Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Name Is Michael

Shocking news... MJ is dead. This, coming on the heels of lots of other "celebrity" news, should remind people of the price of fame.

I don't miss the Thriller era, and I wasn't especially a fan of Beat It, or Billie Jean. I couldn't even tell you much about these songs, except that I remember the Thriller video and that MJ couldn't really pull off the gangsta look in the Beat It video. But, I have fond memories of hearing the Jackson Five. I know, I know... I'm dating myself... in my defense I have much older siblings, so I skipped a lot of the teenybopper stuff I was supposed to like (e.g. Shaun Cassidy).

In homage to MJ, I listened to My Name is Michael, by the Jackson Five. His sweet innocent voice, that he tried so hard to hang onto is so bittersweet now. The young man lost all semblance of a normal life when the Jackson Five made it big. His self-image problems, fueled by an unusual family, his earning power, and the public scrutiny of his career, insured that he would never have a normal moment or a sincere trusted friend - someone that wasn't influenced by his money or power.

Why is it that we seem pathologically unable to either leave people alone (even if we like their music)? Even more frightening, why are we pathologically unable to avoid fame, even after watching hundreds of celebrities self-ignite in the glow of it?

Why, oh why, didn't John and Kate (plus eight) see it coming? I'm not really a fan or a detractor (I may have seen part of two episodes), not really my cup of tea... but even back to the first reality television (a PBS series in the 70's), no marriages have survived the scrutiny.* Maybe the sanctity of marriage and family life aren't intended for public scrutiny. Maybe all of us, if shown in tv soundbites, would seem so atrocious and unmatched that we wouldn't be able to bear staying with our partners?

Let's have a momnt of silence.. but not just for poor disfunctional, unhappy Michael, but also for the lives of so many that our constant intrusion has ruined.

And, let's hope that that the next family that is approached with a television deal has the good sense to avoid fame and fortune and be working stiffs like the rest of us - it isn't glamorous, but it has more potential for happiness.

*With the possible exception of the Duggar family with 19 children and counting... but, I am not completely convinced that they are actually human.

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