Get your ticket right
I did not get into Michael Jackson during the Thriller era. It had something to do, I think, with the fact that the rich girl in school (the only one in town who had cable) had a tape made of the huge video special of the lead song and brought it to class to show. For one, the video scared me a bit (I was eleven, but still a wuss), and for two, I was really jealous of Patricia for having the attention. But I knew about the songs, because you couldn’t not, and I knew about parachute pants, and I’m pretty sure my little brother (very little at the time) had a red jacket with eight zillion zippers on. However, it wasn’t until Bad came out that I got into MJ, and it was entirely because of the "Smooth Criminal" video. I liked the visuals of it, and I liked the sound of the song. I liked it so much that I bought the whole album, and checked the Thriller LP out from the library and listened to it over and over. Then I saved up my money and bought Moonwalker.
Moonwalker is the weirdest "movie" you’ll ever see. It’s nothing more than ego masturbation, but it is so disjointed and weird and full of such oddities that it becomes good in the same way that Mommie Dearest is good. No one in my family can hear "It’s just a plug" with out doing it in MJ falsetto, and we all laugh, and anyone not in the family wonders what drugs we’re on. (Go here, and scroll to 9:20. Or watch the bizarre transformer/ascension bit too. No one will know.) If I got rid of the VCR tape, it was recently, which means I have hung onto that thing for close to twenty years.
Jackson has been, though, since those days when I was eleven until now, a strange, surreal persona. I didn’t understand him in my adolescence, enjoyed him (with a bit of hesitation) in my mid-teens, and then watched him drift out into stranger and stranger waters as I aged. For a long time now I’ve seen him as someone very, very talented who is also quite likely the most surreal person I’ve ever seen. I’m sure he was a very real and true friend to many people and that a real man is being mourned today, and my thoughts are with them. I’m also relieved for him, though, that after all these years he is, finally, free from that gargantuan persona.
Everyone is posting concert footage video or classic cool stuff. I of course am going to post one of my favorite bits from Moonwalker. This is the "Speed Demon" sequence, where Michael, after running away from many too-adoring fans, dons a rabbit costume and runs off into the desert. Hijinks ensue, as does extreme oddity. My favorite is the rabid grandmother.
Good night to the prince of pop, and may you rest, deservedly, in peace.