Thursday, June 25, 2009
Perhaps the signs were there, but the facts do not lessen the shock. It is not my intention to understate the sadness of the other all too abundant celebrity passings of late, but this breaks my heart. The enormity of this loss owes to the stature of the man. I understand there are now generations of kids who do not know Michael Jackson, do not know why they should care. They probably won't believe me when I say to them that he was the biggest, he was the best. So vast was the shadow he cast that I cannot pinpoint how he affected the world and my own life. But I know that he did. He was a peculiar genius who could not live by society's conventions, and the same uniqueness that made him great was surely the source of his later difficulties. I grew up loving his music, and I wanted to remain his fan and defend him, but the more he spoke, the less I knew him, the harder it became to like him. We'll never know if he was just too weird or if the media was making a point that it could build up and tear down anybody. I think a part of me always believed that he would come back, that there was another act, one more period of greatness in his life. A part of me wanted Michael Jackson to one day puzzle out his own story and then triumphantly deliver the answers to all the cosmic mysteries of life. That part of me has died along with him, in its place the profound sense of so many doors closing. I feel the transience of life in the near certainty that no star his equal will emerge in my lifetime. For the first time, I fear and anticipate the approach of that pivotal moment I've heard older folks speak of, when you stop following new things and only hold on in vain to what you have and know. Things will be different now that he's gone.