Sunday, June 28, 2009

This one's for you, Michael ...

To be honest, I never was one of your fans. And yes, over the last decade or two, whatever fame and adulation you may have garnered, was overshadowed -- with considerable support from a rapacious media -- by your eccentricities, of you which you had more than your fair share.

But then, I was not among legions - hundreds of millions, likely, perhaps even a billion or more, it appears now - of kids who had grown up listening to your music and who never gave up trying to emulate your style, especially your dancing. Yes, you were a god up in the sky to them, but you also made it possible for them to dream that they could dance like you some day. And man, you knew to dance, you knew to do things with your body that other grown ups couldn't even imagine doing; but not the kids, their minds, their bodies, were pliable, and the beat, and the music, it was so infectious, so contagious, they just had to go out and try doing it themselves. And they were happy to just try and to feel that they had managed to accomplish at least some part of what you did so well.

You delighted, you entertained, you, at least for a brief moment, uplifted the spirits of millions of people, young and old, not just in your town, not just in the country of your birth, not even just people of your race or color. You cut across all barriers, Michael, and when you sang, We are the world, it was utterly believable, for you had the ability to captivate the hearts of people from every culture and from every social stratum and from every generation.

You were an original, Michael. You took the seemingly ordinary, polished it, perfected it, enhanced it, transformed it, infused it with life, with power, with intensity, with passion, and yet made it all look so easy. You melded music, movement and drama into one seamless, inseparable spectacle. All the kids wanted to be you, be Michael Jackson, the greatest entertainer yet to walk upon the earth. Your influence stretches across the planet, and entertainers in every land owe at least a small debt to you. The film industry in India has constructed an entire genre of song and dance derived directly from your innovations.

Like many original and innovative persons who have graced this planet, your life was short, and tragic. Why is it almost a law of nature that those who give of themselves the most must also suffer the most?

But it's over now, Michael, you will suffer no more. The media will no longer mock, taunt and haunt you. The hacks will return to their sordid lives, but you will remain forever in the hearts of the masses you delighted. And generations from now, they will speak of the man who brought so much joy to life. They will still be doing the moonwalk.

Thank you, Michael, rest in peace. Know that you will be loved forever.

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