Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Tale of Two Jacksons

Over the next few days, we'll undoubtedly see reports on the two very different lives of Michael Jackson.

On one hand you had the brilliant musician who forged a trail as a pop music phenomenon. Mr. Jackson was an astute businessman who had the foresight to buy the catalog rights to his music as well as several other musicians - most notably owning 50% of The Beatles' collection. Michael's music was known in every corner of the world; his face and celebrity making him arguably the most recognized human being on the planet.

Michael Jackson was one of the first modern celebrities to use his fame for a noble purpose - his "We Are the World" production was a novel and instrumental effort in the power that celebrity can bring to world causes.

Then you had the other Michael Jackson. Chronically embroiled in lawsuits and under constant suspicion of child abuse. You saw a 7 year old boy trying to live in an adult body. And you saw an adult constantly trying to live with 7 year old boys. A horrific fire during a Pepsi commercial was followed by years of plastic surgery, reducing Michael's appearance to a common late night joke. And then you have the dangling of "Blanket" over a German hotel balcony.

His personal life was a tragedy, in part because of his inherent circumstances but largely of his own making. In spite of this, history will undoubtedly remember his ground breaking contributions to music and pop culture.

As with any death, my thoughts are (and yours should be) with his family.

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