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Michael Jackson leaves the building

A nice piece by Jesse Walker at Reason about the late Michael Jackson. I think Off the Wall was one of the first pop albums I remember listening to, and of course Thriller, with that unbelievable video, was the one that helped propel MTV as a vehicle for music. Those two records remind us not only of what a great performer Jackson was in his heyday, but also of the musical genius of Quincy Jones. Yeah baby!

I also sympathise with Jonah Goldberg, who is a bit caustic about the whole spectacle of mourning. The weirdness and the allegations of criminality that swirled around Jackson in his life are well chronicled, and should not be brushed under the carpet. And remember that people, who are unknown to all but their family, work colleagues and friends, die of heart attacks every day. The truth is, that unless we take a bet on cryonics and join the Singularity, that the Grim Reaper gets us all eventually.

23 comments to Michael Jackson leaves the building

  • the last toryboy

    Once so rich and yet he died almost penniless.

    Plenty of vultures swarmed around that poor guy to pick at the easy meat – that money didnt vanish, it got hoovered up by the unscrupulous. He was just too naive for this world.


  • And let’s not forget the Cleethorpes connection.

    Yes, really!

  • RRS

    It may be worth considering how the “importance” and “values” assigned to diversions and entertainments (and thus the lives and incomes of those who provide them) have grown over the past 75 years (perhaps a bit longer).

    It is not exactly “bread and circuses,” but is that growth, especially in spectator (vs participatory) sports equally symptomatic?

  • mac

    That this character could have continued to be acknowledged by anyone who considered themself a decent person simply appalled me.

    He was a criminal pedophile. Bury him quickly and let us be done with him. His passing is no loss.

  • Paul Marks

    A sad thing for both the family and the friends of Mr Jackson – but I wish Fox News would not go overboard whenever something like this happens.

    When will they learn that people do not watch Fox News for the “rolling News” (an old hat concept now anyway) element – we (the viewers) watch for the current affairs nonleftist opinion shows that we can not get anywhere else.

    This “let us take off people’s favourate shows to have endless coverage of one news story” is very irritating.

    Yes if it is “L.A. has been nuked” – no if it is “well known person dies in L.A.”

    Fox News attracts a different viewer demographic to the Fox of “American Idol” and so on, and it is about time the management understood that.

  • Richard Garner

    Have the jokes started yet?

    The first I heard: Its sad, its sad, you know, its sad.

    Second: Michael Jackson’s death now appears to be a case of murder. The Sunshine, and the Moonlight have both been cleared of charges, however the Boogie will remain in custody for further questioning.

    Response to that: Well, it may be too early to blame it on the boogie, but what a thriller! It could even have been the man in the mirror. I guess none of this is black or white.

    Further response: The girl did it! The girl is so dangerous.

    From an official source: “it has been decided that since Micheal Jackson is 99% plastic, instead of being cremated he will be melted down and turned into lego bricks so that’s kids can play with him for a change”

    I heard it wasn’t a heart attack. He was found in paediatrics having a stroke.

  • The truth is, that unless we take a bet on cryonics and join the Singularity, that the Grim Reaper gets us all eventually.

    I realise this is not the point of the posting, but what the hell.

    You are making assumptions about the nature of and what lies beyond the singularity, whereas by its very definition we can have no such knowledge.

    That is the whole point of calling it the singularity.

  • John W

    As far as Jackson’s career was concerned, his fashion sense was infantile, his whiney, girls voice was an assault to the ears , his music was lyrically banal and melodically insipid, and his silly twitchy dance movements [groin grasping, anyone?] were an embarrassment.

    As for the man – Mac said, ‘That this character could have continued to be acknowledged by any … decent person simply appalled me. He was a criminal pedophile. Bury him quickly and let us be done with him. His passing is no loss.’


    Good riddance.

  • tommylei

    He inspired us all. A legend.

    Michael Jackson’s Final Madison Square Garden Shows (photos)


  • OK, I’ll bit. I acknowledge Michael Jackson AND consider myself a decent person. So there! Who knows whether my friends will confirm my assessment.

    Look, lots of artists are weirdo semi-criminals. If you want art and morality all at the same time, you can find it, but you’re limiting your choices. Michael Jackson made great pop music and had an overall positive effect on the music industry. Let’s admit this fact and discuss the paedophilia separately – because they are, in fact, separate things. Prison is for people who commit crimes, and accolades are for people who do good work. There’s no logical reason why they can’t sometimes be one and the same person.

  • Gandhi used to sleep with naked underage girls to test his vow of celibacy.

    You decide.

  • Gary

    All the little kids can sleep better now that the child molester is dead..

  • i dont understand, if his family knew he was on drugs why didnt someone help him, especially his parents. both of his parents are alive how could people watch micheal kill himself. even all the sisters he has why didnt some intervene. i know he was 50 but everyone needs help sometime. all of this could have been avoided if someone step up and help this child. it almost like anna nicole smith again. when will we stop ignoring people with problems. this is so sad, i am so sorry michael died.(Link)

  • Johnathan Pearce

    dsmalls, I expect we’ll be reading a lot about his use of painkillers in the next few days. This is a serious issue of social policy: I have read dozens of stories about people who are addicted to painkillers or who use them to such an extent that it damages their health.

  • John W

    ‘Gandhi used to sleep with naked underage girls to test his vow of celibacy.
    You decide.’

    I decided long ago that Gandhi was a nappy-wearing racist f***wit.

    ‘I do not consider Hitler to be as bad as he is depicted. He is showing an ability that is amazing and seems to be gaining his victories without much bloodshed.’ Gandhi, 1940.

    What next?

    ‘Fans of Gary Glitter speak out’?

  • Robert Scarth

    “Gandhi used to sleep with naked underage girls to test his vow of celibacy.”

    A test he passed if and only if he didn’t make a pass.

  • Brad


    Hitler was a fair painter. Charles Manson played guitar and wrote songs. Stalin considered himself a poet.

    How many times do you look for the good in these people? Can’t they be the same person?

    Now granted a bit hyperbolic as compared to Jackson, but it stands that he acted inappropriately and didn’t even seem to GET that he did.

    The idea is that he shouldn’t be deified for making some disco records. He spent a bigger portion of his years of noteriety as a molesting manchild with a plastic face rather than the “biggest entertainer in the world”. He was a poor negro from Gary IN from 1958-1966. He was cute Mikey Jackson of the Jackson 5 from 1967-1978. He was MICHAEL JACKSON from about 1979-1987 (with some creep beginning in the latter BAD era). He was Putty Face the child molestor from 1988-2009 with 3 failed “comebacks”.

    So tell me what he should be remembered most for.

    As it stands it was all this deification that ultimately drove him around the bend. Perhaps if people had a perspective that he made some fairly solid, light weight dance music with a couple of ballads and left it that, things would have been a lot different. Making him into the Second Coming turned him into a perpetual 14 year old with the biggest credit card in the world.

  • Alisa

    Was Jackson ever convicted of a crime?

  • In the words of the Norse Havamal:

    Cattle die, kinsmen die;
    Someday we ourselves must die.
    I know one thing that never dies:
    The lasting fame of the storied dead.

    Of course you have to behave yourself if you want the stories to be flattering.

  • Hitler was a fair painter. Charles Manson played guitar and wrote songs. Stalin considered himself a poet.

    Do you believe, even for a moment, that anyone would be buying and selling Hitler’s paintings, recording Charlie Manson’s songs, or reading Stalin’s poetry if they hadn’t been infamous criminals? By contrast, Thriller was the best-selling album in the world long before anyone realized Michael Jackson was weird. I realize that analogies compare unlike things and must be given some mild indulgence, but this one is just lazy. Try again.

  • Robert Speirs

    Somewhere in the afterlife, probably eating fried chicken and drinking vodka, Elvis Presley is looking down on all this and puzzling,

    “Hey, how did that little freak last longer than me, anyway? Life just ain’t fair!”

  • guy herbert

    What Joshua and Alisa said.

    We should ignore allegations of criminality if they are unproven, and to be critical of the scope of ‘criminality’ being extended by categorical reasoning.

    As for being weird, posters to a site for

    social individualists, classical liberals, whigs, libertarians, extropians, futurists, ‘Porcupines’, Karl Popper fetishists, recovering neo-conservatives, crazed Ayn Rand worshipers, over-caffeinated Virginia Postrel devotees, witty Frédéric Bastiat wannabes, cypherpunks, minarchists, kritarchists and wild-eyed anarcho-capitalists

    ought perhaps to be concerned to protect the right to be weird, if only for prudential reasons.

  • Alisa

    Very well put, Guy.