PHOTO: How some of us looked when Michael Jackson was King.
How can I justify mourning Michael Jackson to those who tell me that everyday thousands of innocents die and no one makes a big deal about them. I am human, I can feel suffering, and I have oodles of empathy. Once in a great while I get my ass into gear and do volunteer work, putting my so-called money where my mouth is. And it is still my dream to one day spend a year someplace in this country or abroad, where I can do good, give back, and utilize my skills to help and teach others who need it. But back to Michael Jackson.
Why did so many people, including me, become glued to the tele just to watch him dance, sing, and perform across the decades, from behind so many masks? Because people like me--baby boomers -- grew into our adulthoods surrounded by MTV and what MJ brought to it, how he changed it; how he energized us. I did not know the many sufferers of this world who got sick and died each day, but I did know MJ. For ten years while tending bar, I watched him and a full generation of musicians that he influenced blast out of the television screens that hung right over the service station where I worked, and usually invaded by three-deep waitrons calling for Margaritas and Coronas. Michael was everywhere; the icon always making us glad, really really glad, we'd gotten out of bed that morning. He electrified a nation and a world. And now we are mourning because that is our way of giving tribute, by remembering who we were and what we were doing when he was dancing like an angel even as he was turning into a vampire.
But he seems so alive right now. . . With each new MJ story, especially those about his childhood and family, he seems to resurrect over and over again, come alive during the day and each night die a little, once again. He is a living dead thing. He is a thriller. For many of us, Michael Jackson is a continent. And that's the real reason we mourn his loss. He's a big deal to lose.
I highly suggest reading the 1993 GQ investigative journalism report about accusations leveled against Michael Jackson. It's riveting and revealing: