I've been repeating the news over in my head a couple dozen times, but it hasn't yet fully sunk in that we're living in a world that is now post-Michael Jackson. There's an enormous gravity to his death that I hope everyone else feels, thought it probably can't fully impact those who haven't experienced him in his prime.
The Michael Jackson I knew
The thrilling entertainer who exploded into greatness in the 1980s, his music stands on a league of its own, with versatility, passion, and an instantly identifiable voice. His dance ability, in case anyone has forgotten, was not only in a definitively unique style, but executed with unmatched skill. And most notable of all is the monstrous enormity of his celebrity. Probably the biggest celebrity my generation will know. The biggest celebrity ever? His impact was unprecedented, and may never be equated.
The tragedy of his death is dwarfed only by the tremendous tragedy of his life. When you reach the top there's no way to go but down, but his fall from grace was just as epic as his rise. I can only hope his legacy lies in his greatness-- before the child molestation, baby dangling, chimpanzee, private zoo, Peter Pan, Neverland-- all the weirdness that ravaged his reputation and alienated his fans. When it was all done, the undisputed King of Pop was a distant memory, replaced by this androgynous humanoid.
But perhaps the sideshow wackiness of his life served to enhance his legendary status. The reclusiveness and eccentricity made him, in his way, untouchable--distracting from his music and talent, but giving the man an otherworldly glow.
Michael Jackson was a god among mortals.
And now he's gone.