I vowed inwardly to myself that I wouldn’t do it, and I even made a half hearted promise to myself to not do it. I even told some folks closest to me that I wouldn’t do it, but this morning I realized that I simply cannot help myself. I have to write today’s blog on Michael Jackson. I have to “talk” about it much like someone needs a therapist to express some intense inner emotion that he or she has bottled up inside of them.


        Some folks have verbalized their total disgust and weariness at the nonstop multichannel news coverage of his death since the moment it was reported. I have actually been spared that suffering because I turned off the television about a half hour after the announcement of his passing and did not turn it on again until late last night. Because of that I was hoping that I had been spared from enduring the never ending focus however I was a bit baffled to discover that widespread continual coverage of Michael Jackson was still going strong on almost every channel almost four days later.


        I want to be clear about something which is that I feel for his family. I have sympathy for and concern for any family that loses a loved one whether they have a famous last name or not. Shock and grief over sudden and unexpected loss is a very real and deep pain that I myself have experienced and because of that, I feel nothing but empathy for anyone who is navigating through those same waters. My limited patience therefore is not with the Jackson family or his close friends who knew him well and obviously loved him. My frustration and my disgust is with the frenzied media coverage in which he is described in such lofty and divine terminology that applies an almost deity like status to an individual who was clearly a very confused and distressed person. As I said, I have only viewed a cumulative total of about an hour and fifteen minutes of coverage and that alone, to a degree baffled me. I was not at all surprised at the adulation and worship like attitudes of the many fans around the world that were being interviewed. I expect that because fans are just that…fans. The word “fan” is derived from the word “fanatic” and its meaning  reflects the thought of being completely consumed and enamored with someone or something. In our world we have sports fans, music fans, science fiction fans, American Idol fans, you name it, the list is endless. I understand that and that is not my main objection. I can accept someone having a different opinion than me about Michael Jackson however what I have a very difficult time with is reputable news media also gushing over him. Gushing is just about the best word to describe what should have been responsible news reporting. In the limited time that I listened to the news, I heard one news anchor describe him as “someone who truly knew how to love and spread that love.” Excuse me?  Huh?  Unless this news anchor personally knew Jackson, how could he make such a statement? To the contrary, Jackson was an individual who was apparently a very mixed up guy. More than once, accusations of child molestation and inappropriate behavior with minor children had been brought against him. On several occasions, his behavior before and after court appearances related to those charges was extremely eccentric. He showed up in pajamas, he looked to be almost in a stupor or at some level of incoherence as he was being led into the various courthouses. It has been widely reported for years that he has been involved in the abuse of various medications not to mention speculation about heavier drug involvement. Then the most disturbing aspect about Jackson over the years is his continual life long quest and desire to physically alter himself. An individual who seems to have a desire to change his skin color, his features, his hair and so on is one who we understandably have questions about how content he is with himself. Folks, when someone has their nose repeatedly chiseled on to the point that even medical personnel state that the patient is near to losing their entire nose due to lack of cartilage and tissue, there exists an identity crisis. A person who is whole, satisfied and emotionally well does not exhibit much of the behavior that Michael Jackson did.


        Admittedly, the height of stardom that he reached brings with it some unique challenges and responsibilities. Others are also extremely wealthy, famous and live in the unrelenting glare of the public eye and yet they maintain some semblance of normalcy and a level of inward stability. Whether he was emotionally scarred from the reported abuse of his father in his early years or by being in the spotlight since he was a youngster may never be correctly determined. An accurate conclusion that we can arrive at however is that Michael Jackson was a lonely and conflicted individual who was screaming out for help in various ways throughout the last half of his life. I do not feel disgust for him as much as I just always felt immense pity for him. No, I do not feel disdain for his sorrowful life.


         I am seriously frustrated however with intelligent folks who should know better than to idolize him. Not just the news media but parents and adults everywhere in our society are falling all over themselves to jump onto the Jackson worship bandwagon. I heard one lady interviewed who was standing next to her thirteen year old daughter on a street in New York City. She was asked how she felt when she learned of his death. She said “Well, I don’t think of it as a death because to me , he wasn’t even a human being….he was so much more than that…he was a phenomenon.” Really?  No maam, he most definitely was a human and a confused one at that. Another interview I saw was that of a group of approximately seven or eight teenagers who were quite hysterical over the death of Jackson. They were on bleachers, about four of them were crying very hard, another was pounding the bleachers with his fists and the last two had their heads in their hands and could not look up to answer the reporter’s questions. As I watched this distraught group of late teens, I couldn’t help but wonder if any of them have felt the same degree of emotion or grief for any of our fallen soldiers that are featured daily on various news programs.  Folks, where have we gone wrong? Something is terribly off kilter when young and old alike in our culture are seemingly devastated to a point of being unable to function over the passing of a public figure who in reality was a desperate person in his private life. Granted, he was a gifted musician and entertainer with extraordinary talent but we are in a very sad and sorry state when we begin to confuse talent with the inner core of who a person really is.


        Michael Jackson is now gone from this earth and he is spending an eternity somewhere. I am not the Lord and would never declare to know with absolute certainty where he will be forever nor would I want to. My concern at this point is for folks everywhere, particularly our young people of today and who their heroes are. What about the children who we personally love and are close to...as they grow older, who is it that they watch and admire? Who are they so consumed with in their lives that would cause then to bury their faces in their hands and groan and cry over? God help us to be the kind of parents and grandparents that are wise enough to be the right examples before those impressionable little eyes that look to us for so much direction. My son who is a pastor recently made the comment that he is continually amazed at how our culture will worship the supposed “king of pop” but ignores the “King of Kings”. How profoundly true that statement is.


        If you are someone who has young people looking to you for guidance, please start pointing them in the right direction. You may think that just one person cannot make a difference but that is where it starts, with each one of us purposing within ourselves to combat this terribly confused and misguided world in which we live.


        Michael Jackson…talented?  Undoubtedly.  Famous? Absolutely.  A celebrity? Definitely.

A life of character, contentment, depth and wisdom?  It’s very doubtful.

God help us to understand the difference.