It’s Kinda a Big Deal
Funny, I’ve been contemplating how easy it was for me to crack sick jokes about Michael Jackson even before his body was cold. Even though, like everyone else of my generation (interesting how that phrase keeps on turning up on cable news each time they interview a person between the age of 26-39), I was glued to the TV in my childhood when they played the Thriller video, yesterday’s news had much less of an impact than say hearing about Kurt Vonnegut. This is in spite of the fact that my speech at my grandmother’s wake included a funny vignette about her unsuccessful attempt to buy me a Michael Jackson doll when I was 6. I guess the main reason for my unfeeling is that Michael Jackson lost his relevance to me years ag0, when he went off the rails. He’s spent the past 15 years as a modern day Citizen Kane, chasing after his Rosebud, his lost innocence, his lost childhood. While this makes him a sympathetic figure in my eyes, it’s a fall from his iconic status during my childhood.
The thing that astounds me though, is that I can’t recall another time when my mom called me at work to tell me that someone had died, and yesterday, she called me mid-afternoon to tell me something that I already knew. I guess that I miss the era of stars so big that they can count both my mom and me in their fan base (this is so rare, that I’m astounded when my sister Chelle and I share an artist in common). In the age of the little white headphones, I don’t think that someone else can come along to accomplish this feat.
Addendum: How could I have forgotten? Our very own SF MoMA has this Jeff Koons “sculpture” of Michael Jackson and Bubbles. The first time I saw this years ago, I wanted to run out of the gallery due to naseau. This is a compliment to Koons because I think it was his intended effect.
Also, by the time I saw this sculpture has a masoleum quality about it. By the time Koons conceived of this piece, celebrity had already killed MJ in many ways.