On my way to work I was listening to The Sound of Young America podcast. There was a comic (name forgotten) talking about celebrity/celebutantes being a creation of the US government. Stolen election in Iran? Send in a celebrity to do something gawk-worthy and distract the national consciousness. I laughed at the concept, and then thought, I don’t even follow celebrity gossip.
Hah. A few hours later, the news started to pour in via Facebook and Twitter. Michael Jackson was rushed to the UCLA Medical Center. Can’t you hear the helicopters?
Yeah, there was no mistaking the noise. I clicked refresh a lot of times and talked to my co-worker who had just returned from lunch. He said he saw the ambulance rushing up Westwood Blvd followed by black Escalades. The SUVs were driving wildly, “with no regard for human life,” and almost hit someone. He said, “wow, someone important must be in there.”
I left work a little after the LA Times confirmed TMZ’s statement that he had died. I wasn’t getting any work done anyway. I walked down by the hospital on my way to the bus stop. It seemed that there were as many people with cameras and microphones as those just wanting to talk about their affinity for MJ and his music. I took a few photos and then went home, listening to Bad, Off the Wall and Thriller.
The rest of the day has been reading reactions, listening to his music, watching videos and reflecting.
How much I loved Captain EO at Disneyland. It’s much better than what they currently have there.
Being jealous that my brother and cousin both had Beat It t-shirts.
Making my mom play the We Are the World record again and again. I also loved just looking at the cover.
Doing the “Thriller” dance with the UCLA band during our Halloween halftime show at the Rose Bowl in 1998.
The videos. For a brief period we had cable at home. I remember the “Man in the Mirror” video the most.
Most of all though, I think of the fact that my consciousness of pop music began with Michael Jackson (and the Beatles).