Far from another juicy gossip tidbit, his passing brought to the surface a fierce respect for the music he created as well as the controversial life he lead after more or less retreating to Neverland. Perhaps most shocking is my peers' response to the news. Instead of simply making jokes as is our habit, folks in the 21-35 demographic reverted to their childhood/teenage selves, recalling the first time they heard Thriller or purchased Off the Wall.
For our generation, Michael Jackson was never the cute, innocent boy of the Jackson 5. He was a bad-ass mega-star, then a strange-ass mega-star, then a completely bizarre individual whose behavior we rationalized as the understandable byproduct of a pretty fucked-up childhood. Maybe we're more willing to extend the benefit of the doubt because grew up witnessing the overly documented side effects of insane fame. There is no aura of mystery surrounding stars these days. The fact that people are now obsessed with figuring out how exactly MJ died is kind of pathetic. Let him rest in peace and live on through the one thing most of us can agree on - his amazing, influential and timeless music.