Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Rest in Peace, Michael

I don't mind sharing the limelight with Michael Jackson on my birthday. Really, I don't. I never liked being the center of attention anyway. It's funny to hear the various channels announcing the changes in tv coverage resulting from the preemption...things like Days of Our Lives are being moved around so as not to be missed. Never mind that REAL news has been preempted for the last two weeks in order to cover the MJ story. Not that I'm bitter. It's just an observation. And it's not preempting my birthday because I could turn it off any minute and walk out. Really, I could. I could stop watching if I wanted to.

Hi, my name is Gwynne, and I'm a closet Michael Jackson fan.

Actually, as I sit here watching the memorial, I am truly moved for the first time since his death. Maybe it took nearly two weeks of non-stop coverage for the feelings to finally sink in, or maybe it's the moving tributes offered by some at this service, but I have finally been beaten into submission. Okay, I agree, Michael was a pretty good performer. But honestly, I believe that he is in a better place, at long last, at peace. His work here on earth was done. I believe the 50-concert world tour might have killed him and his legacy. In his own words (if we are to believe half of what we hear), he was "done" and "better off dead." I don't say that out of hatred, or anger, or meanness. I truly believe that he is in a better place now. His story is at once magical and tragic. It's been a troubling story to watch play out, but one so fascinating that few could look away.

If I disregard the last quarter of his life, I have to admit that I was drawn in possibly as much as anyone who grew up with him. Well, almost. I remember exactly when and where I purchased my first Michael Jackson album, Off The Wall, and feeling like it gave me a certain "street cred" at the time. It was one of the earliest albums I purchased (just to give an idea of how young I really am...either that, or how late I was to the party). I remember owning several 45s by the Jackson Five in my extensive (roughly 10 records) collection. Who can resist those early performances, fronted by Michael as a young boy with an amazing voice, a cute smile and some pretty amazing dance moves even then.

I like that the memorial does in fact feel like a funeral service (even a "revival" as the media seems want to call it), a celebration of family and faith, and not "just" a Michael Jackson concert (anyone else wonder if the casket would be levitated before this show was over?) although there have been some nice tributes sung by the likes of Mariah Carey and Stevie Wonder. But really, after the powerful words of others, we could have done without Brooke Shield's trite narrative of her relationship w/ Michael at the age of 13. Some things are better off left unsaid.

The most poignant words were those spoken by his daughter, Paris, at her first public appearance ever, "Daddy has been the best father you can ever imagine and I just want to say I love him so much." I pray for his children, who are the only real victims in this sad story.

Rest in Peace, Michael Jackson.

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At 10:43 PM, July 07, 2009, Blogger Janie at Sounding Forth said...

I love Michael, too. All joking aside, he was a huge part of my life, and my family's.

At 6:59 AM, July 08, 2009, Blogger Sisiggy said...

Umm...well, I'll go along with your very last sentence. Imagine being named by your father after your father and having basically the same name as your brother because your father can't get enough namesakes.

Though, I will admit that Dark Garden is sitting shiva in his backyard. I know -- we're Italian. But there is just no other word for it.

I'll shut up for now...

At 9:10 AM, July 08, 2009, Blogger Gwynne said...

Janie, I'm not quite at "love" for MJ yet, but after watching the memorial and letting the true breadth of his career sink in, I've found an admiration and respect that I didn't realize I had for the man (aka "nutjob"). ;-)

Sisiggy, I can't believe it's taken me this long to learn that all of his kids share the same name, a la George Foreman. Until yesterday, I didn't know Paris was also Michael. Poor girl. And poor Dark Garden. ;-)

At 3:10 PM, July 08, 2009, Blogger Library girl said...

I feel for the kids too. I missed the memorial but that was flashed all over the news.


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