Friday, June 26, 2009

Brief thoughts on Michael Jackson

I can't not dance to Thriller.

Everytime I hear it, I wait with embarrassed anticipation through the 30 second, atmospheric laden opening, for those first synthesizer chords, hoping I can stop myself from popping my hip to the side and throwing my arms up in the air (maybe grabbing my crotch), but knowing I won't.

My first "real" album was Thriller on vinyl, had an ill-concieved perm in elementary school that made me look like him, won a local adio contest for impersonating him by singing "Beat It."

I never idolized him, never went to one of his concerts, and I didn't quite know how to reconcile his later image with his Thriller heyday. I felt guilty sometimes enjoying his music because of his alleged crimes, felt guilty about passing judgement on an uber-superstar who no one, least of all me, could really ever know as a human being.

As such, I can't really mourn him. We see "famous" people every day, they are saturated into our culture, but they aren't real to us, though they may seem so. They're like someone from a history book, or are like a piece of furniture in a room. Something part of the landscape but not really interacting with it.

I don't mean to minimize the pain his family is going through right now. Death is always tragic, and especially when it comes unexpectly and to one so young.

But the best I can do for him is to dance. Which is what I've been doing all along.