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So typical that it hurts. The sudden death of Michael Jackson Thursday evening was marked my global mourning and universal tribute to the King of Pop.

There was no mention of little boys nor any other jabs at Jackson; just round-the-clock playing of “Billie Jean” and talk of how timeless his works are.

This begs the question of how many “bandwagon” Jacko fans were created with his passing. The answer is A LOT.

It was just yesterday that Jackson was being addressed as a freak and jokes about him were being tossed left and right.

Q: How can you tell if Michael Jackson has a hot date?
A: There’s a big wheel parked outside his house.

I personally was never a fan of that humor genre. I find his past actions disgusting and firmly believe that they are legitimate justification for demoting his celebrity status.

Hey, Pete Rose was a great baseball player, but he messed up too. The same can be said for Michael Vick, who arguably re-shaped the mold of an NFL quarterback, but also killed innocent animals. Those who are opposed the the reinstatement of either athlete have perfectly fine rationale for their stance. Just don’t call them the best thing since sliced bread if something tragic happens.

Outside of the 48-hour Michael mega-mix that several radio stations chose to air following his death, a number of other factors have led me to question the sincerity of many individuals’ displayed sorrow.

The foremost of these factors is the Tweet. I have sworn to never involve myself in Twitter because I simply cannot fathom very many people caring when I go to work, class, or have a particular gripe. Way too much effort for way too minuscule a reward.

However, for those who do invest time and energy into broadcasting their thoughts, feelings, and actions, Jackson appeared to be a very popular topic. Peaking at around 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, the phrases “Michael Jackson,” “MJ,” and “King of Pop” could be found in over 30 percent of all Tweets. The estimated user population (Twitter does not release official stats) is somewhere between 2 and 6 million.

This means that somewhere between 600,000 and 2 million people felt prompted to pay homage to the fallen star. I can assure you that of those who Tweeted that a large percentage have either told or laughed at a crude joke about Jackson. A larger percentage, I would hope, were vehemently opposed to his views of children and his behavior towards them.

I am not saying that we should bash instead of mourn. I am merely noting that it is best for those who were not actually grief-stricken by his passing to leave MJ alone. Do not pretend that you care just to fit in.

Radio stations get a pass because their sole concern is attracting listeners. Also, a lot of Jackson’s songs kick ass. He absolutely did know how to create a party mood.

Additionally, Sacha Baron Cohen decided that it would be best to eliminate Jacko jokes from his latest movie, Bruno . This also obviously gets a pass. Who knows how many people would be up in arms after hearing a joke that they’ve already told five to ten times? Cohen, like radio stations, needs to please the masses. Keeping the cheap-shots in there would not be a wise choice.

It goes without question that Jackson is the “King of Pop.” His hits have been danced to and sung along to by people young and old. One of my first cassette tapes was his Bad album. The first music video I saw was Thriller. During the years that I spent working at a summer camp with four and five year olds (please hold jokes and snide remarks), MJ was always the favorite sing/dance along artist.

However, it must be noted that a number of his actions were not acceptable. Regardless of the quality of his music, Wacko Jacko did some really messed up things. I say this as a caveat to those eagerly getting ready to hop aboard the bandwagon. Know that you can appreciate the music for what it is without embracing all that is Michael Jackson. He was a phenomenal artist, but a sub-par citizen.

I leave you with my favorite classic work of his.

As well as my favorite contemporary work/tribute.

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One Comment

  1. I enjoyed your post.
    And when I indicated in a post “… he’ll be missed.” was in regards to the talent he truly has, and at the general public that still hold tight to their “We love you Michael!” Syndrome. I enjoyed the music he provided, because he as an entertainer (in his day) was “Bad!”; but personally I thought there was something very wrong with him as a human-being.

    BTW, I also posted the “Smooth Criminal” video as it was one of my favorites.


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