Yeah, this performance is pretty much a lame lip-synching with about one dance move in it.
Yes, "The Girl Is Mine" is one of the worst songs ever recorded in the history of humankind.
Yeah, I'm not that broken up about his death because it felt like he's been slowly decaying over the last 17 years anyway. It was surprising, but not at all shocking.
Yeah, I can totally believe that he was an abuser, which is depressing as all hell, and I still can't think of that time he impulsively dangled his baby off a balcony to show it to photographers without shuddering in terror. Yet I can also believe that he was such a strange and unique brand of fucked-up that he could've been telling the truth and just wanted to make a happy playtime land for kids because he had zillions of dollars with which to do it and no one could tell him not to. I even had a theory for a while that he'd egotistically intended his transformation from black man to white woman to be this big sort of 'heal the world' statement about equality and love for everyone in the world regardless of race or gender - making himself the nexus-point symbol of the concept. Ridiculous, perhaps, but the man wore sequined epaulets.
But in May of 1983, when I was 8 years old, and I saw him walk forward but float backwards on national television, it was honestly the last time I believed that maybe magic was real.
So yeah. I'm gonna listen to the songs I loved as a kid and the songs I still love now, the songs that make a big fat hairy old guy want to glide around a dance floor and spin circles on his toes, and I'm not gonna worry that I'm whitewashing his fucked-upness.
I'm hard pressed to think of any celebrity that has that ubiquitous level of worldwide appreciation in this, the age of divided attention and constant distraction. But back in the age of three channels, no computers and barely VCRs, someone could become that insanely popular, and it's hard to explain that level of fame. I don't know if that can happen anymore, barring being a world leader. The closest I can think is Bono, and I don't know if he counts. Maybe if Justin Timberlake exploded tomorrow, I'd be proven wrong. But I still think he needs another decade of good music, at least. I'm kinda thankful to that guy anyway, for giving us Michael Jackson-style grooves without the Mike, so we can all still dance around without that inner 'yeesh' feeling.