My Two Cents On A Sad Day

On Tuesday, when I read the news about Ed McMahon, I thought it was sad. My feelings were sort of mixed bag. I felt sad that someone had died. I felt sad that when older celebs die, despite their past successes, newer generations don't give it the attention it really deserves...a few days in the news and we move on. I felt the same way about Estelle Getty and Bea Arthur. I was scared because my own grandfather just turned 80 and Ed McMahon was 86. And, I felt like he had a seemingly good life and his time had come.

I, also, thought "who's next?" since these things always seem to come in threes.

Then, yesterday after school I sat down at my computer to check email, and AOL had posted the news about Farrah Fawcett. I fully admit that I didn't really follow her in life. I wouldn't call myself a big fan, but again I felt sad. Being in the medical field, I know what a horrible death she had. She was relatively young, only 62. It also occurred to me how she was so beautiful, and so many people wanted to be her...but how no matter how beautiful or famous you are, there are bigger things at work sometimes.

I emailed Mr. K and told him, and he said he had heard it on the way to work that morning. I put on the TV and watched some tribute specials to her which upset me a little. All of these media people were saying such wonderful things about her, which she deserved, but where were they when the tabloids said she was on drugs or looking so awful? Why do people only get respect after they are gone?
I asked Mr. K who he thought the third was going to be. He guessed Patrick Swayze. I guessed Liz Taylor. About fifteen minutes later, my friend Dave on Facebook posted that Michael Jackson had been rushed to the hospital. I got chills. Michael Jackson can't die was my first reaction. When reports did finally come in that he had passed, I cried. Again, I don't claim to be his biggest fan, but certainly I can appreciate the magnitude thst was the King of Pop. I had a Michael Jackson doll when I was five. I spent countless hours in front of my MTV mimicking Beat It and Billie Jean choreography. And, my all time favorite song EVER is We Are The World, to which I can perform as each individual singer. Don't ask, I won't show you.

My most overwhelming feeling, of course, was shock. Numbness. Unlike Ed and Farrah, Michael was so unexpected. It is difficult for me to make people understand, but I am thirty years old. I grew up with Michael Jackson. I don't know a world without Michael Jackson. And, so few stars have that magic, that brilliance, that makes them outshine all others...make them immortal. Princess Diana. Marilyn Monroe. Elvis Presley. Michael Jackson. All of them seem to be taken from us too soon. We never seem ready or able to let them go. But, maybe we are only destined to have them for a short time...since it only takes a short time for them to touch us.

Regardless of what you thought about him, there is no denying his impact on the world. This little boy from Gary, Indiana made people all over the world get up and dance. That is so powerful. There are so many people focusing on the wrong things right now. I think there are some things we should keep in mind when passing judgements. 1) None of were at Neverland Ranch. None of us know what happened with absolute certainty. 2) He was acquitted. And, none of us have the job of judging him or anyone else.

My personal feeling is that he was innocent. Having said that, do I think he behaved appropriately? No. But, think about his life. He became his family's bread and butter and the age of 5. What were you doing at 5? His father made fun of his insecurities in order to toughen him up. What do say to your children when they are scared? His father beat him, and you may not know that his dad was a former boxer. Were you beaten as a child? Did your dad have a mean right hook? He and his brothers weren't allowed to date because it was bad for business. What were you doing as a teenager? Nothing about this man's life was normal, ever. No one else in the world can appreciate that. Who wouldn't be a screwed up adult after that? Everyone in the world wanted something from him, including within his own family. We don't know what that's like. People today are in therapy for far less. Despite his enormous success, in many ways he never had a chance. In many ways, there was never any hope for him to be "normal". And, it doesn't surprise me that after the childhood he didn't have that he would try to buy later. You know how drug addicts and alcohols who start very young, say as teenagers...when they get sober as adults, its almost as if they start living again from where they stopped. It is almost like they stop maturing when they start using, the race stops, and when they get clean, and start running again...the rest of the world has past them by and they can never catch up. Isn't fame a drug?

I believe it is entirely possible that Michael Jackson truly was, in some ways, a child in a man's body. And, even though we can see why some of his behavior was unacceptable, like any child he could not. And finally, where were the parents of the children who claimed to be molested? This wasn't a regular case, he wasn't their uncle who got them alone in the basement, he wasn't a bad man who kidnapped them off the street. These parents dropped their kids off at his home. Would you let your kids stay there with a strange man? I wouldn't. I don't care who it is, my job is to protect my kids, and that is a completely stupid choice. But they did it. I'm sorry, but for me that screams extortion. And, if you had someone accusing you of something this awful, or had a problem you wanted to escape, and you had the ability to pay it to go away...wouldn't you? Another thing we miss here is that celebrities have people that advise them on decisions...what to wear, what to say...he clearly didn't have good people around him.

Lastly, as far as the new drug accusations. This reminds me so much of Judy Garland. She was another one who made money for so many. And, when she wanted to slow down or focus on herself, it wasn't an option. It wasn't good for business. It doesn't surprise me, especially with the new tour looming, that people around him would make it possible to push through fatigue or illness, or sadness. The show must go on, right? Again, this is something that none of us can appreciate. We get to call in sick or go away somewhere, he didn't. There was no "away" where he was unknown. He didn't get to not be The King of Pop for a day.

My bottom line is, at the end of the day, the world has lost one of the greatest entertainers it has ever know. There will never be another King of Pop. And, that is sad. So, like Ed and Farrah...be respectful. Michael Jackson wasn't just Michael Jackson. He was some one's son, some one's brother, some one's father, some one's uncle. He was a person, and that by itself deserves respect.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

well spoken. I couldn't agree more.