone girl is Paul's.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:34 PM on June 26, 2009 [5 favorites]


the "Making of" one night...

Making Of Thriller - Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

'Thriller' Actress Ola Ray Reflects On Famous Role .
posted by ericb at 12:34 PM on June 26, 2009


The early MJ solo albums are genius.

Assuming you mean Off the Wall and Thriller, sure.
(Personally I didn't like Bad and for me it was all downhill from there.)

By then he'd already released four solo albums--Got to Be There (1972), Ben (1972), Music and Me (1973), and Forever, Michael (1975)--while still under Barry Gordy's thumb. Plus, the Jackson 5 made nine albums between 1969 and 1975, so he made three albums a year in 1970, 1972, and 1973, and two albums in 1971.

He was only 20 when he made Off the Wall and 24 when he made Thriller.

MJ always had the talent but he reached his creative peak in synergistic partnership with Quincy Jones, much like another incredibly talented MJ--Michael Jordan--reached his peak with Phil Jackson.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:41 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


One of the things that's amazing about Thriller is that it represented, for the first time, the total integration of sound and vision (to borrow a phrase from David Bowie) on a mass level.

I rather think The Wall was there first.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:42 PM on June 26, 2009


And Wagner!
posted by kid ichorous at 12:46 PM on June 26, 2009


Tho' maybe The Wall wasn't conceived as a simultaneous video-musical tour de force.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:47 PM on June 26, 2009


I rather think The Wall was there first.

That's an interesting point. What was The Wall's impact globally? I'm not snarking, I'm genuinely interested; I tend to think of The Wall as a huge phenomenon among (primarily white) rock fans of a certain age span in the U.S. and Western Europe, in contrast with Thriller's more global appeal, but I honestly don't know if that's accurate.

And Wagner!

Heh. I actually had a little digression in there originally about opera, but thought it best to take it out.
posted by scody at 12:51 PM on June 26, 2009


So after all the stuff with Elvis, no one thinks MJ faked his own death?
Hnh....
I mean, the one thing that is a dead giveaway with Elvis is that he died on the toilet. No one's going to come up with that as a cover story. Especially not Elvis. Believable for E would be getting attacked by ninja druglords ('cos he was a special agent). And E wasn't exactly low profile.
But this?
I mean, I can buy that MJ is dead. And I have no real reason to think he's alive. But if anyone this big *could* have pulled it off, and if there were anyone with motive and who, looking back, has opened the opportunity (living abroad, the surgeries, selling off a lot of stuff, etc. etc.), I'd have to say it'd be Jackson.
That said, probably did the Bruce Lee thing - too much medication + too much hard work.
...of course, plenty of rumors Lee faked his own death too. That and the Dim Mak.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:51 PM on June 26, 2009


So after all the stuff with Elvis, no one thinks MJ faked his own death?

Heh. My boyfriend did say last night that this would be a great time to be a Michael Jackson impersonator: imagine running out of the ER in a hospital gown behind the assembled throngs of reporters and cameras...
posted by scody at 12:53 PM on June 26, 2009


The Web Collapses Under The Weight Of Michael Jackson’s Death
posted by homunculus at 12:53 PM on June 26, 2009


ericb: Jackson Family -- Demerol Shot Caused Death

If that turns out to be true, then this song gains a new and frightening context.
posted by Prospero at 12:56 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Making Of Thriller - Parts 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 .

I guess everybody else had Moonwalker, but this is what I had. I think I probably watched it at least 300 times as a child.

Not technically a Michael Jackson song, but he kills here.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:57 PM on June 26, 2009


So who's left in music to make this kind of news?

Madonna
Quincy Jones (?; at least he should)
Mick Jagger
Paul McCartney
posted by dasheekeejones at 12:58 PM on June 26, 2009


I was on the train last night when the news broke. I looked over and saw some guy with a bloody nose. I immediately thought "OMG! Michael Jackson stigmata!"
posted by dasheekeejones at 12:58 PM on June 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


I saw this story pop into my RSS reader last week and dismissed it as yet-more-Jacko-weirdness, but in light of his death perhaps it sheds some light on his physical condition.
Michael Jackson Helped By Hulk

Last week, 15th Jun 11:00

Michael Jackson is being trained by Lou Ferrigno.

The 'Incredible Hulk' actor - a former Mr. Universe - is paying secret visits to the 'Thriller' star's Los Angeles home to help him prepare for his forthcoming 'This Is It' run of shows at London's O2 arena.

A source told Britain's The Sun newspaper: "Lou has been visiting Michael to build him up so he can perform his dance routines.

"But Michael refuses to lift weights. He doesn't want to bulk up."

The 50-year-old singer - who weighs a reported 126lbs and eats just one meal a day - is reportedly battling skin cancer and is said to be terrified gaining weight will damage his chances of beating the disease.

Michael and Lou struck up a friendship two years ago when the 'Bad' singer began using the 57-year-old actor's gym.

Lou said at the time: "Michael is more delicate. Our trainer conditioned him for dancing.

"He likes me, he feels safe with me. He was nervous about people looking at him when he's training."

Last month, it was revealed the 'Beat It' star would kick off his concert run on July 13, five days later than originally planned.

Shows scheduled to take place on July 10, 12 and 14 have been moved to the end of the residency in March 2010.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:59 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not technically a Michael Jackson song, but he kills here.

Ah, Rockwell. More memories.
posted by ericb at 1:01 PM on June 26, 2009


Listen to the 911 call.
posted by ericb at 1:05 PM on June 26, 2009


Whenever I hear or read 911 transcripts, I always wonder the same thing: Why the hell don't they say right away that help is on the way? When the operators start asking more questions, the callers invariably wonder why this interview has to go on. This operator did better than most I have heard, but still it would be great to have a protocol where the operator just says "OK, help is on the way right know. I'd like to get more info that I can relay to the crew while they are en route." (end rant)
posted by The Deej at 1:18 PM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


I rather think The Wall was there first.

The original mentioned "mass level" of the integration.

The Wall was marching fascist hammers and flower vaginas. Thriller was pop monsters and Bollywood dancing.
posted by @troy at 1:26 PM on June 26, 2009


Livestream: Coroner's Press Conference -- starts in a few minutes.
posted by ericb at 1:29 PM on June 26, 2009


The Deej, that's the first thing he said in this clip. But I agree with your overall point.
posted by juliplease at 1:38 PM on June 26, 2009


I love this "we realize the actual presser is delayed and you're not here to answer any questions, but we're bored and really want to ask you some questions anyway, police guy" thing going on on the live stream.
posted by cortex at 1:43 PM on June 26, 2009


I love this "we realize the actual presser is delayed and you're not here to answer any questions, but we're bored and really want to ask you some questions anyway, police guy" thing going on on the live stream.
posted by cortex


I seriously love how much cortexian analysis of presser streams we've been getting lately. It's like a mini golden age.
posted by COBRA! at 1:45 PM on June 26, 2009


Livestream: Coroner's Press Conference -- starts in a few minutes.

I love this "we realize the actual presser is delayed...


Yeah -- delayed until 2:30 Pacific/5:30 Eastern time.
posted by ericb at 1:49 PM on June 26, 2009


Michael and Lou struck up a friendship two years ago when the 'Bad' singer began using the 57-year-old actor's gym.

Interesting. Because Ferrigno appears in the Liberian Girl video I linked above.
posted by anastasiav at 1:51 PM on June 26, 2009


Transcript for 911 call:
Operator: What is the nature of your emergency?

Caller: Yes sir, I need an ambulance as soon as possible, sir.

Operator: OK sir, what's your address?

Caller: Los Angeles, California 90077

Operator: Is it Carolwood?

Caller: Carolwood Drive, yes.

Operator: OK sir, what's the phone number you're calling from?

Caller: Sir, we have a gentleman here that needs help and he's not breathing. He's not breathing and we're trying to pump him, but he's not ...

Operator: OK, OK. How old is he?

Caller: He's 50 years old, sir.

Operator: 50? Ok. He's unconscious? He's not breathing?

Caller: Yes he's not breathing sir.

Operator: Ok and he's not conscious either.

Caller: No, he's not conscious sir.

Operator: Alright, is he on the floor, where's he at right now?

Caller: He's on the bed, sir, he's on the bed.

Operator: OK let's get him on the floor.

Caller: OK.

Operator: OK let's get him down to the floor. I'm going to help you with CPR right now. We're on our way there, we're on our way but I'm going to do as much as I can to help you over the phone. We're already on our way. Did anybody see him?

Caller: Yes we have a personal doctor here with him sir.

Operator: Oh you have a doctor there?

Caller: Yes but he's not responding to anything. He's not responding to CPR or anything.

Operator: Ok, well we're on our way there. If your guy's doing CPR as instructed by a doctor, he has a higher authority than me. Did anybody witness what happened?

Caller: No, just the doctor, sir, the doctor's been the only one here.

Operator: OK so the doctor's seen what happened?

Caller: (aside) Doctor, did you see what happened, sir? (To operator) If you can please ...

Operator: We're on our way, I've dispatched these questions on to our paramedics and they're on their way there sir.

Caller: Thank you sir. He's pumping his chest but he's not responding to anything sir, please.

Operator: Ok, we're on our way, we're less than a mile away. We'll be there shortly.

Caller: Thank you sir, thank you.

Operator: Ok sir, call us back if you need any help.

Caller: Yes sir.
BTW -- the doctor who was performing CPR (and lived with Jackson in the rented mansion) has been identified as Houston cardiologist Dr. Conrad Murray. The BMW the police towed away last night is registered to the doctor's sister.
posted by ericb at 1:55 PM on June 26, 2009


The Deej, that's the first thing he said in this clip. But I agree with your overall point.
posted by juliplease


I'm basing it on the transcript (no audio streaming at work), which may or may not be accurate. (Also, honestly not trying to be nit-picky.):

911- Fire, paramedic 33 what is the nature of your emergency?

Caller - Yes sir, I need to, I need an ambulance as soon as possible sir.

911- Okay sir, what's your address?

Caller - It's 100 North Carolwood drive, Los Angeles California, 90077.

911- You say Carolwood?

Caller - Carolwood Drive, yes.

911- Okay sir, what's the phone number you're calling from and what the approximate exactly what happened?

Caller - Sir, we have gentleman here that needs help and he's not breathing. He's not breathing and we need to... we're trying to pump him and he's not breathing sir.

911- Okay, okay, how old is he?

Caller - He's 50 year old, sir.

911- 50, okay.

911- He's unconscious and he's not breathing?

Caller - Yes, he's not breathing, sir,

911- Okay and he's not conscious either?

Caller - No, he's not conscious sir.

911- All right, Is he on the floor? Where's he at right now.

Caller - He's on the bed, he's on the bed.

911- Okay, let's get him on the floor. Let's get him down to the floor. I'm

going to help you with CPR right now, okay.

Caller - We need him....

911- Yes, we're on our way there. I'm going to do what I can to help you on the phone. We're already on our way


911- Did anybody see him?

Caller - Yes we have a personal doctor here with him sir,

911- Oh you have a doctor there?

Caller - But he's not responding to anything, to no, no. He's not responding to CPR or anything sir.

911- Oh, okay. We'll we're on our way there. If your guy's doing CPR as instructed by a doctor he has a higher authority than me and he's there on scene.

911- Did anybody witness what happened?

Caller - Um. No, just the doctor sir. The doctor's been the only one here.

911- Okay, so did the doctor see what happened?

Caller - Doctor, did you see what happened, sir?

And sorry, if just...If you can please.

911- We're on our way, we're on our way. I'm just, I'm just passing on to my paramedics. They're on their way there, sir.

Caller - Thank you sir. He's pumping, he's pumping his chest but he's not responding to anything sir, please.

911- Okay, okay. We're on our way, we're on our way, we're we're less than a mile away. We'll be there shortly.

Caller - Thank you, sir. Thank you.

911- Okay sir. Call us back back if you need any help.

Caller - Thank you


Again, this is still better than most. I've heard/read some transcripts where the caller pleads several times to send help, and the operator just keeps asking questions.
posted by The Deej at 1:59 PM on June 26, 2009


I'm enjoying the personal stories people are sharing, of what his music meant them. It's cultural communing of the best sorts.

For me, I liked the stuff before Thriller (it was unavoidable for anyone within 100 feet of a radio), and afterwards, deep in my hardcore and post-punk phase, I was too preoccupied with teenage kicks to pay it any attention. It was only later that I was floored by the performances, the arrangements, the production (Quincy Jones and MJ, Yes...), and just the perfect balance of pop and intensity, as well as the fact that songs like, "Off the Wall" and "Don't Stop Till YOu get etc..." (Just the sound of the side to side up and down cascading strings at the beginning that song are a recording wonder) and the Thriller stuff, were almost impossible to not want to dance too, and have gotten even better with over time.

As to whether or not the guy was a pedophile or not, I'm not so sure. pedophilia is like the present day equivalent of being labelled a witch in puritan New England and MJ put himself in a particularly vulnerable place in regard to that. I naively will believe, until proven otherwise, that the guy was just eccentric and enjoyed climbing trees with children and spending time in his pj's with them because he never had a chance to grow up himself, and never properly matured in a healthy way. I think all this will eventually come out, as the very same parasites who made money off of him last time (the people, lawyers who brought charges against him for a big payday, tabliods, TMZ and that ilk.) will again try and cash in, anyway they can. Also, wasn't there something about a particularly heinious manager who was complicit with the charges, betrayed and screwed him over. I think he had an Italian name.

And I hate to say this, but I almost think this is the most compassionalte thing that could've happened to him. Just from looking at this progression of photos over time. I think the man, was just suffering and ironically, was no longer among the living, in any real regard, since the late 90s.

As for his legacy, well...no one really likes to think of fat, drug addled pathetic Elvis, so I think, hopefully with Michael, what will hopefully remain for posterity is that 80s Michael with the white glove hanging gracefully in the darkness grand and his body and voice popping and exploding on an impossible dime.


.
posted by Skygazer at 2:05 PM on June 26, 2009


In a hundred years, he'll be remembered like Jolson. Where we hear Jolson and all we can think of is the blackface, and all we can hear is the mannered, weird vocal inflections singing over extremely dated music, they'll just hear weird, mannered vocal inflections over dated music. The dancing will look old-fashioned. And all they'll see is the hideous, carved-up white face. Don't kid yourselves.

Image-wise I'm not sure that in 100 years, MJ's picture will be as simplistic as Al Jolson's (carved-up white face), but otherwise, I'm afraid this is spot on. The only reason why there may be a bit more nuance to MJ's image, is that technology has advanced far enough that a more nuanced picture is easier to assemble (compared to Jolson's time), but it'll still be a narrow caricature, because the problem is not just technology, but time and mental space. We only have so much mental space we can devote to phenomena of the past which don't have immediate relevance to our lives. An artist may have been a cultural giant 500, or 1000, or 95 years ago, but today, s/he's often just a name and a single image.

As to music, interrobang is 100% right. It will date, and it will date badly, just as Al Jolson's did. And the reason is precisely that MJ's music is mass consumption popular music. He was a genius, no question, certainly one of the greatest, if not the greatest pop phenomenon, but therein lies the answer: his music will date, just as all popular music dates, no matter how great. It will sound quaint. It already sounds super-married to the 80's. Not date, as in "bad", just as in "identifiable as a product of the 80's". And the poster above who identified classical music as "pop of its time" got it wrong - factually, historically wrong. It was not pop of its time. There has always been, and probably always will be popular entertainment, and also art - sure, with a lot of cross-pollination between them, but the distinction is always there. And the fact is, that art lasts a lot longer, and is less subject to dating (though still is). I am quite sure that you could take MJ's stuff from the 70's or 80's and identify it as belonging to its era - and I don't mean just superficial things like production techniques. At the same time, you could take modern classical or avant-garde music from the 70's and 80's and you simply couldn't tell it was made during that era - art ages a lot slower.

And so, it is inevitable that MJ's music will share Jolson's fate. That is the price of trading in pop, rather than in art (and I'm not making any kind of argument that pop is unworthy and inferior to art nonsense). I think in music, it is also that which is more highly personal. A musician, who is highly original and very, very personal, retains the ability to touch people for the longest. MJ was not that artist. He wasn't particularly original. And he wasn't particularly personal. He delivered a slick product with enormous panache, brilliantly performed. I take nothing whatsoever from his talents. I just don't think he changed the canon of music the way many other lesser known musicians did - I'm speaking here purely of originality. And the personal? When we listen to Billie Holiday, we listen because she made it personal. MJ never made it personal (perhaps I'm wrong, since I don't know every obscure thing he may have done, but that's not the bulk of his work, as BH was). Al Jolson didn't. Billie Holiday we listen to today, without the feeling of being terribly dated, because of that personal aspect. There were performers of her time more famous, bigger sellers, but who sound dated today and we don't listen - the difference between inch deep and miles wide, versus mile deep and inch wide. MJ will belong to the class of those who sound dated, I wager. I further wager, that there are many musicians today far less famous than MJ, to whose music people will listen to 100 years from now, much more than MJ's.
posted by VikingSword at 2:11 PM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


In that case, I agree with your entire point, The Deej. I missed the part about the transcript altogether. Thanks for the extra info.
posted by juliplease at 2:12 PM on June 26, 2009


Jackson London O2 Tour: Confusion Over Tickets Refund.

Interesting tidbit:
"Tickets for the The This Is It tour went on sale in March and sold at a rate of 11 per second, making it the fastest-selling tour in history."
Tour operator AEG Live:
"Full ticket refund information and procedures will be released early next week for all Michael Jackson This Is It shows. Fans are advised to hold onto their ticket vouchers/proof of purchase."
Michael Jackson's death leaves AEG Live facing £300m bill
"AEG Live, the promoters of Michael Jackson's 50-date residency at London's O2 Arena, faces a bill of up to £300 million [$421 million] following the cancellation of the concerts.

It is thought the company was unable to get insurance for at least 30 of the concerts – which were due to start next month – after obtaining limited cover for between 10 and 20 of up to £130 million [$183 million].

Insurers declined to take on the financial risk of the shows not going ahead, apparently concerned that the singer, who appeared frail at the unveiling of the concerts in March, would not be able to complete the run.

Randy Phillips, AEG's chief executive, told The Daily Telegraph at the time that the company, which is owned by the American billionaire Philip Anschutz, was willing to 'self-insure,' shouldering the potential cost itself."
Jackson was hoping to pay down some of his $620 million debt with these concerts.

Michael Jackson leaves $1 billion in assets, over $500 million in unpaid debts.

The Pop Star and the Private Equity Firms.
posted by ericb at 2:25 PM on June 26, 2009


Ive posted like 6 times in this thread and it's only now occuring to me to say one last farewell to that "5 asshole having, pterodactyl-marrying, werewolf-raping, baby dangler."


Also, have you heard Off The Wall?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 2:29 PM on June 26, 2009


I am not personally bereaved by MJ's death but I am saddened by the grief of his fans, his peers, and his family. The entertainment world is certainly much affected by all the recent deaths.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 2:36 PM on June 26, 2009


Yeah -- delayed until 2:30 Pacific/5:30 Eastern time.

The coroner's presser has been reschedule yet again to 3:30 Pacific/6:30 Eastern time.
posted by ericb at 2:57 PM on June 26, 2009


The King’s Ransom -- "Though years of excessive spending had left Michael Jackson deep in debt, the star's estate should eventually be profitable."
posted by ericb at 2:57 PM on June 26, 2009


just as all popular music dates,

And yet we still have Gilbert and Sullivan. And people listening to Woody Guthrie.
posted by rodgerd at 2:59 PM on June 26, 2009



Not quite zero times, rb.

Strange... it didn't turn up in a search.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:02 PM on June 26, 2009


Business Week: Settling Michael Jackson's Estate May Be a Thriller -- "The performer, who died at 50, left behind a chorus of creditors and a half interest in a hugely successful song catalog."
posted by ericb at 3:10 PM on June 26, 2009


While I still greatly enjoy Jackson's music to this day and consider myself a fan of a number of the artists he inspired and those that inspired him, I hadn't been too emotionally affected by his death. Until I read Lisa Marie's blog linked upthread. I had to stop reading it for a bit because her words and feelings are so powerful and it's hard for me not to empathize strongly. That woman clearly loved and cared for him and it actually pains me to think of how so many people mock their relationship and love.

The outpouring of emotion and reminiscence in the black community has been very strong. It's something of a disconnect for me to read so many posts about how Jackson and his music are irrelevant when I hear his songs and see his influence all the time. I'm not saying anyone is right or wrong, it's just a matter of perspective, that's all.
posted by Danila at 3:15 PM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Presser now happening. TMZ clearly doesn't have a good mic on the podium. Pretty much "he's dead, nothing weird, 4-6 weeks for tox" so far.
posted by cortex at 3:26 PM on June 26, 2009


The audio is nigh useless, here. I can hear the TMZ crew bitching at the lady whose head is in the bottom of his frame ten times as well as I can hear the official. Between that and general crosstalk and random honking in the background I can't make out half of what he's saying.
posted by cortex at 3:29 PM on June 26, 2009


CNNs mic had good placement but what you heard on TMZ was pretty much all they said.
posted by jamaro at 3:34 PM on June 26, 2009


Farrah, Ed, and now Michael. It's like my Seventies died this week.

I know, I feel the same.
Who's next? Joyce DeWitt?
posted by chococat at 3:35 PM on June 26, 2009


dgaicun: "Michael Jackson was never found guilty of any sexual abuse charges against minors."

nickysyke: "He was, however, repeatedly accused of a variety of types of molestation by numerous children over a twenty year span.

One of the accusers was Gavin Arvizo, a 13-year-old cancer survivor, "in candid remarks after the case, some jurors said they had not ruled out the possibility that Jackson had abused boys in the past"....""


These links do not support your confident assertions he was a child molester. Other way around; your last link on the Arvizo case: "When the verdicts were delivered jurors said that the brother's story did not add up and Jackson was cleared on all 10 counts of abusing Gavin Arvizo, plying the boy with alcohol to molest him, and conspiring to abduct his family."

On the "numerous children" who accused him: "... most of the witnesses had either sued or sold stories about their former employer, and only one of the five alleged victims took the stand. Culkin, a friend of Jackson's, appeared for the defence to say categorically that nothing happened. "

Read my original comment, and the links for more.

Your first link isn't even from a child but by an adult man who (very dubiously) claims to have "recovered memories" of being molested, drugged, and beaten by Jackson when he was 18 years old.

Jackson was also accused of sexual misconduct by adult women (hence Billie Jean). Accusation does not equal guilt. He was a rich and famous celebrity. And he was a psychologically arrested weirdo who acted like a kid and violated social norms in his interaction with non-familial kids at a time of heightened hysteria over this. The sharks smelled blood and used this against him ruthlessly in an attempt for personal gain.

"Then paid $15+ million to settle one boy's 1993 sex abuse claim. If he were innocent he would have fought tooth and nail to prove himself innocent and not settled. Settling out of court is, basically, admitting guilt and paying the victim off for their silence, even though the words of any settlement say the person paying does not admit to any wrongdoing".

Numerous comments above explain why this is simply false.
posted by dgaicun at 3:56 PM on June 26, 2009 [6 favorites]


And not to belabor the quote on that one, but: "By January 1, 1994, $2 million had been spent by prosecution departments in California, two Grand Juries had questioned two hundred witnesses, but Jordan's allegations could not be corroborated... Jordan refused to testify in a criminal trial, neither the police nor the Grand Jury pressed criminal charges, citing a lack of evidence, Jackson was not charged with a crime"
posted by dgaicun at 4:03 PM on June 26, 2009


Heard from a woman who sold us tickets to Showgirls Thursday night:

"Yeah, my friend said his heart just couldn't Beat It."
posted by sixswitch at 4:17 PM on June 26, 2009


****0/****
***/||*****
*** / \*****
--------------
.

Don't know what else could be a fitting tribute to a man who came just a hair before my time... but who I discover to have had a great influence. RIP
posted by JoeXIII007 at 4:18 PM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


"The sharks smelled blood and used this against him ruthlessly in an attempt for personal gain."

I've got no insight into this. I can't really comment whether he was or wasn't a molester or whether people were trying to rip him off - I have no idea.
I mean, on the one hand, there are many times when molesters are given a pass for a number of reasons. Fame could well be one. Priests got away with this because, well, they're priests, they're supposed to be trusted. Any other type of authority or community central person is subject to that. On the other hand, sure maybe he was targeted he had a lot of money and he was weird, and he did seem to want to be around kids a lot. It's possible that got taken advantage of.

Indisputably - whatever the case - my kid would not have spent the night there. "Dad, can I sleep over at -ANY adult man- 's house alone? Maybe sleep in his bed."
Smed: *without an iota of pause* "Hell no."

Whether it was Jackson doing the molesting or the parents trying to force money from him, wherever the fault lay, if it lay anywhere - the kids were exploited.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:38 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


It was weird today. Everyone in the office was talking about his death. The guy in the cubical next to me played Michael Jackson all day long. I didn't mind. Even though I hadn't sought out Jackson's music since I was a youth, and really can't remember the last time before today I've heard one of his songs in passing, I was struck with just how good his music is. Okay, there were some turds in there too, but he created so many amazing songs, I can't really fault a few bad ones.

I grew up listening to Michael Jackson - I even had the original Thriller album on vinyl. Even when I grew out of fandom for him, I still heard his music on the radio or saw him on tv. He may have become a joke in recent years, but he was still hovering in the background, making headlines of tabloids and gossip rags.

And now he's gone. This icon that just was isn't anymore.


.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 4:51 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Why the hell don't they say right away that help is on the way?"

The 911 Operator doesn't dispatch. I'm betting the sequence goes Caller -> 911 operator -> Dispatcher -> EMT Crew and then back up the chain with confirmation. Only when the 911 operator has confirmation (and possibly a ETA) from the EMT crew do they say help is on the way. Otherwise if the EMT crew needs more directions the caller may already be off the line.
posted by Mitheral at 4:53 PM on June 26, 2009


.
gone too soon
posted by 404 Not Found at 5:01 PM on June 26, 2009


I could not make myself write this more early, since my son was here and he does not even know MJ.
So here it is my first and only “. “ for MJ.

When I was 9, my parents divorced and I blamed myself. We moved far way from my hometown and all I knew, to be with my mom. Her new husband told me to listen to J5 instead of the crap I was listening to then. From Ben to Billie Jean a dream was born in my head. My dad was not there but MJ was, in my fantasy.

Moved to my dad, back Home. Dad joined a cult. The world was coming to an end and the leader might as well make me his “wife”. I was 12. My stepmom and -sister left us before. My dad knew what was going on and told me he would pick me up as soon as he could. All left, but MJ was there, save in my daydreams.

So shit came and went in my life, manic depressive dad, step mother, my own mother, my brothers and sisters, they all came and left, but MJ stayed. When I was 18, I got raped by a tour-busdriver. I did not go to the police. I was worth F*** all, did not know I deserved a breath, and I had it coming right? This piece of crap that was me only lived by a fantasy called Michael Jackson. I was a good fan. Die-hard as they said.

Then one day I stood at the train bridge in Koln, Germany. I looked down at the Hyatt hotel with 400+ fans infront of it and realised that at least 200 of them needed MJ like I did. I needed him, to breath, live and eat but most of all to forget about my life.

But me, was someone worth living for. It was about time to make a life of my own and I said goodbye to the whole fan-thing. I got depressed, nearly lost my life, but right now I am a, almost healed me.

My son is 7. He had no clue whom Michael Jackson was. Never played his music anymore, do not want my son near him. To much smoke, maybe no fire, but the smoke, the courtcases kept me away.
Yesterday he died. Yesterday my old daydream died. Yesterday my escapade route died.

Thank you Mr. Jackson, for keeping me sane with your daily BS. The problems with your skin-colour, your nose, your sexuality, made my problems look small. I can not say I love you anymore, but you do deserve to rest in peace.

.
posted by kudzu at 5:08 PM on June 26, 2009 [13 favorites]


.
posted by PigAlien at 5:35 PM on June 26, 2009


I'm surprised by how sad I feel about this. Michael Jackson always seemed so damaged to me. I'd heard he was raised as a Jehovah's Witness (I was too, but that's where the similarities end as I'm a talentless hack, wasn't abused and am neither rich nor famous) and that made me feel like I could relate to a sliver of his struggles. To me he always seemed to be reaching for something, for some sort of peace outside of himself, and it seemed like he always fell short and always was ridiculed for not being whole. I don't know if the many, many accusations against him are true. I hope they're not, both for his loved ones and for the children at the center of those controversies.

Anyway, I've really enjoyed this thread and the post from many members remembering their experiences of listening to and watching Michael Jackson when they were kids. It's nice reading about the shared cultural experiences of strangers. I don't think it's narcissitic. So thank you, Mefites, for sharing.
posted by Maisie at 6:05 PM on June 26, 2009


Oh kudzu, I'm so sorry about what happened to you, about what you had to survive. I'm glad you made it out of that pain alive and moved to hear it was your being able to hold on to the music and fantasy companionship of Michael Jackson as some sort of stability that kept you going.

I'm glad you were able to make a life of your own and are working on your healing.
posted by nickyskye at 6:18 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Now that I'm done being pissed off at fashionably-contrarian indie geeks, I guess I can talk about what MJ was to me personally. I wasn't a fan when he was at his height of popularity, I was pretty young when Thriller came out, and his first album to drop after I was more aware of music was Bad, which I didn't and still don't really like (Smooth Criminal is a great song, other than that not so much). For most of my life, he was "Wacko Jacko", and I ignorantly dismissed his music as pop fluff much as people in this very thread are still doing. Then later in life, when I was much more clueful about music, I was able to reevaluate Off The Wall, Thriller, and his earlier J5 stuff and realize how amazingly great it was. Any DJ will tell you, nothing fills a dance floor more than something off those first two post-J5 albums. Within the genre of R&B-dance-pop, there was never anyone greater.

I've always been conflicted on the molestation allegations: there was certainly something unsavory about his relationships with children, but his accusers always seemed pretty unsavory as well, frankly. They seemed like they were only out for big money, and Michael was just an easy target because he was so "weird" (and as you may or may not know, all the pre-molestation "weirdness" like the hyperbaric chamber, the Elephant Man's bones, and all that, was planted by MJ himself and his people and was never close to true. Michael was a fan of PT Barnum, and wanted to use some of the same tricks to keep his name in the press constantly). Mostly, though, I just feel sorry for him. As my father said when we were talking about his death yesterday: "the poor bastard never had a chance". He never had a real life like you and I have, had very few actual friends, and just had a really sad life from birth to death. All the money and fame never brought him happiness. He mutilated his own face because he thought it might make people like him more. He was surrounded by sycophants and yes-men who were more concerned with keeping the gravy train on the rails than getting help for a clearly troubled man. His death may have even been caused by a quack doctor who was more concerned with getting paid for shooting him up with dope than medical ethics. Death was probably the only thing that could bring him peace.
posted by DecemberBoy at 6:25 PM on June 26, 2009 [7 favorites]


We spent some time last night at work brainstorming trying to come up with names of other pop culture figures that are alive today that even approach Jackson's level of iconic fame on an international level.

Our conclusion is that there really isn't anyone in entertainment currently at his level of fame. Madonna might come close, but she's not quite there. We agreed that Obama might be as close a person to Jackon's stature as is alive in any field right now.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:50 PM on June 26, 2009


"Michael was a fan of PT Barnum, and wanted to use some of the same tricks to keep his name in the press constantly"

Which, again, I suppose I feel like your dad, but c'mon, no one's got any suspicion here?
posted by Smedleyman at 6:53 PM on June 26, 2009


Michael Jackson is over capacity.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 6:54 PM on June 26, 2009


I'm fairly surprised by how sad I felt about his passing. Maybe it's because I'm old enough to remember the Jackson 5. Maybe it's because I remember when Elizabeth Taylor crowned him as the King of Pop. Maybe it's because as a little, little girl when I saw the preteen MJ giving an interview, I turned to my mom and said "He's not very happy, is he, Mommy?", and my mom said "Genius can be a lonely part to play.", and I never forgot that. I didn't forget it when he started getting plastic surgery so his dad would quit calling him "Big Nose". I didn't forget it when I heard about the horrific childhood imposed by parents that used their children as a gravy train. I didn't forget it when I saw him try to capture those magical moments of childhood that most of the rest of us had naturally. His was a tragic, almost Shakespearean life of absolute peaks and utter valleys in the landscape of absolute genius.

I weep for Michael because he gave so much, and the very least he deserves is a few moments of quiet grief.
posted by dejah420 at 6:57 PM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


Which, again, I suppose I feel like your dad, but c'mon, no one's got any suspicion here?

What? Suspicion of what? What are you talking about? Speak clearly, for fuck's sake.
posted by DecemberBoy at 6:59 PM on June 26, 2009


Our conclusion is that there really isn't anyone in entertainment currently at his level of fame. Madonna might come close, but she's not quite there. We agreed that Obama might be as close a person to Jackon's stature as is alive in any field right now.

I've been mulling over the same thing. Obama is pretty famous, but Michael has been famous for a long time, so it's hard to know how to work the comparison. The Pope is pretty famous to, but it feels different.

And I'm sitting here doing the calculus from a totally western viewpoint—there could be folks that are famous as shit to four billion people on the other side of the planet that just don't come to mind for me because they aren't big in the US, etc.

But, yeah, Michael Jackson managed to go past just being a pop start to being a sort of living logo, and I think that's a big part of it. It's like Mickey Mouse just had a fatal heart attack.

The headline that I kept wondering if I'd see yesterday was "MOST FAMOUS PERSON IN THE WORLD DIES".

Speak clearly, for fuck's sake.

Smed is getting on the Michael Lives bandwagon early is all.
posted by cortex at 7:15 PM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


no one's got any suspicion here?

Always. I was suspicious of Michael Jackson from the summer I was 9 years old. He had just reached peak fame and my friends were sending him fan letters. I didn't know any of his music because we didn't have a radio at home and only listed to Oldies in the car but I knew how famous he was. I had a sticker collection at the time. My prized sticker was a metallic gold generic bear character who had a tennis racket. It had the lettering "You are #1" below the bear. I sent that letter and a nice note that I wrote myself. I waited, and waited, and waited, but I never heard back. Not after a month, or two months, or two years, which is how long it took for Jim Davis of Garfield to write me back several years later.

When I worked as a temp in publicity (and then promotions) for Virgin Records in 1998-1999, I saw the bags in the mail room that were filled with tens-of-thousands of letters recently received for label artists. It was then that the reality of stardom first hit me and I felt okay about never receiving that letter back even though I will never forget how I felt about that. But as far as whether Michael Jackson was anything that he appeared to be in the media? I'm not convinced he knew who he was himself. I'm not even convinced that the people who worked with him the most closely knew who he was as much as they knew the image of him that needed to be sold for "Michael Jackson" to be what *it* was.

If there was any truth to Michael Jackson beyond an identity constructed by gargantuan forces of a twisted social reality, I don't know where it would be. Hopefully, he had a few people in his life who he was close enough to that they did. If not, then he should be mourned for what he lost rather than what we lost.
posted by mrmojoflying at 7:21 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


We agreed that Obama might be as close a person to Jackon's stature as is alive in any field right now.

I was thinking the exact same thing on my commute home yesterday. I immediately thought, "Shit, need to watch less Daily Show from now on", but it's true isn't it.
posted by the cydonian at 8:03 PM on June 26, 2009


This may not be true for younger people but for my generation Muhammad Ali would be as famous as Michael Jackson.
posted by rdr at 8:18 PM on June 26, 2009


Yep, kids' music. And here we have a whole generation, raised on television, who can't separate their own memories of who they are from their recollection of nice moments on a screen.

Michael Jackson Logic: he is not be held accountable for any of his actions- except his music, which was 'genius'. I was there too folks, and the hype swept all before it. The Thriller video hype, the hype surrounding his total lack of sense of responsibility for his own actions, the hype now, where his conditioned as children fans line up to experience a sense of community through a celebration of the life of a TV image.

The preciousness of it all! Little non-stories about watching TV. Fucking hell. It's so sad.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 8:24 PM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yep, kids' music. And here we have a whole generation, raised on television, who can't separate their own memories of who they are from their recollection of nice moments on a screen.

*blink* I seem to remember a lot of people who, when John Lennon was shot, talking about how they remembered being ten years old and seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and how mind-blowing that was.

Or when Orson Welles died, people talking about hearing War Of The Worlds on the radio.

Go back far enough and I wouldn't be surprised if you heard medieval peasants talking about how they remembered the first time they went to see a medieval mystery play when they were kids and how it blew their minds.

Look, those of you who hated Michael Jackson, that's perfectly valid. But other people liking a musician you hated is not necessarily Concrete And Binding Evidence Of The Cheapening And Deterioration Of Society As A Whole. It just means you and others disagree in opinions; and comparing that difference to the forces of entropy is a little extreme, methinks.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:32 PM on June 26, 2009 [9 favorites]


Dangerous was the first cassette tape I ever purchased with my own money.

.
posted by Industrial PhD at 8:35 PM on June 26, 2009


Industrial, I like that sentence with the implied Yoda word order. Dangerous it was.
posted by kid ichorous at 9:05 PM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Our conclusion is that there really isn't anyone in entertainment currently at his level of fame.

I expect that there will be some serious international hysteria when Paul McCartney dies, though I don't think it's going to cross quite so many generations as Michael Jackson. I mean, I'm 40 (and was 11 when John died), and I always feel like my peers and I are on the young end for hardcore Beatles fans. So I'm curious: do the kids today who are really serious about music still spend hours debating the merits of Rubber Soul vs. Revolver like we did in high school and college?
posted by scody at 9:19 PM on June 26, 2009


the hype surrounding his total lack of sense of responsibility for his own actions

Would you prefer that a dead man be held 'responsible' for his 'actions' with snark and ridicule?

Little non-stories about watching TV.

You only taunt what you don't understand. Happily for us now, you are not the first; sadly for future artists, you won't be the last.

My family had a TV only in 87, and started receiving MTV only in 94. This might surprise you, but the first time I watched the Thriller video was only last year; someone posted a link here on MeFi to a mix of Blood on the Dance Floor with Fred Astaire's visuals, and I couldn't help wonder what the original video looked like. I had, of course, listened to the song many times on cassette, CD and later on an mp3 player.

Yes, I did not watch the original video until I was 26, and well after I had given up on TV as a medium. And you know what? It still rocked.

MJ's dance has that rare quality of having its own internal language consistent within its own Weltanschauung. It is complete; art becomes sublime when it goes beyond being a combination of multiple people's efforts into being itself. In Thriller, as it is in other big MJ albums, it stops being about MJ-the-tormented-child (or MJ-the-creep, if you prefer) collaborating with John Landis The Director or Quincy Jones The Producer, and starts being about Thriller in itself; you don't see what went into it, you don't see a mix there. You see a single complete whole that exists by itself without referencing its creators.

In fact so complete is this whole, that when you introduce it to people who do not have the requisite cultural context about the creators, chances are that they'll enjoy it, perhaps mixing elements of their own culture to create a new bewildering new smorgasbord.

That is how art often works; art rises above its creators and becomes its own coherent self. Like others before him, MJ simply did not understand how it happened; he just knew it happened, he knew when it happened. He apparently tried hard to replicate the conditions that created it, first with the campy larger-than-life persona, then with trying mimic a childhood, by creating a Disneyland-like ranch and then with all those eyebrow-raising antics with kids, and now apparently with over-exhaustion in preparing himself for his London show-- but he just couldn't. The qi is not under his control, it never was under his control. It never is under anyone's control; to control the frenzy is to deny its power, and to buy into mediocrity.

One of Advaita's core tenets is that we see this life-giving force seperate from the person, and respect it while admonishing the person's own quirks and follibles, perhaps learn from them while we're at it. My conscience is clear; I haven't met the man, I don't know about him. I've seen his art; I respect the talent that led him to create it.
posted by the cydonian at 9:30 PM on June 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


A famous person has died
posted by Bonzai at 9:37 PM on June 26, 2009 [7 favorites]


I was born at the tail end of 1958 and have always been aware of Michael Jackson as a kid growing up at the same time as me, my friends and I making up dance routines to ABC and The Love You Save, getting our first apartments and MTV while Billie Jean was in constant rotation. My mother is the same age as Elizabeth Taylor, also a child star, and she has followed her in with the same lifelong interest.

Michal Jackson, Madonna and Prince were all born within weeks of each other and all have the same larger than life quality, morphing past human into some charicature of superstar. I don't see this happening again because of the fractured nature of the music business. Everything is niche marketed, there is no longer a top ten radio format that everyone knows with a countdown top ten at ten that transcends race and class.

What a sad person. I watched a little TV last night, part of the ABC Nightline Special and it was just pathetic to see Michael walking through stores just pointing at expensive crap and having it sent to his house in some strange display of wealth and power that just was so overwhelmingly sad. I hope his children can get a chance at a normal life.

.
posted by readery at 9:54 PM on June 26, 2009


The preciousness of it all! Little non-stories about watching TV. Fucking hell. It's so sad.

Stories about where we were and what we were doing when we saw or heard something important. Stories full of affection or nostalgia, mixed with confusion about our feelings for the man Michael Jackson became. Stories about being human.

I'll take that over your misanthropic, disrespectful (to the people here), bitter contempt any day.
posted by rtha at 10:01 PM on June 26, 2009 [13 favorites]


If there was any truth to Michael Jackson beyond an identity constructed by gargantuan forces of a twisted social reality, I don't know where it would be.

On a much smaller scale, and in less public ways, you could say this about anyone. That, to me, is the 'truth to Michael Jackson' that's worth reflecting on.

As for whether he was a child molester or not, the fact is, as much as your intuition or mine may say he was, no matter how much he might have seemed to fit some psychological profile, the fact is, he might not have been. Unless you were one of his victims, you don't really know. This is not an expression of opinion; it's an epistemological reality. The world is full of opportunistic people who might have had every incentive to view Jackson's eccentric habits as their golden ticket. On the other hand, there are good reasons to suspect that Jackson may himself have been a victim of sexual abuse as a child, and the evidence is strong that abuse victims are likelier than the general population to become abusers themselves. Still, what if he struggled with sexually abusive compulsions stemming from the sexual abuse in his own past, but never actually yielded to them?

In some ways, the true meaning of the latter part of MJ's life story hinges absolutely on the question of whether he was really guilty of the accusations leveled against him.

If so, then he truly was the monster he was so often derided for seeming to be. If not, then we were the monsters.

That's part of what's so compelling about his story.

I was all but convinced that Jackson was a pedophile up until the moment he died. Like others here, I mocked him at every opportunity and felt certain that he was guilty and deserved every ounce of scorn directed at him, if not worse.

But now that he's actually dead, it just doesn't seem like a time for hating that strange self-mutilating and neurotic man Michael Jackson became anymore; instead, it seems like a time to mourn the passing of that bright-faced and astonishingly talented child he used to be, who in any sort of sensible world should have found whatever he needed to avoid ending up the way he did.

I've said this many times in slightly different ways already, but it bears repeating: No matter what you believe, this Michael Jackson was no child molester. And he died yesterday, too. And I choose to mourn for that Michael Jackson now, because he still deserves to be mourned.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:29 PM on June 26, 2009 [12 favorites]


Stories about being human.

I'll take that over your misanthropic, disrespectful (to the people here), bitter contempt any day.


Quoted for truth. The ability to form, share, and empathize with cultural experiences is actually part of what it means to be a human. Those who insist on sneering at it inadvertently reveal quite a bit about themselves, and not much little about those whom they hold in such contempt.
posted by scody at 10:33 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


(guh: "not much little about those whom they hold..." I blame the fact that there's something in my eye, thanks to that youtube link saulgoodman posted.)
posted by scody at 10:38 PM on June 26, 2009


.
posted by schyler523 at 11:00 PM on June 26, 2009


Gamien: And here we have a whole generation, raised on television, who can't separate their own memories of who they are from their recollection of nice moments on a screen. The preciousness of it all! Little non-stories about watching TV. Fucking hell. It's so sad.

We have a generation raised on little Japanese domestic shrines to Mercury and Apollo, TV and internet, across which personal memory and interpersonal mythos are commingled. Not changed or cheapened so much from the Greeks. The quality of this whole arrangement lies, as you've correctly thrown it, at the feet of the artists. What are you doing about that?
posted by kid ichorous at 11:10 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I didn't feel much about his death until actually listening to disc2 of the HIStory album. It for some reason just feels like a much more real album in terms of emotion.

Even then I just felt more of a platonic I guess sense of loss... Then one of the most random things happened; I went to the Michael Jackson forums where the main title is "Remembering Michael Jackson. Share your memory."

I have no idea why, but that just triggered all of the waterworks. I didn't even read any of the posts, just the post title.


god fucking damnit

.
posted by agress at 11:18 PM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Smed is getting on the Michael Lives bandwagon early is all.

Oh, OK. Well, maybe we'll see his collaboration with Tupac Shakur pretty soon.

"I wrote this song a long tiiiiime ago!"
"Shamon!"
"A real long tiiiime ago!"
"EEE-HEEE!"
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:52 AM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I went to school with the impersonator mentioned in this article. As MJ radically changed his appearance I wondered what he would do...but it looks like he's had his own plastic surgery.
posted by brujita at 7:24 AM on June 27, 2009


Reading up on the extent to which Michael Jackson's affinity for young children (I am purposefully taking no position on whether Michael himself was a pedophile) was enabled by those who wanted a "meal ticket" reminded me of nickyskye's comment about the darker side of Joseph Cornell, and how it was exploited by those who wished to enjoy the fruits of his labor.
posted by The Confessor at 8:43 AM on June 27, 2009


.
posted by ktoad at 9:50 AM on June 27, 2009


Jackson’s tour to become tribute concert -- "Madonna among possible high-profile singers to perform in place of pop star."
posted by ericb at 11:51 AM on June 27, 2009


.
I want you back
posted by obloquy at 12:51 PM on June 27, 2009


Oh, hai, He Lied.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:24 PM on June 27, 2009


There's something severely unlikeable about the later Michael Jackson. Wether it's the putting himself as a super-hero in videos, having crowds scream his name in songs, etc. Or the way he sold 750 million albums world wide and still came up short. Or just the fakeness of his treacly songs.

Still, his death is rather momentous to me. And I attribute that to the fact that I was young and susceptible during his era of biggest succes. Somehow the fact that he was everywhere in all the media and branding made me think that he really was something special.
To me MJ is the pinnacle of global marketing. And the talent that he had takes second place to that.
RIP MJ, cunning business man and marketeer.
posted by jouke at 1:27 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm trying to find the original source for Chandler's retraction, but all I'm getting are different blogs linking to each other. Who did he allegedly make this confession to?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:30 PM on June 27, 2009


Presumably he confessed it to Jeff Goldblum while basejumping onto Harrison Ford's yacht.
posted by cortex at 1:32 PM on June 27, 2009


That's impossible - Jeff Goldblum died hunting pirates off the coast of Somalia.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:36 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Very sad. Rest in peace, Michael.

I hadn't thought much about Michael Jackson lately before his death, but looking back, it's amazing to realize how much his music played a part in my grade school memories. Thriller was one of the first records I ever bought and it was the soundtrack for my 10th birthday party. I remember learning to do the moonwalk and the choreography for "Beat It" in dance class. The world premiere of the "Thriller" video was a huge Event - I think every kid in the class watched it. We may still have a copy of "The Making Of Thriller" on video somewhere.
posted by SisterHavana at 2:11 PM on June 27, 2009


A friend of mine from high school was with Michael the night before he died. She was supposed to be on this London tour as part of his crew. She's devastated and no one is telling them anything. There's a lot of unfounded speculation at this point. More details soon.
posted by ColdChef at 4:06 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


A first time my wife wants to add a comment to a Metafilter post. She wanted to add she remembers him as a genius and no one can match his style as a dancer. She can't understand why he wanted to always change from who he was. He wanted love and he had that from the millions of people already for his talent.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:30 PM on June 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Word from L.A.: he died from a deadly mix (or, some combination of) of Demerol, Oxycontin, Xanax and/or Zoloft. Factor in: dehydration, exhaustion and anorexia.
posted by ericb at 6:37 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Steve Martin: My Attempt at Moonwalking
posted by inconsequentialist at 6:38 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


He wanted love and he had that from the millions of people already for his talent.

The love of "millions" can never match that of "The One."
posted by ericb at 6:38 PM on June 27, 2009


Oh, hai, He Lied.

That confession is a hoax.
posted by dgaicun at 2:48 AM on June 28, 2009


@Andrew Sullivan:"He was a musical genius; and he was an abused child ... he was used brutally and callously for money, and clearly imprisoned by a tyrannical father... He had no real childhood and spent much of his later life struggling to get one. He was spiritually and psychologically raped at a very early age ... Watching him change his race, his age, and almost his gender, you saw a tortured soul seeking ... a normal life. "

Michael Jackson's story sounds an awful lot like this one and just about every film that Todd Haynes has done since 1987. In fact, it's an apotheosis.

If anyone on the blue knows Haynes or how to contact him, I beg you to share this thread with him and encourage him to do a Jackson biopic. Sure, the legal hurdles are there and it may have to be executed á clef, but it's all there -- the sexual transgression (Velvet Goldmine, 1998), the self-loathing celebrity (Superstar, 1987), the hypochondria (Safe, 1995), the transitory identity I'm Not There, 2007) and the miscegenation (Far from Heaven, 2002). There could be multiple Michaels competing for self-actualization, or just Charles Foster Kane looking for his lost childhood sled. The MJ story is both epic and petit-histoire. Just don't let Spike or Oliver Stone get to it first.

.
posted by vhsiv at 4:10 AM on June 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


And fuck it, I wouldn't mind seeing a Stone or Lee version of the MJ story, either. The past 50 years have been intricate and varied. I'm sure that any of these filmmakers could find a way to do him justice. Michael was a product of his times.

</ not an MJ sychopant but also not a hater>

posted by vhsiv at 4:33 AM on June 28, 2009


Like a comet
Blazing 'cross the evening sky
Gone too soon

Like a rainbow
Fading in the twinkling of an eye
Gone too soon

Shiny and sparkly
And splendidly bright
Here one day
Gone one night

Like the loss of sunlight
On a cloudy afternoon
Gone too soon

Like a castle
Built upon a sandy beach
Gone too soon

Like a perfect flower
That is just beyond your reach
Gone too soon

Born to amuse, to inspire, to delight
Here one day
Gone one night

Like a sunset
Dying with the rising of the moon
Gone too soon

posted by 404 Not Found at 4:46 AM on June 28, 2009


Okay -- remember the inmates in the Phillippenes who did that video to "Thriller"?

They've just released their Michael Jackson tribute.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:14 AM on June 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Doctor tells cops about Jackson’s final moments -- "Cardiologist who was with star when he died is not a suspect, police say."
posted by ericb at 8:21 AM on June 28, 2009


Aww EmpressCallipyos, that video made me cry. I wanted to laugh and make fun of such histrionic shenanigans and crescendos of sentiment, the delightfully Filipino addition of prisoners in nun drag was particularly amusing, but it was actually very touching.
posted by nickyskye at 8:28 AM on June 28, 2009


That confession is a hoax.

Go figure. Thanks.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:42 AM on June 28, 2009


The Daily Mail (I know) has an article about Jackson's final sad days. A friend of mine commented last week on the news item about 30,000 crystals sewn onto one of the outfits for the upcoming concerts, and I said something like, As if he'll show up to even one of them.

Despite Jackson being my contemporary, I can't feel much more than generalized sadness over this; and no sense of surprise. The surprise would have been if he'd been able to perform at all.
posted by jokeefe at 12:19 PM on June 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Everyone will remember where they were when they found out Michael died.
I was standing in my dining room bringing in groceries
when my BFF called to tell me.

My first self-bought record was a 45 of Don't Stop Til You Get Enough
The B side was Working Day and Night
I bought it with my First Communion money at KMart.

I wanted to share this endearing cartoon that I found online:
Neverland by Jaime Hitchcock.
I had not known of her before this comic
I found her via twitter search #michaeljackson
If you like what she did right there - leave her a comment?
Let her know?

Of course I vented over at my corner of the web
and even broke out a picture of my bedroom in 1985
PLASTERED to the ceiling with MJ.
My mother was mortified, but tolerated it
(as long as I closed my door when guests were visiting)

I also did a quick video of my We Are The World music box
that I will never sell.

MJ items I have owned that I wish I still had:
Life Magazine about we are the world
That has the sheet music for the song
along the bottom of every page.

My favorite cereal was ET cereal.
(Think Reese's cereal but made of Es and Ts)
I sent away via the back of the box (and a few proof-of-purchases)
for Michael narrating ET the movie - vinyl with a poster of him and ET.

Metafilter is a great community
and I loved reading all of your comments.
Yes, he stopped when he had enough.

@elpapacito TY for posting that great link to YT interviews
@cortex TY for linking your now dead post and for allowing this one to BE.


I was the only girl who could do the moonwalk
in my neighborhood and I even integrated the turn.
posted by will wait 4 tanjents at 8:36 PM on June 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Jackson’s tour to become tribute concert -- "Madonna among possible high-profile singers to perform in place of pop star."

Time to cash in, folks. Ka-ching. "Artists" who can't sell records anymore gotta ride this bandwagon to the end of the trail. Tribute, my ass.

That Daily Mail piece is something else, by the way, even if it's 10 percent true. Makes you wonder about why no one has even speculated on one very obvious possible cause of his physical decline and death. Horses, hoofbeats, and all that.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:02 PM on June 28, 2009


Note: I posted this comment regarding Michael's Jackson's face in another thread but reading of the Daily Mail reminded me that perhaps it would be better to say it here:

Seeing this comparison again makes me sad.

If only.
posted by bwg at 12:49 AM on June 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Janet Jackson Makes Emotional Tribute At BETs.
posted by ericb at 8:21 AM on June 29, 2009


Jackson’s mom files for custody of his children.
posted by ericb at 9:37 AM on June 29, 2009


Jackson’s mom files for custody of his children.

Oh, yeah, absolutely--there's a woman who's shown she can protect a child.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:21 AM on June 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


In the request to take over the children’s estate, Jackson, 79, lists its value as “unknown.”

Gross.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:24 AM on June 29, 2009


The National Enquirer prophesy.
posted by nickyskye at 1:35 PM on June 29, 2009


Oh dear lord, they cannot let those poor children go to Joe Jackson's house. Can you imagine the torture he'll put them through? As horrible and cruel as he was to his own kids, I can't even envision what terrible things he would do to these kids who may not even be his grandchildren. Those poor kids have been through so much, the least they deserve is a childhood where they're wanted for something other than as cash cows and target practice.

From Joe Jackson's wiki page, here is what Michael had to deal with growing up:

Michael Jackson claimed that from a young age he was physically and emotionally abused by his father, enduring incessant rehearsals, whippings and name-calling, but also contends that his father being a strict disciplinarian played a large part of his success.[5][6] In one altercation — later recalled by Marlon Jackson - Joseph held Michael upside down by one leg and "pummeled him over and over again with his hand, hitting him on his back and buttocks."[7] Joseph would also trip up or push his male children into walls. One night while Michael was asleep, Joseph climbed into his room through the bedroom window. Wearing a fright mask, he entered the room screaming and shouting. Joseph said he wanted to teach his children not to leave the window open when they went to sleep. For years afterward, Michael suffered nightmares about being kidnapped from his bedroom.[7]

Michael first spoke openly about his childhood abuse in a 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey. He said that during his childhood he often cried from loneliness and would sometimes get sick or start to vomit upon seeing his father.[8][9][10][11] In Michael's other high profile interview, Living with Michael Jackson (2003), the singer covered his face with his hand and began crying when talking about his childhood abuse.[7] Jackson recalled that Joseph sat in a chair with a belt in his hand as he and his siblings rehearsed and that "if you didn't do it the right way, he would tear you up, really get you."[12]


No...those kids deserve a chance at a real life, and that is something they'll never get in the "Jackson Compound".
posted by dejah420 at 2:01 PM on June 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


I was just talking to a coworker who I haven't seen since the news of this broke. She was actually a bit upset, and I consoled her by pointing out that since we weren't there, there is no reason to assume that this isn't just some really complicated hoax. "Maybe," I said, "Michael is like Elvis and he faked his own death so that he could live the rest of his days out of the limelight in Rio or Buenos Aires".

I was joking, but it did make me wonder how long it will be before we start seeing Jackson sightings.
posted by quin at 2:20 PM on June 29, 2009


I was joking, but it did make me wonder how long it will be before we start seeing Jackson sightings.

OTOH, I fully expected a "Princess Diana faked her death" legend to pop up at some point, complete with spurious sightings, but it never did, at least not at any appreciable level.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:27 PM on June 29, 2009


The National Enquirer prophesy.
posted by nickyskye at 1:35 PM on June 29


The Enquirer does better investigative journalism than the New York Times, so this isn't all that shocking.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:29 PM on June 29, 2009


"RIP Michael Jackson. May he live on forever in our hearts and pelvic thrusts." -Nolan, a friend of mine.

.
posted by one teak forest at 2:30 PM on June 29, 2009


Well. After a week-end spent in London with other "die hard" fans like myself (and not ashamed of it), I have returned to this thread. I am moved by the outpouring of many people's feelings, and the surprisingly low amount of snark and "kiddie fiddler" jokes.

I have been generally moved by the world's reaction, tho we fans always knew this was exactly how it was gonna go. They would hound him to death and then start sobbing once he was gone. I fucking hate that abusive bastard Joe but he did very rightly say on the BET Awards red carpet "I wish you'd shown him this kind of respect when he was alive".

Unfortunately I do not believe in heaven so don't have the satisfaction of thinking he might be sitting on his cloud and seeing this. I am glad though that I was part of the "MJ family" - I was there to tell him I loved him when he was alive. And yes I was one of those freaks who'd stand outside his hotel screaming "I love you" up to his balcony. Again, not ashamed in the least.

As kudzu says above, MJ, for many of us, was a dreamworld away from our daily sorrows (and he certainly had an above average amount of fans with, well, issues of their own). I have made countless friends through him, and had some of the most intense and amazing experiences thanks to the guy. I miss him endlessly, as do all of my friends.

We will, eventually, get used to a world without MJ in it, but I know it will never be the same. R.I.P. my love, my hero, my inspiration, my King. I will forever be your Citizen of Pop.
posted by ClarissaWAM at 3:14 PM on June 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Subject of Pop.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 9:31 PM on June 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


*cough* Don't disparage the MJ-boards username I've used since about 2001.
I mean come on, how does that sound? "Subject of Pop"!
"So what did you write your dissertation about?" - "About the subject of Pop!"
So I shall remain Citizen, even if it may be technically incorrect.
posted by ClarissaWAM at 10:56 AM on June 30, 2009


Actually, come to think about it, it's not incorrect at all!

MJ is the King of the Land of Pop. I may be the subject of MJ, but I am a citizen of the Land of Pop, just as I am a citizen of Luxembourg, and the subject of Luxembourg's Grand Duke, if you will. *nit pick*
posted by ClarissaWAM at 11:00 AM on June 30, 2009


Jackson's body to be on public view starting Friday

Meanwhile, friends and fans in New York paid tribute at a public event at Harlem's famed Apollo Theater, where Jackson appeared as a child. An estimated 3,000 people people circled the block around the theater waiting to get in; some of them spent all night there. They sang their Jackson favorite songs and danced in the street. ...

According to a statement of his financial condition prepared by a Washington accounting firm, Jackson had $567.6 million in assets, including his Neverland Ranch, his share of the Sony/ATV Music Publishing catalog that includes the rights to songs by the Beatles, and an assortment of cars, antiques and collectibles.

The origin of Michael Jackson's dance moves? The Little Prince (1974), the role of Snake was played by Bob Fosse. Watch Fosse moonwalk at 5:00
posted by nickyskye at 1:33 PM on June 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


With due respect to Mr. Fosse's considerable talents, that is the worst moonwalk I've ever seen.
posted by cortex at 1:43 PM on June 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


With due respect to Mr. Fosse's considerable talents, that is the worst moonwalk I've ever seen.

That's one awkward misstep for (a) man, one sweet slide backward for mankind.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:48 PM on June 30, 2009


I think I've hit some personal apotheosis of procrastination, but just to note: U2 is playing the first show of the new tour (scheduled to last for approximately the next decade, but anyway): the Twitter stream (and you-are-there Flickr uploads and insta-YT clips with horrific sound) indicate that they played Angel of Harlem about 45 minutes ago and dedicated it to Jackson.

I am now going to throw my modem out the window.
posted by jokeefe at 2:24 PM on June 30, 2009


Monoculture's last dance, from Cat and Girl, lead to this sad/odd quote:

I went into five stores in a row that were all playing “Billie Jean” and thought “Why does somebody have to die for this to happen?”

Also: was Michael Jackson the last cultural element that so many people shared?
posted by filthy light thief at 2:29 PM on June 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


MJ is the King of the Land of Pop.

And I am the King of the Land of Snap Crackle. Bow before me.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:56 PM on June 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


OK! magazine tribute cover features Jackson's dead body.
"In an attempt to capitalize on the death of a celebrity, OK! magazine has paid a reported $500,000 for the exclusive rights to run a photo of Michael Jackson's dead body on the cover of their 'Official Tribute Issue.'

....Gawker is reporting that OK! owner Richard Desmond purchased the photo against the wishes of most of the magazine's staff, and that he plans on shutting down the magazine if it doesn't become more financially viable soon. The magazine's newsstand sales have dragged lately, and account for half of total sales. OK! also came under fire earlier this year for their tribute issue following the death of Reality TV star Jade Goody."
posted by ericb at 1:29 PM on July 1, 2009


"OK! Magazine is coming underfire from advertisers and the entertainment world for publishing what it claims to be the last ever photograph of late pop superstar Michael Jackson on its cover." *
posted by ericb at 1:32 PM on July 1, 2009


Strange-- the ET photograph and the one of the cover of OK are the same-- the OK one has just been rotated so it looks like Jackson is sitting up rather than lying on a stretcher. If I had just paid 500K for that, I'd be annoyed.

Also, the vulturefest, while predictable, is sick-making.
posted by jokeefe at 3:24 PM on July 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


OK! also came under fire earlier this year for their tribute issue following the death of Reality TV star Jade Goody.

I think the outrage over that one was because the tribute issue came out the week before she died.
posted by minifigs at 6:10 AM on July 2, 2009


AEG (promoter of the planned tour) releases video of Jackson rehearsing two days before his death. Gives a very different picture than that of the "frail old man" described by the Daily Mail article linked above.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:38 PM on July 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


This article is astonishing. Maybe worth a FPP of its own.
posted by mippy at 4:18 AM on July 3, 2009 [7 favorites]


mippy, I was several paragraphs in before I figured out the article wasn't by the guy who played R2D2.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:42 AM on July 3, 2009


Thanks for that link, mippy. The article was interesting and quite amusing.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:03 AM on July 3, 2009


Officials Find Diprivan in Michael Jackson's Home -- "Police Found Risky Anesthetic Diprivan Among Other Drugs."

Earlier this week:

Nurse: Sleep-deprived Michael Jackson begged for sedative Diprivan.

Jackson Nurse to Michael: "This Is Not Safe Medicine."
posted by ericb at 10:01 AM on July 3, 2009


From one of the linked articles above:

"Propofol Poses Dangers to Abusers

One main reason for this, he said, is the speed with which the drug has its effect.

"It rapidly induces unconsciousness and apnea," Olshansky said. "People stop breathing within seconds of being given the drug." "

This is completely anecdotal, but when my best friend was in the hospital on a respirator, there were several bottles (maybe three) of Propofol on the side of the machine (if I remember correctly, they were kept cold, but I could be wrong). I was spending maybe 8-14 hours a day in the ICU with him and the nurse warned me the first day that I should not try to steal it to get high because one needs a respirator when they are taking it. They did just let it sit there, but she warned me more than once. It was amazing to see how it worked - they would stop the drip for a half hour or so, my friend would regain consciousness, and then they would start it and turn back on the machine to breathe for him.

But this was serious business. It was nothing to play around with.
posted by Tchad at 6:54 PM on July 3, 2009


Hours of Jackson rehearsal video exists -- "Source says virtually every run-through of ‘This Is It’ tour videotaped."

Ka-ching.
posted by ericb at 10:48 AM on July 5, 2009


That article that mippy posted above is really heartbreaking. Wow.
posted by elfgirl at 11:51 AM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Did MJ compose the music to Sonic the Hedgehog 3? (1, 2)
posted by painquale at 4:02 PM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Update from Paul McCartney on those rumors of Michael Jackson leaving the Beatles catalog to Sir Paul in his will. Also gives a little more detail on the long and winding road (sorry) that the catalog rights have gone through over the decades.
posted by scody at 11:18 AM on July 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ill Doctrine on Jackson's Death. And it is fucking awesome.
posted by chunking express at 6:25 AM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


A few Mikejack tribute mixes:

The Rub (not posthumous)
DJ Jaycee - MJ: The Soulful Years
Beat Junkies - MJ We Love You
Chris Read - MJ: The Legacy
posted by box at 9:27 AM on July 14, 2009


"He wanted to be a fairy tale, and he got to be one, but you can't be a fairy tale while you're alive." - Cat and Girl's latest comic is .. nice. I can't think of any other word to describe it.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:36 PM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just rewatched the William Gibson interwiew "No Maps For These Territories" (2000) and this caught my attention:
When it was confirmed, that Michael Jackson was going to marry Elvis Presley's daughter, a good friend of mine in the States faxed me and he simply said: This makes your job more difficult.

And I knew exactly what he meant. 'Cause something...a scenario that seemed to belong to the writings of the late Terry Southern was suddenly real. That "truth is stranger than fiction" factor keeps getting jacked up on us, on a fairly regular, maybe even exponential, basis. And I think that's something peculiar to our time. I don't think our grandparents had to live with that.
posted by Glee at 5:11 PM on July 15, 2009


MJ's hair-on-fire (Pepsi commercial) video clip surfaces
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:15 PM on July 15, 2009


Michael Jackson Dance Tribute (Stockholm).
posted by ericb at 12:29 PM on July 25, 2009


« Older 1983 Ilsington Squatter Punk Documentary...  |  The Fantastical Capybara (Via)... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments