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07/08/2009 @ 03:24 AM: I've avoided commenting about Michael Jackson's death because... well, does the internet really need one more opinion about it? I agree there's generally too much hype. But as long as we all keep watching our 24 hour news channels and patronizing the tabloid shows/websites/papers, the hype over such events will continue. If folks don't like it, the solution is simple: DON'T watch it. DON'T talk about. DON'T write about it. It is possible to avoid the hype with minimal effort, and it is even easier to simply NOT participate in it.

I only watched the last 30 minutes or so of the memorial, but that was enough time to see Jackson's daughter Paris' short speech. I, like many, had been watching everything prior with amplified lenses on, searching for and being critical of anything by the hosts, performers, etc. that seemed self-serving. But when Paris got up and spoke briefly about her dad, it hit me as a truly honest, genuine, and sincere moment. She was probably just trying to be strong and do something to honor her father, but she in all likelihood also accidentally painted a new image to his legacy most had never before considered, one that transcends all the hype: that of a father. Before Michael Jackson's kids were simply tabloid fodder and "objects" associated with him. But that was a real little girl there, in real despair, mourning the loss of her father.

I was on Facebook while I had the memorial on, and I found myself incredibly frustrated at some of the negative comments cycling through. Most of them centered around the hype of the event (which I already addressed above). But there and here (and everywhere) I just can't understand how people can so vehemently convict someone of acts in which they (they = you, me, everyone) have no real knowledge of the circumstances. Literally ALL of the accusatory comments I've read about Michael Jackson since his death base the foundation of their argument on headlines and/or a complete lack of knowledge of how the law works. Not one of us has any true authority to know exactly what did or did not happen. We all have merely an opinion--and a very uninformed one, at that. Yes, Michael Jackson looked weird and sometimes acted weird and was RUMORED to occasionally do weird things, but his talent and life were exploited from the time he was in single digits. And if anyone has ever had a brush with fame or knows someone who has, you can easily understand that for every one thing you do to earn fame or fortune, there are at least 100 people lining up to find a way to take advantage of it. I have found that in my own very minimal public successes in the music business; I can't even begin to imagine the extremes to which Michael Jackson dealt with it for 40-plus years.

I find the fundamental lack of understanding and the overwhelming bought of negativity surrounding Michael Jackson's death disappointing, to say the least. But I do believe his legacy as a pop icon will grow more positive with time.

thumbnail 001thumbnail 002thumbnail 003thumbnail 004Photo Chronology: 1996 to Today
thumbnail 005thumbnail 006thumbnail 007thumbnail 008Please feel free to peruse these memories from the AT photo archives.

Andrew Thomas