But I've been busy. There are a few lingering things I wanted to say about Michael Jackson. For posterity, I guess.
I was a kid in the 1980s, when Michael was at the (post-pubescent, anyway) height of his stardom, back when his fey elfin qualities seemed cool and not creepy, and before his obvious taste for facial plastic surgery went beyond affectation and into the realm of disturbing self-mutilation. My father bought "Thriller" (on cassette tape!) the day it was released and played it relentlessly. Like many black kids of the 80s, Michael Jackson was an icon of my youth. So the news of his untimely passing should have been more striking to me than it was.
But it failed to elicit more from me than a sense of confusion, that such a character, a creature made entirely of tabloid photos and courtroom allegations, would die so suddenly. One half expected a 90-year-old MJ to have himself cryogenically frozen alive, awaiting a future where new noses could be grown from stem cells and doctors had discovered a cure for vitiligo. To die of cardiac arrest at age 50 didn't seem *weird* enough. But it wasn't sad, per se. I think what happened is that the cool, slick Michael of my childhood died long ago, right about the time Elvis's daughter dumped him and he started naming children he conceived via surrogate after himself. The Michael that influenced Usher and Justin Timberlake was already long gone.
That is, until the final moments of his circuslike, televised funeral service, when his eleven-year-old daughter began to cry for her lost daddy, whom she loved so much. Then I realized that Michael was not a lost style icon or misguided pop star, but just a regular human being like the rest of us who left behind a saddened family in the wake of his departure. This is the fate that awaits us all. The transformation of the young, stylish, talented Michael Jackson into the bizarre Norma Desmond-like figure of the latter half of his life was tragic, but it can't compare to the loss of a child's father.