(Ed. note: Since having thwacked us into covers mode with her Friday Parting Shots guest post, Lemmonex returns with some thoughts on the passing of MJ...)
I have a memory that I am not entirely sure is accurate. It's one of those childhood blurs that I may have incorporated as a result of constant retelling, not of actual recollection. I choose to believe this mental snapshot is mine and not some sort of fabrication pieced together over the years.
I was a little girl, about four-years-old. My mom had driven my younger brother and me to Syracuse to visit my Aunt Carol. It is the first time I remember meeting my cousin Sara...she was perhaps a year old. My aunt put on the "Thriller" album and I danced wildly in her apartment. It is a somewhat muddled memory, but I remember flinging myself gleefully on her water bed and my mother and aunt laughing as I practically bounced off the walls. I was a pretty wound up child so didn't need much encouragement, but if Michael Jackson doesn't force you to dance...well, you may be dead.
This is one of my earliest memories, a moving Polaroid that always brings a smile to my face. In the past several days, I've read countless blog posts peppered with similar tales. Such a cultural force was MJ that these stories cannot be avoided. Everyone wants to share their remembrances of a man who no doubt was devastatingly talented and a true visionary.
What I cannot help but reflect on is while so many of us were touched by his words and music, there were countless people impacted by the man's eccentricities and his certainly odd curiosity with young boys. While we have been constantly reminded in the days since his death to focus on the man's talent and promise, and not the pathos which enveloped him, I can't help it. Though it was never proven he touched those children, at the very least he had a highly inappropriate relationship with them. His own children were held veritable prisoners in their own homes and forced to wear masks in public, robbed of any sort of normalcy. He leaves behind crippling debt and a somewhat unsure future for his sons and daughter.
It seems some people are so concerned about defiling the crown of the king they turn a blind eye to his sins. I have a hard time separating the music from the monster, the talent from the tormentor. I danced to his songs this past weekend, blaring "Dancing Machine" and "Dirty Diana", enjoying the simple pleasure they brought me, smiling as I thought of a little girl in pigtails jumping on furniture. I just can't help but feel a bit conflicted about celebrating the man, no matter how much I want to, knowing what he has done to the childhood of others. These simple stories are ones these kids will never have the joy of recounting.