Is This It?
Every generation has its icons. Some are worshipped like deities; their every move is chronicled and criticized in the tabloids, until the stardom so desperately sought becomes a curse and the fall from grace so painful. We’ve lost many superstars, but the loss of Michael Jackson was different—it was like losing a family member. We knew as children that Michael Jackson was a star. Sitting on beanbag chairs, we watched the Jackson Five cartoons and listened to “Rockin’ Robin,” “I’ll Be There,” and “Ben” over and over again on the eight-track tape player. As teenagers we thought Michael having a pet chimpanzee named Bubbles was the coolest thing. We’d watch the Jackson Five perform on Soul Train, and looked for good dancers. But Michael was a dancing machine. Who didn’t look ridiculous trying to emulate his patented Moonwalk? Who didn’t buy some vinyl when “Bad” was released? As a young man, I didn’t know what MTV was, until I watched “Thriller” and “Billie Jean.” As parents, our technosavvy children—over our objections—used Napster to fill our iPods with HIStory.
Those who loved Michael knew weirdness was just part of Michael. Neverland was perhaps a product of Michael’s attempt to relive his childhood—a little strange. A marriage to Lisa Marie Presley, and one very awkward kiss—getting stranger. Allegations of touching or sleeping with young boys, and millions paid to settle such claims—beyond strange. The metamorphosis of his skin, nose, and cheekbones—strange ...