Whats The Big Deal About Michael Jackson?

All the hoopla about his death made me ask the question, Why is everyone acting like its some great tragedy.

All people have done over the last several years is bash the guy, make fun of him, or automatically assume he was a pedophile,( I’m not trying to say if was or wasn’t) but now that he’s dead its all tears and fond memories.

Now I can vaguely remember when Jackson was a some sort of singer/performer a very long time ago. Yes he was a massive hit machine, yes his music and performances have worked their way into the fabric of pop culture, and yes he was very…unique would be the right word. But when was the last time he put out anything decent, hell when was the last time he put out an album of new material?

I know he had some upcoming performances planned but when was the last time he performed, other than his dance routine on top of a car at his trial?

I admit he was an extremely influential performer but his glory days ended a long time ago. Perhaps if he hadn’t of died and was able to revive the musical aspect of his career, his death down the road may have had a greater impact. But he died now, and he died as a faded pop star, nothing more, nothing less.

Because it always happens when a major celebrity dies, especially when he dies young. His fans have a connection to him (technically not personal, but they think it is), so they mourn. The same thing happened to James Dean, Elvis Presley, John Lennon and, to a lesser extent, to Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison.

Jackson had a lot of fans (I wasn’t one of them, though I did think his music was OK) and they react. If Brittany Spears dropped dead tomorrow, the same thing would happen.

I dunno, he was one of the most famous people in the world. And his death was unexpected. Despite the fact he hasn’t been relevant musically in over 10 years, he’s still been pretty prominent in the media and I know a LOT of people who still listened to his music pretty regularly before his death.

I totally agree. Jackson hit his height with Thriller and people were already making fun of him when Bad came out. I remember when the video for Bad came out and people were saying how embarassingly lame it was. It was pretty much downhill from there at least in the United States.
Do you know anybody who bought his History album? Dangerous? Nobody was talking about him as the King of Pop past the 80s and nothing he did past then was noted for its inspired genius. The only thing he was noted for for the last two decades was his odd behavior.
When he was great he was great, but that was a loooong time ago.

Long story short, he released the biggest selling album of all time, had nine platinum singles, 16 gold singles, nine #1 singles in the 80’s, four albums that debuted at #1, 28 top ten hits and 37 top 40 hits, etc. etc. ad nauseum. His star may have waned recently, but the accomplishments he pulled off prior to that make him still pretty unique in music history. The Beatles and Hendrix haven’t put out a lot of hits recently, either.

Not by me. Honestly, given everything he’d been through in the past thirty years, I never expected him to live this long. To wit, people who are as chronically underweight as he was, who abuse prescription meds like he did (the man popped a pill DURING A DEPOSITION, for crying out loud), and who’ve had the number of medical problems he had usually don’t live to be Jack LaLanne’s age.

Just because his time had passed doesn’t mean he isn’t still beloved. And he was as big globally as anybody, ever.

You’re kidding, right? “Bad” was huge - people were surprised about how different he looked, but that video was the joint. Same with “The Way You Make Me Feel.” Dangerous was massive as well, with “Black or White,” “Remember the Time,” and the others. HIStory had two #1 singles, “You Are Not Alone,” and “Scream.” I would agree that the magic more or less ended there for MJ, but I would rate his decline about 12 years after you.

Did you know that HIStory is #2 on the Jackson sales list, after Thriller? 20 million sales of a double album.

Just because the press does lurid stories on Jackson’s train wreck of a life does not mean that his fans don’t still love him. The man was severely disturbed, and undoubtedly a pederast. The press reported on this ad infinitum, to its considerable profit, but to a Jackson fan he, well, had his quirks.

And why not? He has fans because he made good music, not because he was a pillar of the community. The music is still good, and music is important. There’s not an expiration date on it. You don’t ask the Beatles or J.S. Bach, “What have you done for me lately.”

I’m not a Jackson fan. I think he was a nasty little perv. But I’m a Beatle’s fan, and I know that there are things about John Lennon, in particular, that are a bit out there. But I was broken-hearted when he was murdered, and it still upsets me. Why? Because the guy changed my life. Music can do that.

As mentioned, History has sold more than 20 million copies - easily one of the best selling double discs of all time. Dangerous has sold more than 32 million copies (more than any single Beatles album).

No, I’m not aware of any of my friends buying a copy - I’m not a fan or anything. I just wanted to point out that maybe your view is skewed.

It also has a lot to do with the fact that Jackson was in many ways the last music artist to really DOMINATE culture. “Thriller” wasn’t just a teen sensation; everybody (well, most everybody) loved it. It was cross-generational in its appeal, and it absolutely pwned everything else. After that distribution and media started changing and evolving, and music splintered off into more and more genres and sub-genres and niches. Chances are very good that we will never have another music artist who so thoroughly permeates pop culture. That’s a big accomplishment, even if it was twenty years ago, and it’s bound to get people nostalgic even in the face of all his recent craziness.

It is total media hype. Nothing more. Nothing less. John Bonham’s passing should be immortalized compared to this knutjob.

HEE-HEE (just touched my crotch area).

Check out James Brown catalog if you really want to know. Seminal stuff and much better without the stage production bs.

It’s not media hype – the fans are there. And reaction has nothing to do with quality of music.

(Keith Moon was a much greater loss than Bonham, who was certainly competent, but no Keith Moon. At this point, I’d call Bonham the most overrated rock drummer ever – good, certainly, but there were many others who were just as good and who the fanboys don’t drool over. Hell, no one who followed music in the 70s would even rate him in the top ten).

In any case, Jackson was a massively popular artist. No one other than Zeppelin fans knew who Bonham was; everyone knows Jackson. Same with James Brown. It’s not about quality; it’s about popularity and Jackson was so far ahead of them that they couldn’t see him with a telescope.

I’m not a fan of Jackson. His songs were good, but there isn’t much there for me. But I’m not one of those who bought his records. I can easily recognize why he’s so popular, especially with so many examples of this thing happening (again, Lennon, James Dean, and Elvis come to mind). It’s no mystery and there’s no point in being deliberately obtuse about the phenomenon just because he wasn’t a favorite of yours.

It is media hype in the amount of news coverage still being devoted to this. It was a slow news period, and the media latched on to this as their current meal ticket. Something will come along to bump this off their radar, soon enough.

Had MJ not died, we’d’ve probably been getting threads bewildered as to why Farrah Fawcet was such a Big Deal and people talking about how that poster of hers was such a seminal influence in their formative years.

Eh, it happens.

Michael mania started before Thriller. The Jacksons were kid superstars. Everybody else was adults. Then you have the 80s singing group boom(New Edition, NKTOB, Five star, Troop et al). For some reason all those 80s groups had 5 members. I wonder why that is.

Meanwhile Michael goes on to become the biggest solo artist ever and you start getting your Ushers and your Timberlakes. Michael’s musical influence is far and wide. He had a huge cultural impact.

Kurt Cobain got the same treatment with a smaller body of work. But he spoke to millions and they were saddened by his death. Same with Michael.

Count me as another one who just isn’t feeling it. Sure, I understand the grief on a theoretical level, but even though I’m in precisely the right age group (34 years old), I’ve got nothing more than a “meh.” So he had some hits in the eighties. It’s not as if his music aged that well - it’s less the soundtrack of my youth than the elevator music of my youth - and really, there aren’t that many things about the eighties that aren’t vaguely embarrassing these days. I mean, he’s no Bruce Springsteen.

Unless, of course you happen to be a member of, or fan of, Led Zeppelin.

Let’s try to avoid a youtube-style fanboy pissing match about whose favored musician could stomp on the other guy’s favored musician.

They at least have the excuse of being dead.

I think this is worth saying. I was trying to think of someone else who would touch everyone (no, NOT like that) in the same way and I couldn’t. Sure, everyone knows who Britney Spears is. We’ve all heard one or two Radiohead songs. Or Coldplay or…I don’t know. I’m out of touch. But there’s not really one band everyone would mourn collectively.

What about the fact that people have complained about the political situation in Iran not being covered adequately enough because of all this MJ stuff?

You could probably go to peasants working a rice patty in Cambodia, or a retirement home for centenarian Jewish immigrants in Boca Raton, or to a group of aborigones in the Outback, or the butler in a Habsburg palace somewhere in central Europe, or a cab driver in Cairo, or a Kalahari bushman in Namibia, or a former KGB operative living in Archangelsk, or a class of 10 year olds in Liverpool, or a Taliban warlord hiding north of Kabul, or an Eskimo fueling his snowmobile, etc., and- providing you speak the language- tell them “Michael Jackson is dead”, and while they may not burst out crying or feel anything emotionally, most and possibly all would know who he was. More people would recognize a picture of his face(s) than would recognize Obama’s probably- possibly more than would recognize a picture of Jesus when you move out of Christian countries.

I’m trying to think of other living artists you could do that with- Paul McCartney maybe, or Mick Jagger, that’s about it. Unlike McCartney and Mick Jagger, whose personal lives are known about to a degree but not particularly interesting (they’ve both shagged a lot of women, married some women and had a bunch of kids), Jackson’s private life was probably more famous than his music. The chimp, the kids, the surgeries, the ever changing appearance, the allegations, the children who were allegedly his and traveled the world looking like the child brides of a sultan. I knew *many *times more about him than I know about my next door neighbor.

Neverland: how many celebrities own a house that is famous? Elvis and… well, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford had one in their day but… actually, you’d probably have to go back to the silent film days to find a star as universally recognized as Michael Jackson; Valentino might would have cut it.

And to borrow the line from Inherit the Wind: “A giant once lived in that body”. He did things others couldn’t- the voice, the dancing (omg, the dancing- James Brown on his best day in his prime couldn’t touch him, he had those “humans can’t do that!” moves), and apparently still did. He was a world class lunatic who went through two trials for child molestation allegations- the suspicion of such a thing would destroy most careers, let alone a trial- yet when his London concerts were announced, 25 years after his heyday and after the scandals, they sold out instantly. If he’d added 30 more concerts the same thing would have happened.

No question that the media is having an orgy that would make Caligula blush over the whole matter, which is to be expected. On Daily Show Stewart said something to the effect of you know the world is upside down when Corey Feldman is interviewed as an expert on something; I half expect the kid who cuts his sister’s grass to be interviewed before it’s done with. But, it’s warranted.

I never bought a single album, CD, record, or piece of Michael Jackson merchandise. Not a boycott- I’m just not into pop- yet God knows how many hours of conversation I’ve had about him if you add it all up. And you somehow knew he wasn’t going to die of routine cancer at an old age.

He was a demigod, no question about it. He was something other than human, almost literally: in morality, in appearance, in lifestyle, in movement, and most of all in talent. It was as if the confines of a mortal bodily avatar were constraining to him and he didn’t know how to act. This is probably the closest you’ll be able to say you saw the funeral rites for a god.

It’s just a pity that you’ll see them 39 times a day for the next 6 months.

And that he fucked kids.