My daughter was born the day that Michael Jackson died. After an atrocious labor and a failed epidural, I finally popped that kid out. I’d been awake for almost 40 hours and I was seriously exhausted. There was still blood on the sheets and I was waiting for the effects of the stupid failed epidural to wear off so I could get out of bed when a nurse came in to check on me. As she was poking at tubes and checking monitors, she said in a hushed voice, “Did you hear about Michael Jackson?” In my half-delirious state I said, “um, no.” “He died,” she said, very simply and then she left my room.
Well, at that moment, all I could think was Of course I didn’t know! I was a little busy here!!! But the significance of the day was not lost on me. Whatever else Michael Jackson may have been, and whatever we may think about those last years of his life especially, he was an undeniable force in music and pop culture. I’ve been introducing my kids to Jackson 5 hits and Thriller and other iconic tunes that they are growing to love.
When I think of Michael Jackson, it’s hard not to think about his life and the craziness of his final years. Having worked with sexual assault victims for several years, it’s not hard to imagine that everything ever said about him was true. He had access. He had power. And he had a totally screwed up life that I can only imagine left him emotionally stunted. As is the case with other celebrity’s accused of sexual assault, just because we loved them or they were funny or they were popular does not make them incapable of atrocities beyond our imagining. Humans are incredibly complicated and I think it’s ok to admire a person’s work while still holding them accountable for their actions. I can love the Cosby Show and still understand that Bill Cosby is probably a rapist. Again, access. Power. I can love Michael Jackson as an artist and still face the reality of his sexual depravity.
It’s strange that my daughter’s birth coinciding with Michael Jackson’s death initiates such a serious inner dialogue. Maybe it’s a good thing. It makes me consider human beings as a whole, the good and the bad. It makes me think about what we, as a society, will tolerate; what we will look at honestly and what we will forgive (or even deny). Maybe I would have thought about these things anyway, but maybe not. All I know is that the day Michael Jackson died, an angel was placed in my arms and she’s been singing and dancing through my life ever since.
I'm generally pulled in a million different directions and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Here's a glimpse of my life - hope you enjoy it! And if there's a big lapse between posts, well, that's the way life goes in Amy's world.