Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"An American Tragedy"

I wasn’t going to say it. I was going to keep my mouth shut and move on. But after 3 straight days of constant coverage, I can’t keep it in anymore. I’m sure legions of Michael Jackson fans are going to start hunting me down for this, but I simply can’t seem to muster up much give-a-shit over his death.

Sure, I loved his music back in the 80’s. Off the Wall was one of my favorite albums ever, but after that, my interest in him started waning. Between my taste in music changing, and his freaking face changing, I started not quite feeling him like before. Don’t get me wrong, I liked him, and I certainly – still to this day – appreciate and respect his music. There is no denying that he is a music icon. That he was incredibly talented. But after 1979, he started drinking the freak kool-aid and was never the same. He was a freak. Perhaps the freakiest freak ever.

He fucked up his face. He bleached his skin. He became a recluse. He was best friends with a monkey. And little boys. And Liz Taylor. Freaking Neverland Ranch. He dangled his baby over a balcony. He made his kids wear masks and scarves over their faces. He named one “Blanket,” for Christ’s sake! He was accused (more than once) of molesting children, and giving them alcohol. An although he was found not guilty, the fact that he seemed to think that having unsupervised “sleepovers” and sharing a bed with children that were not his own was beautiful and loving screams “freak,” innocent or not (and I’ll be honest and say I’m skeptical – one of those accusers was paid 22 million, and also – court acquittal doesn’t hold a lot of weight these days – see: OJ).

But I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he’s innocent. Fine –he’s innocent. When the media keeps calling his death An American Tragedy, it makes me a little sick to my stomach. Because to me, the death of one celebrity – no matter how tragic it may be – isn’t An American Tragedy. I feel bad for his family. I feel bad for his kids. I feel bad that there are people out there who adore him and (to me – inexplicably) are grieving over his death. I’m not saying that people who feel the need to grieve for him are wrong in doing so, but I am just not one of them. And every time I turn on the TV, there it is. Tributes, celebrities weighing in, fans lined up outside his home, his families’ homes, his star, venues that he once performed in 20 freaking years ago. A local funeral home is having a service for him, and now another, since the fist is full. I just don’t get it. The same media that eviscerated him again and again and again over his looks, his debt, the allegations against him, are now singing his praises as loudly as they can. Yes – it’s a shocking death that came too soon. But An American Tragedy?

46 million people without health insurance? That is An American Tragedy. 13 million kids who go to bed hungry every night? That is An American Tragedy. 5000 dead soldiers? That is An American Tragedy. Hundreds of thousands of people homeless? That is An American Tragedy. 1.5 million afflicted with cancer and half a million deaths, millions of HIV/AIDS cases, 24 million people with diabetes, and no cure for any of it? That is An American Tragedy. I can’t help but to feel that calling the death of Michael Jackson An American Tragedy is a slap in the face to the real tragedies out there.

I’m sorry. I hope he is resting in peace – I really do. But I don’t need to hear any more about it. Because the fact that our country is still at war, that we are threatened by countries with nuclear missiles, that the economy is in the shitter, that our politicians are all going fucking crazy, that people still don’t have equal rights, and all we can talk about is Michael Jackson is An American Tragedy.

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Unknown said...

Honestly, Gina? THIS is a post I can agree with. I hear you, and I relate. It is sad for his children and his family. But really? He created his own demise. He did this to himself. I tend to not have a lot of sympathy for ANYONE in his predictament. May I be struck down if I am wrong. There is NOTHING on the news except for M.J.'s speculations, and what his father said, and his nanny, and his freakiness. What about countries with Nuclear weapons that are threatening us? What about, like what you said, all the real American Tragedies? Oy. Makes my head spin.

Susan said...

I couldn't agree more, Gina. I sincerely am sad that a talented man lost his life at the wee age of 50, and I don't question the contribution he made to the music and entertainment world. But it's out of control...and I think you hit it when you wrote that the media is now in worship mode when they used to ostracize him only a short time ago.

Actually, I'm more sad for Farrah's family, or Ed MacMahon's; they got lost in the shuffle. (And I didn't even know about Billy Mays either!)

Actually-actually, I'm most sad for military families or those who lose a loved one every day for far less glittery reasons.

Gwen said...

What you say makes a lot of sense. I think it's ok to mourn the death of a celebrity. Sometimes I'm surprised about how much attention is paid to one death and not to another. Bernie Mac died and I feel like nobody gave a shit about that. He was awesome. I felt more sad about his death than Michael Jackson's. Anyway, you make so many good points. I do feel that MJ had a lot of mental health issues stemming from his abusive childhood and also his religious upbringing (he was raised a Jehovah's Witness, like me). I don't know whether he molested children, but I do think that if he did it was because he was sick and not because he was an evil person. I may be the only person alive who thinks that. I don't know.

Danielle said...

Well said!

An American Tragedy? No way!

I had his poster on my wall in the 80's, but mourned him a long time ago- after he drank the freak kool-aid.

melissity said...

Here via a link from Jen (jayesel)...

FINALLY, a voice of reason!!! Glad it's not just me who feels this way!

3carnations said...

Wow. Yeah...I guess I agree with all that. Well put.

Amy said...

well said

Princess Consuela Bananahammock said...

Bravo. Oh, excuse me, BravA!

Uptown Girl said...

I am guilty of blogging about MJ on Friday. But not bc I think it is an American Tragedy by any stretch. I just think of all his music and try not to think of the rest. Bc, as you pretty much said, the rest is the american tragedy!
From Friday to today I've gone from feeling nostalgic about his music to SICK-of-it-ALL.
anyways, thx!

Unknown said...

Dude, not to speak ill of the dead or anything, but he creeped me the fuck out. And watching him on TV all day long is KILLING ME. Creepy. Totally creepy.