In lieu of a proper obituary for Michael Jackson (surely you've read/viewed enough of them by now), I have collected some of the Best of Blogdonia, holding forth on the King of Pop.
Just when you think everything has already been said, someone adds something especially thoughtful; Michael Jackson's colorful life inspires still another writer or activist to go off in a different direction.
Open Thread: Remembering Michael Jackson at Racialicious, has some excellent comments and trackbacks.
By way of Isabel the Spy, I found Would Michael Jackson have been such a sensation if he couldn't dance?:
Michael Jackson did dance, he could hold an audience's attention by just dancing and not singing. He didn't have to stoop to pseudo sexual acts for shock appeal. And he made a lot of men, black, white, brown and yellow, want to dance just like him. Perhaps his dancing more than his music was what truly made him an international star.
TigerBeatdown comments on Michael Jackson, Celebrity, Empathy, and the Culture of Silence. Read the comments, too, which include one by your humble narrator.
Ballardian weighs in on Michael Jackson's Facelift from the purely surgical standpoint:
Scarring was hypertrophic at the points where tension was greatest: that is, in the temple and the region behind the ear, but fortunately these were covered by the King of Pop’s hair. The small fine sutures which were not responsible for tension were removed at 4 days, and the strong sutures removed at the tenth day. The patient was then allowed to have a shampoo to remove the blood from his hair. All scarlines are expected to fade, and by the end of three weeks the patient was back in social circulation.
And for even more cold, hard reality, you can always count on Socialist Unity:
The sheer extent of [Jackson's] fame meant that for him anything even approaching normality was as much a fantasy as standing on stage performing and being worshipped by tens of thousands of people was for his millions of fans. Unable to deal with the distorting and cloying reality of the pressure that was placed on him to be more than human, Michael Jackson did his utmost to escape into an imaginary world of childlike innocence and fairytale. His Neverland Ranch was symptomatic of a man who’d rejected a world in which he was surrounded by the demands of fans, managers, promoters, recording executives, and a legion of sycophants, for one in which he was surrounded by children and the innocence they represent.
Stories began to emerge of his relationship with a monkey, of him sleeping in an oxygen tent, and then later of his inappropriate relations with some of the children he took to taking with him around the world, which progressed into charges being brought against him of sexual molestation.
The physical manifestations of Michael Jackson’s personal collapse were all too obvious in the plastic surgery which turned him into a living, breathing monument to self loathing and mutilation. Increasingly, whenever he appeared in public, it was like looking at a man slowly turning himself into one of the characters from his Thriller video, perhaps in a conscious attempt to hide from a world grown ever more intrusive and unsympathetic.
Ultimately, the ridicule which dogged Michael Jackson while he was alive, ridicule driven by an unforgiving media and international press, was in inverse proportion to the deluge of tributes and fawning idolatry that has dominated the coverage of his death.
From Confessions of a Cryokid, here is A letter to Prince Michael, Paris, and "Blanket" Jackson:
By now you have probably heard all the major media outlets advertising that your dad is not your biological father, and that your mom is not your biological mother. I can only imagine how hard this must be, just days after your dad tragically died.
I am so sorry that you had to find out the truth this way, it's a cruel thing to do to a child - hide the truth about your identity and let strangers reveal it maliciously to you. Parents sometimes make these decisions (to keep a secret) thinking they are protecting their children. However, usually it backfires. Unfortunately, because of who your daddy was, this backfire has been made public and the entire world is watching you. It's not fair, but make the best out of a bad situation.
But don't feel alone. There are thousands (maybe millions) of kids out there just like you - conceived artificially and denied the right to EVER know who their biological parents are. You three can change this!! Stories are flying around that your dad's dermatologist is your biological father. If this is true, you deserve to know, to know him - as your father. Ask questions, demand answers! Not only can you find answers for yourself, you can help thousands of other kids and adults out there who were conceived the same way!
Your daddy will always be your daddy, nobody can take that away - and it will take time to mourn his passing. But you also have a biological father out there, and you carry half his genes. His is part of you - he even looks like you! While nothing can mask the loss of your daddy, I hope that your biological father will step up and give you guidance and love, and support through this rough time and as you grow up. You deserve that as children and as human beings.
You also deserve to know your biological mother, and I hope for your sake that she stands up and acknowledges herself to you and provides love and support. A child needs both a mom and a dad, and to have only one and lose him is tragic but to be denied the ability to know both biological parents is horrific.
If you ever come across this, in a few weeks, a few months, even a few years - please know that you're not alone and that there are many others out there pleading for these same rights...and that one day we will prevail.