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.