It struck me today, walking around my neighborhood in Brooklyn, where every passing car and every storefront had a different MJ tune blasting at top volume, how closely intertwined sorrow is with joy. Here we are, a culture mourning the loss of one of our most significant pop icons, but mourning with songs that make you want to burst out in spontaneous dance, no matter how lame your moves or how ridiculous you might look moonwalking down the aisles of the grocery store.
Michael Jackson found his own joys in odd ways, and probably there is much analysis to be done by someone more qualified than me about the inner child that, suppressed by early fame, persisted in peculiar and haunting ways through the rest of his life. But there’s no question he also brought joy to many millions of people, through the sheer delight of music and movement and spectacle. It feels like the appropriate way to say goodbye, then, is to celebrate what he left us, to sing along and dance (well or badly) and remember his remarkable, joyful contribution to our lives.June 26th, 2009