news from yesterday is that Michael Jackson, self-styled King of Pop, died.
i'm sure for many people my age that contemplating it results in a muddled middle-ground emotion.
cemented in my mind is the elementary-school memory of hopping into my family's van after playing a league basketball game at the local YMCA, whereupon my dad announced in his odd humor way that we were "going to have a guest stay with us for a while" , then revealing the Thriller LP record he had just bought. i recall being thrilled (wordplay!), as was my older sister. Billie Jean, Thriller, Beat It, all part of the MJ cultural storm that was sweeping the nation at the time.
had Michael Jackson continued on as a normal human being and either made more great albums or at least faded respectfully from the industry, we'd all be simply saddened to hear about a music icon's passing.
of course MJ instead had to go off the rails and get creepier in appearance and behavior (my dad's comment above was obviously crafted well before the touchy-feely controversies of the 90s) so now people of my generation are left torn between "man his ascendancy was a significant cultural imprint on my childhood" and "boy, he was pretty much a freakshow pedophile after the glory days"