Michael Jackson's Funeral - Tell em That Is Human Nature

Posted by Miss Ess, July 7, 2009 01:50pm | Post a Comment
I found myself more emotional than I expected watching Michael Jackson's funeral today.

michael jackson

Basically, Stevie Wonder's performance shredded me, with a combo of "I Never Dreamed You'd Leave In Summer"/"They Won't Go When I Go," one of his most powerful songs.

Watching the service made me think about nostalgia, and in spite of myself and my own feelings about the circus known as Michael Jackson, mainly reminded me of something I was surprised to have forgotten: the power of music to unite, to heal and to inspire. The service presented in some ways (and in some performances) portraits from a different time not only culturally, but also in the music industry, when music had that power to unite, to surprise and delight us on a grand scale.

I hadn't listened to Jackson that much, really, since the early 90s. I wouldn't call myself a huge fan of his music, but like everyone the world over, his music was nonetheless the soundtrack to my life. In my case, it was Thriller, then Bad and Dangerous, but his work stretched amichael jackson thrillerll the way back to "ABC," and though he had been much maligned over the last few decades, his music and its influence have both been undeniable and inescapable.

Watching the funeral made me think about lost innocence, how Michael's was taken too soon by the road and by adult expectations. Berry Gordy said during the service that there was "happiness in [Michael's] soul when he performed." It was as though the joy had been squeezed out of the other parts of his life, except when he came alive on stage, and then it was so very palpable. He spent the rest of his life very blatantly and bizarrely chasing that innocence he had lost at such a young age.

Watching all the performers pay tribute to Jackson, I was reminded that my own childhood innocence and that of so many others was tracked by Jackson's music and videos, as though in a way he sacrificed his childhood to make that of several generations worth of kids' improved. By the time I was a teen, he had been rocked by scandal and all but disappeared. To the world at large he became a punchline rather thamichael jacksonn an artist or even a human, really.

Watching and listening to old clips and tracks the past week or so has brought me back to a simpler, more hopeful time, when at 5 I taped small change to a piece of paper to send to the children in Africa because of "We Are the World" and to a time when dancing alone could look like magic. It made me think about that feeling of magic and wonder how or when it slipped away.

I think when we mourn Michael Jackson (however it is that we may do so, on a large or small scale), we mourn our own childhoods, our own lost dreams.

No matter how you slice it, he was an icon, and his death presents a marked finality to an era in some ways, and another reminder of how far we are from what we once were.

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Stevie Wonder (16), Berry Gordy (3), Michael Jackson (57), Michael Jackson Memorial (3)