Friday, June 26, 2009

A Sweet & Talented Kid

By Scott Cavanagh
Michael Jackson is dead. Can that really be true? For a person of my particular age group, it’s impossible to remember a time when he was not there—on TV singing those stunningly mature vocals on the J5’s early hits; sporting the gigantic animated Afro in their cartoons; sporting an even bigger real 'Fro and freakin’ kids out with “the robot” while singing “Dancing Machine." I miss that Michael and have for decades.

As he tried to grow up in the public eye, the sex, drugs and rock and roll culture of the mid-seventies did not jive with Michael’s innocent “man-child” persona and protected lifestyle, and that’s sad. Perhaps in another time, he might not have been so tortured.

He created a wonderland of music and fun for other kids, but eventually had to build a fake one of his own--complete with carnival rides, hangers-on and bribed "playmates." It’s cliché now to talk about Michael's stolen childhood, particularly after he began using it in recent years as a pat excuse for his increasingly bizarre behavior, but facts are facts. While other kids played, Michael Jackson rehearsed. When other kids were eight and their moms were tucking them in at night--Michael was working topless bars in Gary with his brothers. The kid carried that entire family on his back for over a decade. That’s one heck of a burden to drop on any child. Perhaps that kid is finally free now… and that makes me happy.
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