June 25, 2009 will forever be known as the month, day, and year the generation X era officially saw its end. Michael Jackson symbolized many things for many people. Memories were etched in stone and associated with the “King of Pop” among a slew of gen X’ers who grew up listening to his music. The aftermath of his 80’s pop icon status saw its share of controversy, but those of us who spent portions of our childhood staging aureate lip syncing concerts featuring an array of MJ hits, chose to look the other way when his personal life became a target of overwhelming scrutiny.
In recent days, fans (both past and present) from all over the world have indulged in a few rounds of nostalgia, why not jump on the band wagon?
It was 1983, and I was three years old. My two most prized possessions were my Shirt Tales record player and my “Beat It” single by the newly proclaimed “King of Pop,” Michael Jackson. I spent hours spinning my 33 1/3 record single while attempting to mock the break dancing moves of the students my mother brought home for her pseudo after school program.
Heartbreak occurred soon after when my father crushed the record responsible for my childhood ecstasy with his 6’3 frame. MJ’s crotch grabbing antics were not the least bit appealing to him, therefore no apology was necessary- but this was only a slight set back. A fellow pre-schooler had the same affinity for MJ as I and many other children had, so his parents invited the whole class over for a “Thriller” premier party, which by the way, resulted in tears of fear from some, and weeks of nightmares for others.
By the late 1980’s, my sisters and I were putting on elaborate bed to bed bouncing concerts featuring the entire “Thriller” album, an unequivocal ritual sure to annoy our parents. The final chapter summing up my love affair with MJ came in the 5th grade, when my teacher gave us a letter writing assignment. (5th grade, the perfect time to learn the refined techniques of letter writing.) It wasn’t just any letter writing assignment however, in a modernized twist, we were asked to write a “fan” letter to our favorite celebrity.
Three guesses….was your guess MJ? Of course it was! Needless to say, I never received any type of reply, which I expected, but it sure motivated me to learn how to write a letter in an eloquent manner!
As I got older, naturally I out grew my childhood icon, but I never stopped keeping tabs on him. It was hard not to after 1993 when his personal life turned into a media circus surrounding accusations of child molestation on his part. His life, and all he accomplished, changed dramatically after that, and the second molestation accusation in 2005 sealed his reclusive state.
None of us will ever know the truth behind the accusations, and at this point, is it really important? Given his own dose of childhood trauma, combined with his track on the fast lane to iconic super-stardom, it’s a wonder such speculations didn’t occur sooner.
What is important, is to remember that he was a human being just like everyone else, complete with real feelings- chaotic inner pain and sadness, if we’re speaking precisely. Too often we get sucked in to the glitz and glam of Hollywood, and these icons become phantasmagorical in the eyes of society. It’s unfortunate really, and quite possibly unavoidable because of the amount of joy these men and women bring into the lives of people residing in an otherwise mundane world. Still, I don’t believe balance is entirely unattainable, and perhaps the number of tragic deaths that have plagued Hollywood recently will change past behaviors-only time will tell.
Farewell Micheal, may you find the peace and happiness that eluded you in this life as you pass into the next….