So, in the weeks since Michael Jackson's death, I've really had to revise my opinion. In my original analysis, I was too quick (so soon after his death!) and too callous about the cycle of abuse. In many ways, I placed a victim of serious abuse, who had been glorified and terrorized by America in the place of BAD PERSON PERIOD.
The day before his death, my fella and I had had an hourlong conversation on Jackson, in which we judged him harshly for his nonstandard appearance and abuse of children. And I stand by my latter judgment - it should not be made invisible, and should be noted in discussions of his accomplishments (and it was, by those more authoritative on the subject than I). In hearing and percieving the news of his death, I was in the context of a conversation that was not kind to Jackson, and was slightly racist/ableist (who am I to judge how Jackson navigates vitiligo?)
But I was not in the habit of loving his music, as I have quite suddenly in the last few weeks. This is why I'm revisiting the topic, after so many words dedicated to Jackson. In my immediate review, I underestimated the genius of his work in a serious way:
The man was a defining voice in the last century, and he is still immediate and current. These are the songs that folks will be listening to in 200 years. These songs are genius in and out of the context of era and career.
I know this post comes after too much energy has been spent on Jackson, but I want to revisit because I don't want my last post to be my last word on Jackson. The inspiration came from Siddity, who today tipped me off on this sci-fi esque classic from the Jacksons:
And I found this funky tune on my own:
It may look like my cursor around the turn of the century. But Jackson in 1978, with the discordant afro and familiar but no less impressive moves, is quite an unexpected joy. Before the beauty and ruination of his solo career, but after the pain of his abusive and exploitative childhood, Jackson's vocal talent and astounding physical grace is apparent, as it ever was: