Saturday, 12 November 2011
Musing on the death of Michael Jackson
On Monday November 7, the talk of the town was the verdict of Doctor Conrad Murray who was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson. Jury found Dr. Murray who was hired as MJ's personal cardiologist with $150,000-a-month salary, acting with criminal negligence. Here is my musing on the death of King of the Pop's. This is my second time posting this reflections. The first one was a month ago following Piers Morgan interviewing MJ's brother Jermaine.
A Tribute to Michael Jackson...
L.A. to get Jackson reimbursement… (LA Times 6/19/2010) The title grabbed my attention. Almost a year after his death, he is back in the paper. The article was about Michael Jackson’s estate to help pay the cost of his memorial service at the Staple center in downtown Los Angeles. Memories rushed to my mind. What an unfortunate death! What an irony to have a private doctor by your side plus bodyguards 24/7 and not being able to prevent a cardiac arrest.
Flash back: October 28, 2009 – I made sure that my calendar was clear, because I wanted to be among the first, to watch the silver screening of “This is it”, the documentary movie of Michael Jackson’s rehearsal footage of his failed concert in London at 02 arena. My son and I chose to go to the showing of 7:30p.m. Did I like it? I can only say that the world has missed an uttermost concert. The critics described it as a “feverish grip of pure creativity.” I say it was magical – a mélange of dizzying dances and powerful stage techniques with Michael Jackson in total control of every move on the stage. Sitting there watching the movie with wet eyes, a thought was swirling in my mind, “What a shame that he couldn’t make a comeback.” In my eyes, he was still the sweet kid, the soft-spoken MJ. I could not see a fifty-year old man. There was no hint of his failing health, something that I was expecting to see. Instead I saw him as agile as 20 or 30 years ago. The movie, definitely re-established the value of his music and proved that he was genuinely a thriller.
Flash back: Sunday October 26, 2008 – just five days before Halloween. We are in San Diego having dinner at an outside café in Gas-Lamp district. As we sit there I notice groups of young adults wearing shabby clothing with frayed hair. Some have bandaged their heads. Some have wrapped themselves as mummies, with blood-like stains all over, and some are wearing misfit clothes. The groups are parading at the sidewalks with unusual strides, some limping, some moving their arms slow, in zombie-like motions. Curious me – I ask an approaching kid. “ What is this all about?” the kid answers, “It is to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s the Thriller.” “Oh! Michael Jackson,” I think to myself, “he has been absent for so many years. Has it already been 25 years? Hmm, most of these kids were not even born, then.” A nostalgic sense envelops me. Why is it that the talent of most geniuses is overshadowed by their enigmatic lives? That day, I was happy to be there and watch the re-incarnation of the “Thriller” but deep in my heart there was a black spot, a question mark about his legal issues with young boys. The parade was a great tribute to a genius, an eccentric performer, who took pop music to the never-traveled heights.
Flash back: 1979 – We have just moved from Iran to the United States. I am watching on TV, a documentary about Michael Jackson’s life starting when he was a kid dancing with his brothers in their group – Jackson 5. Until that moment I had not even heard his name. Watching MJ sing, dance and moonwalk in his white bodysuit was awe-inspiring. The seven-year old Michael, with a big Afro leading his older brothers in a group dancing and singing, won my heart instantly – I thought he was so cute. And then years succeeded… the boy became 25, 30 and 50. His life shrouded with enigma with litigations and odd relationships, made the electrifying MJ to disappear. And then on June 25, 2009, we learned that the ultimate Peter Pan passed away. And then there was the barrage of clips from his life and his previous shows on TV. Thirty years later, I sat down again in front of the TV, and watched his twirling and chirping, this time with a heavy heart. Maybe through the eyes of my mind I was watching my own life go by so fast. When on July 7, his poignant memorial service was aired on TV, I thought to myself, “why did we have to loose him to recognize his genius?” How sad, that his death brought him back. Unfortunately all too often it happens, to all of us at one point in our lives, when we don’t recognize our blessings until it is too late.
June 29, 2010 – Four days after the anniversary of his death, and when the dust had settled, I went to Forest Lawn to visit the King of Pop’s burial place and to see for myself the outpouring of grief from around the world. I had read in the paper that fans had come as far as Spain and Japan to pay respect and to commemorate the first anniversary of his death. And I living in Glendale, California where the cemetery is situated had missed the opportunity to be with his fans on the day of the anniversary. Michael Jackson’s body is interred inside a mausoleum. One cannot see the tomb because it is enclosed behind walls. But outside of the Mausoleum for about 40 feet along the walls, there were all kinds of memorabilia from white gloves to flowers, poems, flags of different nations, all laid down. When I arrived it was around 4:30 in the afternoon. There were a few groups of people, a middle aged husband and a wife, a mother with her kids, a young couple, all paying the last tribute to a singer that they had loved. I am glad that I could make it there, even few days late, to witness the sadness in the eyes of the people who were still hanging there.