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On Michael… (and a note from my 45 collection)

I’ve been wanting to write something on Michael Jackson ever since his untimely death last week. I’ve been putting it off and putting it off… mostly because the subject is very overwhelming for me as it is, but even more so because of the amount of negative comments and press I’ve seen. So, you see, this post will be positive. And no comments will be allowed. My opinion and experience is not up for debate. It’s not open for scrutiny. It’s just my opinion and experience. Deal with it!

I am currently 35 years old. I’ll turn 36 next month – the day after Michael Jackson’s birthday. We’re both Virgos. I feel a kinship with the man and always have. I know what it’s like to be misunderstood. Not on his level, of cousre, but nevertheless. I know what it’s like to deal with people whose minds are not open. People who only see what they want to see about you. I can open my mind and understand what it’s like to have people only react to the media they are spoon-fed about you. People suck. It’s sad, but true.

Michael was found innocent in a court of law. Does that matter to anyone? Some of the posts I have seen remind me of the stereotype of the townsfolk coming after the town “weirdo” with torches and pitchforks. This isn’t the 17th century, folks! Right after Michael’s death – and by that I mean within an HOUR, I had people on my Facebook list screaming, “FREAK! WEIRDO!” and of course, all the pedophile comments. I wonder, had he never changed his appearance, would people be so quick to judge? Possibly, epecially because there are still so many racists out there. But I’d bet you anything the judgemental group would be a lot smaller. People tend to hear the word “pedophile” thrown around and immediately assume guilt, expecially if the person accused is seen as strange by the public. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? What happened to the fact he WAS NOT proven guilty? What about the fact that he was SO not guilty he has custody of his own children?

People who lack critical thinking skills, people who lack empathy and especially people who lack both MAKE ME SICK. I don’t want to deal with your kind! And I lost a couple of Facebook friends because of this. I deleted THEM. I say, “good riddance.” If their minds are that closed who is to say they won’t turn on me someday when I am in need of understanding and empathy? Who needs friends like that?

Michael had loads of money and was around hundreds, if not thousands of kids in his lifetime. During that time only two kids have bothered to say anything at all. Doesn’t that ring the warning bells? Money is the great motivater here. I really don’t want to dwell on this. For more info on the first case and how Michael was framed, please read this:

Was Michael Jackson Framed?

He admitted sharing his bed and having sleepovers with children. SO WHAT? Sleeping does not equal sex! Where are these people living, how did they grow up to automatically assume the worst over the word “sleep”? Is Michael guilty of poor judgement? Absolutely. But only because, in this world, as we have seen, a lot of people have completely lost the ability to think that a grown man does not necessarily equal a pedophile. Michael was an overgrown child!!! My goodness, is this not obvious? I seriously doubt he was remotely capable of the things he was accused of. He completely missed his own childhood at the mercy of beatings administered by his own father. He is absolutely guilty of eccentricity and weirdness in the first degree (a similar quote I saw written somewhere else), BUT SO WHAT? Who is to define what normal is? And last time I checked, being weird, different, or strange-looking does not make you a criminal or, most importantly, a pedophile! Come on people!

There is a boatload more I could say about this, but I want to talk about my personal Michael Jackson experiences.

Because I was heavily into shows like Dance Fever and Solid Gold as a kid, I’m sure I took a liking to Michael’s Off The Wall singles, and I do remember them. I think I was too young to have formed any solid memories of them, though. I was 9 years old when Thriller came out in November of 1982. “The Girl Is Mine” was the first single and, eh… I was not of the generation to worship Paul McCartney, so to me it was … eh. I remember “Billie Jean” taking our breath away. The video, with the sidewalks that lit up as Michael moved onto them held us mesmerized. How’d they do that? “Beat It” was next and oh, man! The world was listening. Michael had somehow gotten King Of Guitars Eddie Van Halen to play on this song, and the kids my age were ever so impressed. No one could deny these singles were totally, well, EVERYTHING.

Somehow, by this time (Valentine’s Day 1983) I had still managed to not have any singles or the Thriller album in my posession. Then, the Motown 25th Anniversary Special was shown on NBC. Taped March 25, 1983 and shown on TV May 16th, 1983, I believe this is the event that put me, and probably so many others, over the top for Michael! It’s hard to imagine now, but when he did the moonwalk here for the first time it had people talking for days, weeks, hey, they STILL talk about it. It was like he was other-worldly. No one ever saw anyone dance like that. Again, as a young aspiring dancer, I was hooked! I remember watching this at my friend Linda’s house. Linda lived down the street and I must have been spending the night. After Michael’s performance we tried in vain to moonwalk all over her living room. It’s one of my favorite 80s memories! And thanks to Facebook, I know she remembers it fondly, too!

I was now primed, and since “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” was released on May 8, 1983, I ran out and bought it!

Furzdurzelette's copy of Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'

Furzdurzelette's copy of Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'

I love this song sooo much! It peaked at #5 on the Hot 100 Singles Chart (and I helped!). The red mark on the sleeve is not lipstick, I swear. I marked all of my 45s with a stamp that said “Karen” (my mother’s name – I didn’t have one of my own) to mark it as mine when it was brought to a friend’s house or a party. I played this single so much it started to skip not too long after I got it, and the sleeve is coming apart. I somehow acquired a second copy of it which will remain in my collection untouched and pristine!

Back of Furzdurzelette's copy

Back of Furzdurzelette's copy

This single was released without a video, or I’d have put it here!

It was only after this that I somehow got my hands on Thriller, the Lp, on cassette. I don’t remember buying it, and I don’t remember buying this single either. I have a feeling my parents bought both for me, but most definitely the cassette, as I was still 9 and had not much money to speak of. And for some reason I’m almost certain the cassette came from K-Mart. A good bet, as there weren’t  a lot of places to buy music in my hometown. The cassette is in storage (I’ve been listening to B’s cd copy of it lately).

“Human Nature” and “P.Y.T.” came out as singles after this. I remember not caring for “Human Nature” that much as a kid, but I do like it now. I used to listen to “P.Y.T.” a lot, though, even then though I knew at 10 (I had a birthday by that point) how silly it was! I think that might even be why I liked it so much!

“Thriller” came next and blew the roof off the world. What a song! And what a video! It was definitely one of the videos that molded me as a person and made be want to be a dancer more than anything in the world!

Naturally, they are all over any posting of this video, so I cannot embed it here. If you want to see the “Thriller” video, click here:

Thriller

I have vivid memories of walking through my neighborhood with my tape recorder (I didn’t own a boom box) blasting “Billie Jean.” “Smooth Criminal” was another dance video that had me in awe of the dancing. I love these memories. I know in my heart, and for the reasons outlined above, Michael Jackson was a good man and not capable of the horrible things he was accused of doing. I’ll never understand why he felt the need to change his beautiful face. But he did it, and that was his choice. I adore Michael, and I always will.

Rest In Peace.

July 5, 2009 at 4:42 pm

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