Music + Movies + Books

Michael Jackson.

(Photo by Chris Walter, 1983)

I don’t normally post things like this, but I am feeling so sad right now that I don’t know what else to do. Bear with me.

I’m part of the generation that’s old enough to remember Michael Jackson from before he became a punch line, but young enough to not think of him as a child prodigy. When Thriller came out in 1982, I was in second grade. Michael Jackson was 24, and he was a sex symbol like no other. He was mysterious. He was cute. He didn’t look, sound, act, or dance like anyone else—he had moves, he was magic.

The only things I remember about second grade are that my teacher was Mrs. Loeber, and that Thriller was HUGE. It’s impossible to overstate how infatuated the entire world seemed to be with Michael Jackson in the early and mid-’80s, and he deserved every accolade he received (and then some).

If you’ve ever tried to have a conversation with me about Michael Jackson, you know that I am one of those people who will defend him to no end. It kills me that his so-called “weirdness” has overshadowed his truly stunning talent for so many years, but I’ve always been able to look beyond that and keep an intense appreciation for all that he contributed to music and entertainment and dance and fashion. I’ve never stopped thinking that he’s magic.

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  • Reply maja June 25, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    he was gen x’s elvis. can’t imagine the world without him.

  • Reply feli June 25, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    I am with you. Although in 1982 i was just 2 years old by my earliest memory of MJ was when my sister and I heard his song BAD on my uncle’s vinyl and we choreographed a dance to it.

    I dont care what other people say about him like you I never stopped thinking that he is Magic.

    Thanks for sharing your MJ memory. :*)

  • Reply Jo J in NZ June 25, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    Anna, you’ve taken me right back to the summer of my twin town visit to Raunheim, Germany. The whole place was rocking to that tune, and I fell in love with Matthias M. while eating Spaghetti Eis.

    50 is young indeed – RIP, MJ.

  • Reply duet letterpress June 25, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    thank you. in my mind too he’ll always be remembered for his musicality, greatness + all that he’s contributed to this world.

  • Reply emily June 25, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    I know what you are saying…I was 6 in 1982 and MJ was beyond cool. I was driving home today and trying to think of anyone that I could compare him to today….no one. No one at all- I mean Justin Timberlake, John Mayer, The Jonas Brothers (can’t even name one of their songs, but anyhoo…) There isn’t anyone to compare him to. I am also sad that he has been seen in such an unflattering light in recent years, but that won’t change the fact that he was unique. It won’t change the memory of my brother and I dancing shamelessly to Thriller at a wedding last summer- and loving it all.
    It is okay to be sad, but remember the good times…

  • Reply Barb F (Australia) June 25, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    Michael Jackson was a true genius. I am the same age as you Anna, (maybe a couple of years older) – and he really was pure magic. The way he moved! His music! I still look at that Smooth Criminal video in complete awe. How does he do that 45 degree angle standing thingy? The answer? He’s Michael Jackson – he can do anything!

    I am so sad that he isn’t with us any longer. I saw him in his Blood on the Dancefloor concert at Wembley when I lived in London. AMAZING. He will be missed.

  • Reply PinkPatentMaryJanes June 25, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    So terribly sad. His talent was stratospheric and he was one of the few artists ALWAYS guaranteed to get me on a dancefloor – even if none were available.

    Lovely tribute.

  • Reply Adam June 25, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Very well said Anna.

  • Reply Carolina Eclectic June 25, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Magic and like Elvis…I couldn’t agree more. I’m so glad to see other people who never stopped being fascinated w/ his unimaginable talent.
    Great post.

  • Reply jennidi June 25, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Amen Anna. He was truly an amazing force in all of our lives and I too will defend his genius to the end.

  • Reply The Countess of Nassau County June 25, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    A musical legend, an astonishing performer, but also a pedophile.

    I too loved Thriller, danced to it, sang to it, memorized every song. I remember watching him perform “Billy Jean” on the Motown 25 special and thinking he was the most amazing singer/dancer in the universe.

    It was not just his “so-called weirdness” that alienated many of his fans and overshadowed his music. It was the 20M in hush money to cover up his “so-called weirdness”.

    Unfortunately will take years to separate Michael Jackson the artist from Michael Jackson the circus.

  • Reply yansy June 25, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    I just found out and I’m so sad. The music world won’t be able to recover from this. Farrah Fawcett also died today. What’s going on?

  • Reply Kathryn June 25, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    I can still remember the day I got Thriller on vinyl (the original in 1983). It was the first album I ever owned (actually I think my parents bought it for me and my brother) and as soon as I got home I sat there and listened to the whole thing while opening and closing the fold out cover, it was so cool. And still is.

  • Reply Anna at D16 June 25, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    Me too, Kathryn. I still have my copy all these years later – it’s sitting on my desk right now. I love the drawing of MJ and Paul McCartney on the inner sleeve!

  • Reply LaDonna June 25, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    my first concert was MJ in 1989 Bad

  • Reply Kristina June 25, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    I was born the year “Rock With You” was released. I love that song to the point where if I hear it, even if I am at a funeral, it is a contractual obligation, practically, to break it down. I remember being so excited the night the video for “Remember the Time” – my entire family watched that together and geeking out about Magic Johnson playing a pharaoh.

  • Reply DawnMarie June 25, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    I was driving when I heard the news. So, so sad. He was my childhood. He was never ending talent. I was just blasting his greatest hits CD in my car last week-end. Such a shame.

  • Reply T.L. June 25, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    I’m a HUGE fan of early 80s Michael Jackson – with my favorites being on the “Off the Wall” album. “Rock With You” and “Can’t Stop Till You Get Enough” are just…epic (LOVE how he keeps pushing up his tux jacket sleeves in the video for “Can’t Stop”!). And who wouldn’t have wanted to go on a date with that cutie back then? Just look at him on that album cover, and the Thriller cover. Squeal! Indeed, much better to remember him in his prime.

  • Reply Nicolette June 25, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    THANK YOU! None of my other fave blogs have mentioned him yet and after your post about Morrisey, I knew that I could count on you! I am getting the impression that more people than not are choosing to remember him for his amazing talent rather than his far from “normal” personal life. There never has been and never will be anyone like him. R.I.P.M.J.

  • Reply monique June 25, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    I am right there with you. I can’t believe this is happening. I just keep playing his videos over and over again. I have such strong memories attached to all of his songs and what he looked like dancing on MTV in the 80’s. I am crushed. Thanks for the post. Here is one of my favorites

  • Reply Anna at D16 June 25, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    Barb: I know, the Smooth Criminal video is crazy. He had moves that you’d swear were special effects…until you saw him do it again on stage!

    T.L. YES!!! Oh my god, the tux sleeves! He was SO cute.

    I remember hearing Off the Wall for the first time – must have been in 1980, my oldest sister Lisa was at college and she sent home a dubbed copy of the album on cassette (we didn’t really have any pop music in the house at the time). I still love to get down to it on every possible occasion. 🙂

    monique: I LOVE that song! (Such a great outfit, too.) Isn’t it amazing that he was only 22??

  • Reply kim de montreal June 25, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    Anna, thank you for your beautiful words. You expressed my feelings and memories exactly (except I was in the 4th grade), you described perfectly how we all felt back then. He was magical and even at the age of nine I desperately wanted to marry him. And I too have had to defend him too many times! I have actually kept all of my old MJ posters all these years, every time we cleaned out our storage room I just couldn’t part with them.
    I got a text message tonight from an old friend that chilled me, it simply read; Kimmy, he’s gone…..

  • Reply chi flat irons June 25, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    Even in death people still have bad things to say. Cant we accept and move on he lived his life not pleasing to most of us, but it was his life and his journey now it’s over let him go and rest in peace.

  • Reply Kathryn June 25, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    Oh yes! Thanks for reminding me of that, Anna. I haven’t looked at it for so long. I hope my parents still have it at their house. I’ll have to check next time I’m there, but I’m pretty sure they do.

  • Reply Catherine June 26, 2009 at 12:09 am

    I was in 2nd grade also. You remember more than I do. I remember in 6th grade doing “We are the World” in the talent show. I got to be Cyndi Lauper – that was his song too. While he might have become a little more eccentric in the recent years than we like to see in our music icons, he was still that – a music icon.

    Maybe we can all moonwalk into the office tomorrow …

  • Reply M2JL :: STUDIO June 26, 2009 at 12:21 am

    I’m still shocked! It’s a huge lost. He inspired so many people around the world.

  • Reply Amanda June 26, 2009 at 12:30 am

    I loved your post. You took the words out of my mouth. Heartbreaking.

  • Reply jen June 26, 2009 at 12:34 am

    I agree. I am a child of the 70’s and have even watched The Jackson Five cartoons. I too, have defended him as well. I am still in awe when my future husband and I saw him in concert in Maryland in the late 80’s. He was an entertainer like no other. It saddens me that all of the “fans” now come out of the woodwork. Where were they when he needed them?

  • Reply Nidhi June 26, 2009 at 12:38 am

    you wrote it beautifully. I didn’t actually grow up here so I didn’t feel the impact as strong but it trickled over. He was an amazing musician, entertainer and the best dancer ever. I remember when he came to India for a historic concert and I was a teenager. For months, he’s all we talked about and listened to. I think his dancing and music created so much energy and excitement and it was felt ALL over the world. 🙁 🙁

  • Reply Tamiko June 26, 2009 at 12:46 am

    thank you for your compassion, anna. he truly was genius. i hope he was able to reach some measure of peace in this life.

  • Reply Ann June 26, 2009 at 1:12 am

    I know exactly how you feel … it is such a sad day. And not only Michael, but Farrah Fawcett passed away too… two icons of my generation.

    Back to Michael … for sure his music will live on … on the radio or whatever medium of music that will come in the future and most especially in our hearts and memories.

  • Reply Lecia/A Day that is Dessert June 26, 2009 at 1:29 am

    A day of such sadness! I’ve felt nostalgic all day. I was in middle school when Thriller came out and we all were electrified by him at the time; all tried the moonwalk….

  • Reply Vicki @ Piccolo Takes All June 26, 2009 at 1:54 am

    My first Michael Jackson memory was at a roller rink in Union, NJ…On the back wall of the rink there was a giant projection screen on which they played music videos. Now, whenever I see the Thriller video, I am taken back to that day, when I stood there, leaning on the rink wall, mesmerized by the magic of Michael Jackson.

  • Reply malshag June 26, 2009 at 3:04 am

    thank you so much for writing this. i feel the same way.

  • Reply Sarah B June 26, 2009 at 6:12 am

    Very well said Anna.
    I am a kid of the 70’s and 80’s and loved Michael for his neverending talents. My sisiter had Thriller on VCR and I always thought it was soooo cool.

  • Reply Sammi June 26, 2009 at 6:21 am

    Well said Anna, very sad shock to the world.

  • Reply Jacqui June 26, 2009 at 8:05 am

    I’m with you Anna – he had a tortured life but he was a musical genius. I was shocked this morning and so sad – so many happy memories dancing to his music. When Thriller came out it was electrifying for us – our dance school did a whole routine to it and my girlfriends and I studied the video religiously. We were 14 and totally obsessed! I love the Jackson Five too – one of the highlights of my 40th last year was dancing to Blame it on the Boogie. Pure happiness on a stick. Such a loss…

  • Reply Frank June 26, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Thank you for posting this. I really didn’t expect to feel this sad. Michael has been a huge part on my life in a way – I spent so much time growing up listening to, watching and reading about him. I always thought he would die young but not like this at the eve of his comeback – I am in utter shock. He gave us so much, he is an incredible loss to the world.

  • Reply Abbey H June 26, 2009 at 8:54 am

    I’m totally with you on this! Michael Jackson was rad!

  • Reply Becky June 26, 2009 at 9:35 am

    I completely agree. I’m really upset about the news of his death, the fact that he will never make another song again. Although I’m 21, too young to remember when his hits came out, I still love his music and his moves.

  • Reply mc June 26, 2009 at 9:52 am

    i totally agree with you! i am so so sad today and was close to tears while i had my 11month old listen to the thriller album this morning. he was magic and i always loved and defended him too. i’m still in shock and sad that i never got to see his moves live.

  • Reply FROM THE RIGHT BANK June 26, 2009 at 10:02 am

    I couldn’t have said it any better myself. It’s an incredibly sad day.

  • Reply Yolande June 26, 2009 at 10:17 am

    I feel so incredibly sad too. Thank you for addressing it. I watched the Thriller video- I remember when it came out I was so scared watching it (I was nine). Now I look back and see again what an amazing and gifted performer he was.

  • Reply Emily June 26, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Hi Anna, I”m right there with you. Thanks for saying better than most of us could.

  • Reply Alina June 26, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Yes thank you – you’ve reminded me of how much I loved him (I’m the same age as you) and was obsessed by Thriller, and Billie Jean… and PYT… and how many hours spent learning a really shoddy version of the Moonwalk! I even had a Thriller wallet! You can do these things when you’re 8. I feel really sad for the gorgeous boy he once was.

  • Reply Nelly June 26, 2009 at 10:38 am

    I’ve had the “Off the Wall” CD for years in my car and would listen to some songs going to/ coming from work at least once a week. That’s the Michael I really liked!
    My kids (7 and 11) recently discovered Thriller when rehearsing for a school play and instantly loved it.
    We watched many many many video’s of Michael on You Tube and I was stunned that they loved his music so much. I even have video’s of them doing the thriller dance! Priceless…..
    They’re as sad as I am today.

  • Reply donna June 26, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Listening to MJ takes me right back to my childhood too. I can’t be the only one who had a red leather jacket with zippers all over in my grade school photo can I?

    People need to accept that sometimes genius is wierd. Who could have grown up normal in his shoes?

  • Reply Jennifer June 26, 2009 at 11:04 am

    I watched the entire thriller video at Disney World when I was in grade school and was completely mesmerized. I remember all of his videos on MTV and you are right, he was magic. Very sad.
    For the person above who called him a pedophile…it sure is interesting that he was never convicted even though more than 20m was spent on trying to. Weird, yes, issues, absolutely, but we don’t know the whole, true story. It also seems to me that if something like that really happened to me or my child, I would want them in jail and couldn’t be hushed up by money.
    Sorry, couldn’t help it.

  • Reply Keri June 26, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Agreed– I loved Thriller, Billy Jean, and BAD and am so sad right now and nostalgic for my childhood.

  • Reply puck June 26, 2009 at 11:30 am

    Whatever he became, it doesn’t overshadow what he once was. Watching people go crazy when he performed the Moonwalk for the first time during Billy Jean at the Motown 25 was magic. That is the charisma that performers dream of.

    I linked the vid on my blog. Amazing performance.

  • Reply Mary June 26, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Great post Anna. Despite all the negativity that has surrounded him in the last years, to me MJ will always be happy childhood memories…roller skating to “Beat It”, playing “Thriller” on my old record player (complete with flashing disco lights!) and the Christmas I got a Michael Jackson glove and pair of silver glitter socks in my stocking. I’m the same age as you and you are right, he was absolutely IT back in the 80s. He was magic…definitely. 🙂

  • Reply Anna at D16 June 26, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Jennifer: I don’t want to get too into that aspect of things right now (and I’m hoping the comments here stay respectful of how a lot of us are feeling), but suffice to say that I’ve always agreed with your suspicions completely. I think he was taken advantage of (and in ways we can’t even imagine) by so many people for so long.

  • Reply Jennifer June 26, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    I agree and I can tell in the media coverage that most people watching and commenting want to remember how talented and awesome he was. While I’m sad, its been very fun looking back at all of the videos and performances throughout the years. I loved the comment he was generation x’s Elvis. How true!

  • Reply June 26, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    I agree, I cried when I heard. I remember dancing to all of his videos in the basement with my dad! So sad.

  • Reply A Merry Mishap June 26, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    It’s all very sad!

  • Reply FINZI June 26, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Thank you for this wonderful post : I’m deeply moved by this loss and still can’t believe it.
    I had the privilege to see him in concert in Montréal Canada and it was just fabulous.

    Have a look at one of his unreleased vidio clips/songs :


  • Reply stacey June 26, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Anna THANK YOU for doing this. thus far, yours is the only blog i’ve seen thus far that gave any mention to the loss of this genius amazing man. i too grew up to witness the hayday of the thriller era. michael jackson is a staple of my childhood. i still have my original thriller album from when i was 8 years old. it’s worn, scratched, LOVED, and still dons the tiny blue and pink heart sticker i put on it to show my adoration all those years ago.

    he was my generation’s elvis. my generation’s john lennon. it’s such a complete and shocking blow.

  • Reply Amanda T. June 26, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Thank you Anna for posting this. I’m a few years behind you, so I missed knowing Michael in the proper context. But, I did love him and his music and am so saddened by his passing. Thanks to your prompting, we spent the evening watching each and every video we could get our hands on.

  • Reply Kari June 26, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Word. I am the same age as you and that pretty much sums it up for me as well. I’ve been having this argument with the youngsters here at work all day, they’re just too young to get it. NO, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE IS NOT THE NEW MICHAEL JACKSON.

  • Reply Ann Marie June 26, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with you. I was in high school in the early 80s and MJ’s music was it for me. I too always defended him to those that would make fun of him. He once drew a picture of a little boy (I think meant to be him) sitting in a corner holding a microphone. The boy looks scolded and sad. These words are written on the picture:
    “Before you judge me, try hard to love me, look within your heart then ask, have you seen my childhood.” Often times the greatest talents, suffer the most. I hope he knew how much he meant to so many people.

  • Reply Donna June 26, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    I love your post. Thank you. You’re right in so many ways. He was magic. “Magic Michael”. I like that. Have been reading so many nasty posts about him on facebook. It’s great to hear someone write something nice. I myself am devastated. I never believed what they said about him. I love him.

    God bless you M. Hope you get the peace you deserve. You’re in a better place, no-one can touch you now. Save me a place wherever you are xxx

  • Reply Karen June 26, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    I am 59 years old, having grown up with decades of fabulous music. I have been a Beatle-maniac, a Dead Head, and a Springsteen super-fan. In between those greats and many others, I have always enjoyed Michael Jackson…his talent, his moves, even his eccentricities. So whether you are a Gen-Xer or a Boomer, if you truly recognize the joy and beauty of ALL kinds of music, you will be saddened by the silence that has descended upon us with his death.

  • Reply Sarah June 26, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    I’m totally and completely with you. We’re the same exact age and I can still remember the day my mom let me get Michael Jackson puffy stickers at the Orange Plaza as one of the happiest of my life. And Off the Wall was the first 45 I picked out and bought with my own allowance money. RIP MJ.

  • Reply sweet fine day/Jenna June 26, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    Anna, been watching music videos with the kids the last 2 days and the older one especially is transfixed. Seems like the best way to celebrate his life. I must say that I’m getting quite annoyed with people trying to push some of us down who choose to remember his life with reminders that he is just one in many who died this week, that there is still a war out there, etc etc. What, we are not allowed to to mourn his death?

  • Reply megan June 26, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    it really is such a sad–tragic, even–thing. i’ve been watching his (iconic) music videos on youtube all day. i agree with what others have said: michael jackson was the elvis of our generation, the soundtrack to many of our childhoods. i was watching a cnn special about him this morning and a comment from one viewer, in particular, stuck with me: “he gave up his own childhood so he could make ours.”

  • Reply Danielle June 26, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    Thankyou for sharing such a lovely, heartfelt post Anna.

    My husband can bust out some of the best Billie Jean moves you’ve ever seen. MJ will always be fondly remembered in our household as the soundtrack to many, many fun times (mainly involving busting said moves at various events & weddings, including our own!)

  • Reply lisa June 27, 2009 at 9:44 am

    i am only 5 years younger than michael.
    i feel as though i grew up with him.
    i remember him on the mike douglas show, the sonny & cher show, american bandstand!
    I remember going on a family vacation: me and my three older sisters in the back seat of mom and dads big bonneville, driving through st.louis and hearing the jackson 5! Dad turned the radio up!
    Michael Jackson makes me smile!

  • Reply Lori June 27, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Having grown up in the 80’s but not really being a MJ fan, it is interesting to me to read all the comments. All of his choices, good or bad, are done now. In spite of his money and fame, he was a very troubled soul. To me this proves we need to find our joy in things money can’t buy. I bet Michael would have given it all up for some sense of normalcy and true love. I tend to disagree with all of the attention given to one person but respect the need for people to mourn… My prayers are with his kids and family.

  • Reply Anne June 27, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Ah, I was 20 years old in 1982…My siblings and I would be just glued to the TV when a new MJ video was shown on Top of the Pops (I grew up in England).Oh, the thrills, the excitement, the Thriller video! He really did rule the music world in the early ’80s. While I recognize that he was a tortured soul, his stature as an entertainer is way up there.

  • Reply Shelly June 27, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Amen Sister…amen! I’m the same age and even though in first grade I had a thing for Joan Jett, Thriller was the first music I ever heard that I could’nt get enough of. It’s part of my childhood. It’s rollerskating in the basement to PYT.

  • Reply Kitten June 27, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Thank you!

  • Reply Angela June 28, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Thanks for your lovely tribute. I can still remember the day I got Thriller on vinyl. I was 9 years old, it was the first album I ever owned, and it was pure magic. Michael Jackson was my idol growing up & I have so many happy memories associated with him, and that is what I’ll always remember. RIP Michael.

  • Reply JoDee June 28, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Oh my I am Michael Jacksons age and literally grew up watching him – all the lovely early songs – the fab colors and outfits- Amazing – I remember when the Thriller video came out – My ex was a DJ in the new found Video music clubs and we got a sneak peek – I remember being- in awe of the special effects- quite groundbreaking for the time – and the dancers – perfect- still is – thanks for posting your memories too –

  • Reply anonymous June 28, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    I read your blog quite regularly. I love most of what you show and have to say. Guess I was really disappointed by your ‘defend to the end’ attitude about MJ along with everyone else in the world who ‘turns a blind eye’ to things that are so horrible they just don’t want to address them. Sorry to be a ‘downer’, but I feel this side must have a ‘say’ as well.

    I will assume, for your sake and everyone elses who is ignoring the ugly part, that you have never known anyone who was victimized/molested by an adult as a child, or at least, no one who will freely admit it to you let alone the impact it has on the rest of their life. It’s a life sentence with no recourse.

    I know you (and hundreds of thousands of others) will argue, that he wasn’t accused, well, to that I say, neither was OJ or anyone who has celebrity and money. Hell, most child molesters aren’t ever punished. And it makes me sad and sickened that MJ, priests and any other average joe who contributes and/or ‘acts nice’ gets praise and a blind eye.

  • Reply Lindsay June 29, 2009 at 12:06 am

    Gah! Someone already mentioned it, but MAN did I love that 45 degree lean. And somehow, knowing that in concert he used special shoes ( since he obviously couldn’t use wires like in the video, so does NOT take away from that. In fact, it’s even cooler to me somehow.

    Ah MJ, you will be missed.

  • Reply Anna at D16 June 29, 2009 at 12:44 am

    anonymous: I went back and forth for a few minutes debating whether approve your comment — not because of what you wrote, but because you don’t believe in your words strongly enough to put your name on them. You even used a fake email address (which would only have been visible to me, so obviously it’s not a case of you wanting your privacy)! Why is that? Did you think I would send you hate mail? I don’t understand anonymity when it’s used as a means for expressing a strong opinion without any accountability.

    Anyway, I’m not sure if you’re looking for a response (or if you’re even serious, since you don’t want to use your name), but just for the record, I have never believed any of the allegations against MJ. I’m not “turning a blind eye” to something I think might be true, I’m reacting to the death of a person that I believe was taken advantage of over and over again by people he opened his life, trust, and money to. For what it’s worth, I think the children who were involved in the two allegations (and yes, it IS important to remember that the criminal charges were dropped in the first case, which never went to trial; and that MJ was acquitted in the second case that did go to trial — you can’t just dismiss those facts on the grounds that “OJ was guilty”) were themselves victims of the greed of opportunistic parents. I absolutely believe the children were irrevocably harmed by the accusations and the trial, but I don’t believe they were harmed by Michael Jackson.

    I have to wonder how much you actually know about the details of either case, and how much you’re basing on what is, for better or worse, common assumption. Have you read any of the official documents or transcripts? Do you have a good understanding of what evidence was and wasn’t brought to the table? Do you know the background of the parents in either case, or about the various statements they are on record as making? In my experience, the people who are quickest to stand up and point at Jackson as being “unquestionably guilty” are the ones who are reacting to the salacious way the cases were treated in the media, as well as to his unquestionably unconventional appearance and lifestyle (things that absolutely no one will deny).

    At the end of the day, you don’t have any special kind of knowledge that enables you to judge MJ with any greater degree of accuracy than I do. Just other people (famous and otherwise) have gotten away with all sorts of horrific crimes does not mean that Michael Jackson is also guilty by default. Every person is an individual and deserves to be treated as such.

  • Reply lisa June 29, 2009 at 7:36 am

    anna – re: your response to anonomous.
    I Concur with you! all this reminds me of a coworker/office girl who always has unsolicited comments and is always one upping everyone. the other day a different coworker was genuinely mourning the loss of a newborn/niece. the one upper says “oh, this reminds me of my miscarriage…”

    to all the negative nancys, naysayers, and passive-aggressives, i quote john cage from ally mcbeal.

  • Reply leni June 29, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    He was definitely awesome!

  • Reply Angela June 29, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Anna, I agree with you 100%. You’ve written a lovely, heartfelt tribute to Michael, and I don’t want to turn this into a debate about what he did or didn’t do, but Anonymous’s comments really struck a nerve with me.

    Anonymous – I’m not ‘turning a blind eye’, like Anna, I simply never believed the allegations against MJ. I am a mother of two and if someone had molested my child I would fight to no end to make sure that person was held responsible & put in jail – where they could never harm another innocent child again. However, instead of trying to put MJ in jail, the boy’s father was more interested in how much money he could get. How could any amount of money justify sexual abuse to a truly concerned parent?

    What I do believe is that Michael Jackson was an easy target – a wealthy & eccentric celebrity, who fell prey to bad people.

    Is it really so bad to celebrate the things we loved about him?

    Anna – I came across your blog by accident when I googled ‘painted white hardwood floors’ & have been addicted ever since! Your house is gorgeous & your ideas have inspired me to make bolder design choices.

  • Reply Kathleen June 29, 2009 at 3:13 pm


  • Reply JuliaL June 29, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Thank you Anna! I thought it was just me.

  • Reply Anna at D16 June 29, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Thank you to everyone for sharing your memories — the comments really made me feel happy. 🙂

  • Reply AMY June 29, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    I spent the better part of Sunday morning watching MJ videos on VH1 – so many good ones that seem like a lifetime ago! I couldn’t get over his moves in Smooth Criminal – we had to rewind our DVR a few times to check it out.

  • Reply Tamstyles June 30, 2009 at 2:57 am

    GO ANNA! I loved your response. Girl you could hang with me anyday! I love how you stand up for what you feel strong in. Keep it going girl! The world and its people can be so cruel and hurtful. So to the fact that he felt the need to cover his kids faces…or to move to a home that totally kept him apart from the world because it judged him so. Wonder why he didnt like his nose?? As a child when people are telling you over and over, or you over comments and read comments about how big it is, or ugly it is…you grow to dislike it. Again…cruel people. I wish people would do like he said and look at the (wo)MAN IN THE MIRROR…

  • Reply Vanessa June 30, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Anna, I really applaud your response to Anonymous. I’ve never believed the accusations either, and I think that the real tragedy in all of this isn’t Michael’s death, but more so his life. That people assumed so much based on his oddness. He was an easy target and easy to take advantage of. Thank you for putting it so well. I can’t believe all of this, either and feel so very, very sad about it.

  • Reply belinda June 30, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    I have to comment. What a response to the commentary left by Anonymous (see above). I believe he/she raised a valid point regarding Michael’s life. The charges against him for child molestation are a fact and although he was not convicted, those accusations shall not be go away for some. You can certainly say I choose to disregard (if not deny completely as so many people choose to do) those ill accusations and honor Michael for who he was as an artistic prodigy, but to attack anon about his/her supposed lack of knowledge of trial details & records and his/her question of authenticity. Come on. He/she just expressed their opinion. Why cross that line & invest so much personal energy? Simply show some courtesy, tolerance and respect and say I appreciate where you are coming from, but I choose not to acknowledge those deeply disturbing parts of Michael’s life and instead praise him soley for his musical artistry & childhood nostalgia. I studied Michael’s case in law school so I do have extensive knowledge of the charges against him, by the way. I will not state my opinion but I will say there is a remarkablly high percentage of people who do believe those accusations because they have been victims of child abuse. Incredible isn’t it? I am legal counsel for child abuse cases here in British Bolumbia. And I suggest Anna, you have empathy for those who have been traumatized in childhood abuse. I do not know if Anon is a survivor of abuse, but the signs are telltale possible. And so I understand his/her comment and accept it as such. I am hoping you and your readers will too.
    And about the email, yes we don’t know you, Anna, other than Door Sixteen blogger. And you don’t know me other than a reader responding to a comment (I am real or I wouldn’t be writing this, right?) And whether you choose to post this is up to you (although I see no reason why you wouldn’t). Email addresses are very personal. But know that this isn’t.
    Keep up the otherwise inspiring posts. Now back to my kitchen renovation.
    Sincerely, Belinda

  • Reply Anna at D16 June 30, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    belinda: I appreciate that you have chosen to only acknowledge Jackson as a musician and for reasons of personal nostalgia, but for me, it’s far more emotional than that. This should not come down to some kind of “competition” between people to see who has more personal experience with child abuse — this is about acknowledging the life of a person that was horribly taken advantage of and has been used as a punch line for endless numbers of hideous jokes about very, very serious subjects. I challenge your argument that it’s empathetic to simply sweep that aspect of Jackson’s life under the rug for the sake of those who have been abused. The salacious (and even humorous) manner in which allegations of sexual abuse are treated by the mainstream media and society as a whole is incredibly damaging and belittling to the very real effect of abuse on those who truly ARE victims — surely as legal counsel for these types of cases you must be aware of that.

    You and I are in no position to judge whether “anonymous” was ever a victim of abuse, just as neither you nor s/he is capable of making that same assumption about me. I am, however, fully within my rights to defend my choice to recognize Jackson’s contributions without making any excuses or disclaimers. I will not stand by and be told that I am turning a blind eye to something just because I don’t want to address it. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  • Reply Anna at D16 June 30, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    And with that, I think it’s time to close the comments on this post.

    Thank you to everyone who contributed, whether it was to share memories of growing up with Michael or to express concerns over my beliefs.

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