Who was not shocked when they heard that Michael Jackson had died? I know I certainly didn’t believe it until I read it for myself. My sister informed us, “Hey, Michael Jackson is dead!” and I thought it was a hoax, maybe someone’s wishful thinking, because let’s face it: it certainly seemed like the man had no friends who would care to have him stick around. Upon checking every news outlet and confirming that indeed he had passed on, that feeling of blind-sided shock that accompanies a car accident in which you are the main star promptly overcame me. It was that same feeling of shock that came when we all heard of Princess Diana’s death.
Between that day and today, the media has been filled with all kinds of stories. Forget who will get the money of his surprisingly vast estate (I mean, weren’t we all led to believe that the man was completely and utterly broke? Turns out he could have cashed in that Beatles catalog for a cool billion dollars) and who will get the kids. Those kinds of stories are about par for the course. The kinds of stories that grabbed my attention were the ones discussing an entirely different facet of Michael Jackson. Normally, when a person dies, the media rehashes everything that we already know about the person. With this death, we’re seeing new depths.
For example, I had no idea that Mr. Jackson was something of a bookworm. I found myself, when reading this article, becoming slightly outraged that we were always given the impression that the man was a bit, shall we say, dim-witted. According to this article,
Largely an autodidact, Jackson was quite well read, according to Jackson’s longtime lawyer. “We talked about psychology, Freud and Jung, Hawthorne, sociology, black history and sociology dealing with race issues,” Bob Sanger told the LA Weekly after the singer’s death. “But he was very well read in the classics of psychology and history and literature . . . Freud and Jung — go down the street and try and find five people who can talk about Freud and Jung.”
For a man who could read Freud and Jung (for God’s sake, how many of us have done so?!), one of the greatest tragedies must be that he was taken for an idiot. Why did his handlers never make the media focus on his more intellectual side? I can’t imagine how they could have thought that would hurt his image.
While I couldn’t care less about either his moon-walk (ok, that’s a lie–I just saw his moon-walk on YouTube, and it was crazy good) or the tabloid sensationalism of his legal quagmires, I find it an incredible shame that we are being allowed, by the media, to admire him death. In a just world, we would have been allowed to admire more than his moon-walk in life as well. And something tells me that this newfound respect from the media has everything to do with money.