Michael Jackson’s death is giving everybody the opportunity for some public self-flagellation over our culture’s celebrity obsession. Oh, we are so horrible, how we monster-ize and devour the objects of our affection, etc., etc. I don’t really have anything to add on that front. I feel no personal shame over MJ, who I never met, but who is also the subject of one of my earliest memories–watching MTV announce that the video for Billie Jean was the Video of the Year or whatever they called it back then. He was a celebrity, and that’s his job: be awesome, then weird, then pathetic. And he did it well. That he probably molested some children along the way, well, that’s tragic, but since lots of non-famous people molest children all the time, I hardly feel like I’m responsible for it just because I liked Thriller as a kid.
If I had a beef with Michael Jackson, it was with how literally he took the title “King of Pop”. Dude had a serious medieval king fetish. I’m pretty sure he named his son “Prince Michael” because he figured that the son of the king is a prince.
For the sake of his legacy, let’s just pretend that this is the way Michael had the items arranged in his own home. Wouldn’t it be pretty to think he commissioned a painting of himself as a bored medieval monarch and hung it on the wall over his life-sized replica of the Tim Burton-era Batman costume,* positioned so that it seemed to say, “My excess, it bores even me; quick, bring forth my minstrel Emmanuel and have him caper for me, for I am in a black mood”? That would be pure class.