Michael Jackson died yesterday.
My brother told me as I was on a break from the X-Box 360, and on my way to the kitchen. It was a surprise, the news at the time was saying that he had died from a heart attack. I told my brother that as this story worked itself out that Jackson was probably abusing prescription drugs, and that the death would be more seedy in the end. As it turned out this is the case.
I'm not a Michael Jackson fan by any stretch of the imagination. However I did buy "Thriller" in 1984, mostly because Eddie Van Halen played the guitar solo on the song: "Beat It". The album itself was a solid offering of high quality Quincy Jones-produced pop music, and most of the guys from Toto played back-up for Jackson. "Thriller" became background music for my friends and me during the summer of 1984. My friend, Bruce, had a 1968 LTD station wagon, and "Thriller" was almost always in the cassette player. Since Bruce was good looking the rear seat of the LTD was usually packed with girls, and as we'd taxi them to the beach Michael Jackson's music usually got them grooving. Girls in bikini tops grooving is a good thing.
Bruce's place was party central, and by June there were a few guys who could "Moonwalk". 1984 was the first year that you could order MTV in stereo, and needless to say Bruce had it. So MTV was always on during the party, and Jackson's videos usually warranted scrutiny by just about everyone there. Michael Jackson ended up being an important part of one of the greatest summers of my life, and for all the stuff that has happened with him since there is no denying this.
Whenever I hear a song off of "Thriller" I smile.
The thing that is disgusting me now is the wall-to-wall coverage by all the networks, with special segments now dedicated to telling Jackson's life. This is ironic because the media has spent the last few years destroying Michael Jackson. Sure, Jackson gave them ammunition, his problem with young boys is well documented. However, the media went beyond the facts, and printed/broadcast almost every allegation without due investigation as to their truthfulness. Stories about Jackson symbolized the legitimate news media's descent into tabloid journalism.
So now that Jackson has died, the media is now milking him for every ratings point they can. His funeral will probably be an epic. Not an ounce of shame will be displayed on the part of the news outlets who will cover it live. Then in the coming months and years we will be flooded with tell-all book that will make Jackson look like a Saint, or Jack the Ripper.
I am not a Jackson fan. I like one of his albums. I was hoping maybe the media in the age of Obama, and economic crisis was going to grow up. I guess not.