Theater archives

RIP, Michael Jackson


Let’s put all jokes aside for a moment—all sardonic reminiscences of the Jesus juice, the child-dangling, the courtroom appearance in pajamas.

Let’s brush away any remembrances of his bizarre insistence on being called the King of Pop long after his career had been way overshadowed by his personal hijinx and bizarre epaulets. Let’s eradicate all cracks about his retractable nose, his whitefaced-features, his pet monkey, and his Disney-style ranch filled with representations of Pinocchio, whose nose grew bigger, interestingly enough. And out of respect for the dead, let’s flush bye-bye all awareness that he was a tortured soul who was filled with self-loathing and seemed intent on trying to eradicate his identity while living in a plastic bubble–an arrested child who some said should have been arrested for what he did to a child.

The truth is, I felt for Jacko–for the twisted childhood and paternal abuse he suffered, which made him even more uncomfortable being Michael Jackson than it sometimes was to watch him do so. What will eventually remembered–even more than the remarks about how a black boy had become a successful white woman– is the fact that onstage, when he was good, no one was better. No one could sing, swoon, spin, and twirl like the great pop star Michael Jackson. RIP, Jacko.