I wasn’t going to write this post. Really, I wasn’t. The Internet has been flooded from Twitter to Facebook to all the 300 blogs I read with posts about The Death Of Michael Jackson And What It Meant To Them, and I don’t really have much to contribute.

I was born in 1980 into a family of stinky hippies and I cut my teeth on Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Pop music was seen as some sort of abomination and I could still probably sing you a medley of anti-war songs that I grew up listening to. My brother, ten years my senior, was far more interested in making Freddy Kruegar gloves with real working razor blades than with jamming out to the top 40 station.

I did have a Michael Jackson album that I occasionally rocked out to on my tiny Fisher Price tape deck, but where it came from and where it disappeared to is anyone’s guess. I didn’t miss it.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’ll never ever deny that he was an amazing musician who changed music in ways we’ll never begin to understand; he was. No argument here. He just wasn’t someone I rocked out (with my cock out) to very often.

From a young child, his every move scrutinized by the media. We at home sat back and watched eagerly like a bunch of fucking vultures when the first hints of his unravelling occurred.

Ohmygod, We clamored, is he REALLY turning white? What is UP with his nose now, We scoffed? He’s turning into a wax man, We giggled!

The tabloids reported facts and falsehoods, indistinguishable to Us, We scandal-hungry jackals, licking Our gleaming white teeth, ready to rip him apart. Truth didn’t matter, no, so long as We had quotes from well known sources and had every fucking doctor who had never treated this patient speculate on what was really wrong with him. The juicer the better, We screamed, giddy with joy begging for more dirt on his penis, his monkey butler, his life. And the papers, always happy to sell more copy, happily obliged.

Once in awhile, We’d stop for a second and say, you know what? This is kind of fucked up, that We’re sitting here like a bunch of scavengers, hoping for scraps–tasty, delicious scraps–about this man’s life.

Oh well, We quickly reasoned, justifying Our voyeuristic look into the life of someone We’d never meet, he ASKED for it when he became a star. He should have said no, at the age of whatever-young-age he was when he was thrust into the limelight with his family, We reasoned, Our conscience making a dramatic flip-flop. Morally superior to someone We didn’t know once again.

It’s not OUR fault he’s such a freak.

And maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s not Us that made Britney go berserk last year, reliving those private teenage years that We all went through, maybe a little later than Us, but the same awkward mistakes We all made. Only We didn’t have to grow up to see Our face splashed about the papers when We broke curfew or had sex in a car in a parking lot.

No one reported that We were yet again at McDonald’s, stuffing Our pimply faces with Big Macs and chocolate shakes. No reporter caught Us talking with a stupid accent or wearing those itty-bitty short-shorts that made Our ass look dimpled and gross. What We ordered at Starbucks wasn’t national news. When We screwed up–God knows We all did–it was between Us, Our family, and God.

Sure maybe We made Shit List at Our school of 2,000 people for blowing some chick’s boyfriend in the bathroom, or maybe We shit our pants in gym class and the whole school was gleeful and mocking for a couple of weeks. Maybe it lasted a year. Maybe that year was miserable and hard because people hated Us.

But eventually, people forgot.

We’d grow up, move out, and the hazy memories would turn sepia and move to the back of Our brains. Remember when (dot, dot, dot) would turn soft-filtered and someday We might not be able to recall the smaller details that were so important to Us at age 16. Or 17. Or 25.

There’s no magazine archive from ten years ago that chronicles all the fuck-ups, all the cooter shots, all the bad fashion choices I made. It’s not national news that I drink diet coke by the bucket-full or that I really do need to lose some major pounds. When I have a fight with Nat, there’s no one to capture the look on my face, the snarl on my lips when I tell him to fuck off, no one will interview my friends and family to find out if I’d had a drink before the fight.

My life, comparatively, is unexamined. Just like, I imagine, yours.

Sure, maybe some of us have blogs, some of us have well-read blogs with a wider audience, and those of us who have gotten a bigger crowd reading understand the scrutiny involved even here, on The Internet.

I, for as small of a blog as I have, know full well that whatever I put here is something that I need to own up to. I can’t bring you all of the drama that I’d like, the hidden feelings in my heart of hearts, not without remembering that every time I do, I stand to have someone come here and rip me down. And worse, get me wrong. Completely wrong.

And I own that. I’m okay with that. You want to rip me up one side of my ass and down the other? Go right ahead. I invited you in and I’m very happy that you’re here.

I choose to be here. I choose to put myself out here. Just like you do.

And, like you, I can stop at any time. I’m not supporting my family on my income here (go ahead, have a giggle). I don’t owe anyone here anything, and although my archives will remain somewhere here in the place where bad blogs go when they die even if I pull my blog down, that’s okay. I’m not ashamed.

But I can choose to stop whenever I want, just as you can. I can flit back to my life outside the computer and no one will be the worse for it. My kids might come to me and make fun of the crap I’ve spewed here if and when they find it and I will laugh with them. My disappearance here will make no ripples. Just another dead link.

Could Britney leave? Could Mr. Jackson? Could they really?

Of course not. Michael turned into a recluse in his later years, a creepy recluse who underwent mockery whenever he stepped out of his house to try and lead a normal life; take his kids to the zoo or the bookstore. We’d lap it up, laughing at what he’d become.

We laughed at Britney too. How could she possibly have held one of her kids hostage in her home when her ex-husband tried to pick him up? Ha-ha-ha-ha, that crazy bitch, we giggled sanctimoniously, knowing full well that we would never behave that way.

They were trapped. Super-stars trapped and cornered like caged wild animals.

Sure, maybe Britney would have become a bat-shit crazy hairdresser in Louisiana if she hadn’t become Britney Spears ™. Maybe Michael Jackson ™ would have worked at Sears and had a penchant for kiddie porn. No one would have known or cared what these two nobodies did, what they ate for breakfast, what brand of toilet paper they used to wipe their no-name assholes with.

Britney can never be anything other than Britney Spears ™ and Michael Jackson could never be anything but Michael Jackson ™ if you like or Wacko Jacko ™ if you don’t.

And for all the fancy cars, the notoriety, the fame, the fortune and the glamor, there’s a pretty big part of me that wonders if they could choose to do it all over again, would they?

As I sit here today, submerged in a never-ending sea of snippets about Michael Jackson, I can’t help but feel a little ashamed. We made him. We made him and we laughed when he fell apart. Dress it up, take it out to dinner, hell, take it home to meet Dear Old Dad, we can’t escape that cold hard fact.

We made them all.

Comments

comments

47 thoughts on “We. Made. You.

  1. Excellent post and spot on. To think this was his life since he was a child is the saddest part of his story.

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  3. I feel this way about the whole Jon & Kate thing. MY husband was out of town on our 16th anniversary, my birthday and his birthday. No one from our local paper was here interviewing me, about how he was 2000 miles away, fishing in Canada. Unless I missed them while dodging the paparazzi at the local Target!

  4. I think this very post is the reason why I can’t bring myself to say too much about his untimely death on my blog yet. I *was* a big Jackson fan in my youth. I had the Human Nature album cover notebook and I still know the choreography to most of his videos. Still, I think of the veritable freakshow he became in the last years of his life and know that I was one who pointed aghast…it’s hard not to. Still, he was back in the studio and was working on a new album, and I would have been tripping over myself to buy it. It’s a shame that he’s gone too soon. I feel like a part of my childhood died when he did.

    I am inclined to think that he would have chosen to do it all over again. Family and friends say that he was always a giving soul, even prior to the fame and success. Sure he became embroiled in that horrid feely-feely mess, but that doesn’t negate the fact that over the years, he did so much good with his fame and money. Who knows how many kids were fed, clothed, and educated because of him? I think that knowing how generous he was, he would have chosen to live this life again even if he only inspired, positively impacted, and touched (good touched) a fraction of the people he did in this life.

  5. Pingback: We. Made. You. « Michael Jackson Is Dead : StarLogz.com
  6. We watch and we laugh and we judge, but there are so many complicated pieces that make up a person’s life, that we can never know the whole story. Although, I do believe that these people did choose to put themselves out there. But shame on us for judging, shame on us for thinking they owe us an explanation for their behavior, shame on us for thinking we’re better, or thinking that we would know how to act in their shoes.

  7. This is brilliantly written – and soooo true. The same could be true for so many celebrities, musicians and dare I say – politicians.

    As a society we thrive on the rise and fall and all the subsequent finger pointing and ‘tsk, tsk-ing’ that comes with it.

  8. Wow, this is such a great analysis of the situation. We tend to forget that if our lives were under the microscope 24 hours a day we wouldn’t look so good either. What would the public make of the amount of time I spend in the pantry eating leftover Easter candy?

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  10. It is part of the price of fame. Of course Brittney and MJ are the extreme, but even look at Jon & Kate. You have to be really, really grounded to survive fame.

  11. you are fucking brilliant.
    i love you.

    thanks for writing this ~ similar and so much less eloquence rattles around in my brain, and i am glad someone as rockin as you sits down to tap it all out.

    your BBFF,
    gypsy

  12. You said it, and I think you said it perfectly.

    We did make him. We built him up, we tore him down, and now . . . we weep for his demise.

    Odd. We are . . .

  13. Becky- One thing I am sure of is that this is a world-class piece of writing. Thoughtful and sharp as hell.
    I’d be very proud of it if I were you and I think you said what needed to be said.

  14. You have excellent points. A person can choose to shoot for fame, but they can’t choose to get away from it later if they don’t like it. We don’t let them. No matter how far the list they fall in popularity their failings & foibles will be news. I’m sure most of them go into thinking it will be fun, that they can handle it, because they really have absolutely no idea what they are up against when it comes to news.

    MJ was holed up trying to avoid fame & couldn’t. Britney will always be news, even if she never sings again. 10 years from now when one of the Gosslin kids drinks beer at a teen party it will be all over the paper

  15. I don’t buy tabloids. I don’t want to feed into the drama machine. But it should be noted that the “child” stars who grow up in the spotlight – like the ones you named here to declare “Us” worthless jackals (when there are so many more interesting reasons to bestoy that label lol), were created by their parents. Their crazy ass parents.

    Brittney gets a pass – I will always feel sorry for her because her parents robbed her of a chance to grow up in “private”.

    As for you, Aunt Becky, and the rest of the other “grown-up” celebrities -you put it out there so you need to deal with the consequences :)!

    In a society where “American Idol” is such a mega-hit, what do you expect?

  16. I’d been wrestling with a post – feeling like I HAD to comment on this so, so, sad story but have been unable to. And you summed up why. We’re all complicit. We’re all out of the public eye and able to screw up without it being the headlines of the day on international tabloids. Who knows what any one of us would turn into under that sort of scrutiny. Thanks for writing this!

  17. Even on a lower level, we all are so ready to tear down. When we find out a neighbor had an affair. Someone’s daughter got pregnant. A son is in jail. Why can we not build each other up instead? What is in us that makes it so much more difficult to help out and support?

    It makes me sad.

  18. He had a monkey butler? No shit. I guess I need to start reading the tabloids.

    I can honestly say that I don’t find it amusing when they crash and burn. It doesn’t make me feel any better at all. Truthfully, I like Britney a lot more since she imploded and started to claw her way back, and I’m pulling for her. I love her new music. Maybe I would have felt the same if Michael made a go of his tour that was to never be.

    Fame is a mindfuck, for sure, but plenty of big stars go through life without any of the insane, self-created drama these two examples have exhibited. They may have been forced into fame by scumbag parents who pimped them out and pushed them until they broke, but they enjoyed the spoils. Then, when their fame faded and people stopped paying attention to them for a couple seconds, they freaked out and made very bad choices in front of cameras that they invited in, instead of going off and trying to lead more simple lives with all that money.

  19. You are so spot on with this. I watched a tribute show the other night, and Gladys Knight said pretty much the same thing. She said from the time he was a young child he was very introverted, and as time went by, and we kept taking pieces of him, he just went further and further into himself. She said, “Look what we did to him.

    So sad.

  20. What a wonderful post. Very moving. I think many of us that read this will think twice before we are so quick to judge.

    Wise, beyond your years, Aunt Becky……….

  21. Very well said, Becky. As I watch all this news unfold, I keep thinking of his kids. There is one photo that CNN keep showing that looks like two (or three?) of his kids in a bookstore, maybe. And they look like such average kids, like anyone would look if they were out in public and couldn’t get people to leave them alone.

    It seems like Michael Jackson always suggested that he’d been denied a real childhood, so he was trying to have some of that experience as an adult. And now here are his kids, first born into that level of fame and then losing their father. I just hope that they have someone, their mothers or anyone, that they are very close to, to provide them with some comfort and security. He was creative, fascinating, brilliant, and ultimately tragic. I hope his kids are spared that.

  22. Beautifully put. I find myself often reading TMZ.com and other crap-tastic sites but after reading this, and I mean really reading this, I think I’m going to give it up for good.

    Lord knows I don’t need anyone watching MY every mood – what gives me the right to watch theirs … and then laugh?

    I’m new here, but I’m hooked.

  23. This is my first visit to your blog, arrived here through about 20 links on twitter..and WOW. This was an amazing post..thank you!

  24. I hate all people equally. The famous and the un-famous. The only time I get celebrity news is when it comes from my blog buddies or Steven Colbert. Yep.

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