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Christine Kharazian

For Michael Jackson

June 27, 2009 at 5:40 AM

I grew up in Armenia. Then-one of the 15 republics of the Soviet Union.  I was in my teens, when Michael  Jackson became a King. Most of us never seen him on TV until much later. We only knew his voice. We learned how to spell his name in English. Some rebels would carve his name under the school desks.

I didn't ,of course, ruin desks, but I remember pressing the key of the cassette player to repeat a song again and again. My friend who could draw really well, kept drawing his eyes, after she saw him, of course.
Now I live in US. This year I decided to teach my school singing class Michael's song Heal the World. It's an elementary school, and many kids only thought of him that he is a freak and looks like a woman. I told them not to think about that and  just to sing the song . While working on the song my students understood that his music was bigger than the image the press and the society has built in recent years. When we performed it at the end of the year concert some parents loved it, and some raised eyebrows. But I never believed that a person of such pure talent could molest a child.
This all frenzy now reminded me a line from a Russian movie: The Adventures of  Baron Munkhauzen. Here it is: Do you necessarily need to kill him to understand that he is alive!!!
Peace to you Michael. Many say you were lonely in this world, but many of us, musicians, feel lonely without you.
P. S. If my English is imperfect, I apologize. I didn't want to give this to anyone to edit. Wanted to keep it as it came.
Christine

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on June 27, 2009 at 11:16 AM

You are right! People can say what they want but was he weirder than the King (Elvis), Marilyn Monroe, Madona, Britney Spears, etc etc etc... No, the only difference was that his "weirdness" showed in his physical look.  Also I think some mistook his immature behaviours (childish behaviours) for something much worse with kids IMHO. I love his music and even if I'm sold to the classical, he was one of the exceptions, one of my pop Idols.  In his was, he was a genius. I like your comparison with the Russian movie. So true. Society puts such pressure on young kid performers that they can crack or do all kind of things. Sad.  But I also want Michael Jackson to be seen as a great talented pop musician despite everything else!

Rest in peace Michael, we love you!

Anne-Marie


From SAM MIHAILOFF
Posted on June 28, 2009 at 1:16 AM

emensely talented ...yes The great impetus was the collaboration with Quincy Jones; now there is a genius. However after "Thriller" he just got weird


From Thomas Gardner
Posted on June 28, 2009 at 2:56 AM

I was ten when his "Thriller" album came out.  It was the very first record I every bought (an actual record mind you...nothing digital back then).  It was also the first time I spent my allowance money on something other than a toy or plaything.  Michael Jackson was for me the beginning of a new era of my life.  He helped to define a genre and helped to shape an industry.  Some of my friends (who are younger than me) don't understand why people are making such a big deal over his death.  I try to explain to them that for many people who grew up with MIchael Jackson he represented our "wonder years".  I didn't necessarily understand him these past ten or fifteen years...but I am saddened by the death of the man he was and for all that he represented to so many of us.  Just as he was the beginning of an era for many of us, in some ways his death is also the end of that era.  I imagine the death of John Lennon felt the same way to my parents, though at the time it meant little to me.


From Justin Keck
Posted on June 28, 2009 at 3:14 AM

Very well put.  I'm actually going to try and redo his "Billie Jean"...for violin, as a tribute to him for the Battle of the Bands at my school!


From Tess Z
Posted on June 28, 2009 at 4:25 AM

Well...my first memories of Michael Jackson were when he was very young and the kid brother of The Jackson Five, so my generation had the front seat to the evolution of his career.  From the start he was a kid with alot of talent and fans loved him.  He was The Jackson Five.  What happened between his childhood years and indeed, the Thriller album none of us will ever know but it's just a shame that someone with so much natural talent went so sour.

We can hope he found peace at the end.  Who knows...maybe in a few years his kids will write a 'tell all' book and give us some insight to his final years from their perspective.


From Pauline Lerner
Posted on June 28, 2009 at 6:32 AM

Having musical talent does not rule out being a child molester, nor does it rule out being crazy or mean.


From Alison S
Posted on June 28, 2009 at 6:56 AM

 

At my primary school the big debate was “Are you a fan of the Osmonds or the Jacksons?” Well as far as I was concerned there was absolutely no competition because the Jackson 5 were in a class of their own. They had the soulful harmonies, the dance moves and the Motown showmanship (and those multi-coloured, psychedelic seventies costumes were amazing!). Michael Jackson in the Jackson 5 was bursting with joy and vitality like a blinding star in a bright constellation.

Today I’m grateful for what he gave us and I hope for a rebirth of real soul music.


From Ray Randall
Posted on June 28, 2009 at 7:43 PM

The Jackson Five was (were?) very good. Too bad they didn't stay together with Michael. Maybe the crazyness wouldn't have happened then.


From Thomas Gardner
Posted on June 28, 2009 at 9:57 PM

I agree with you Pauline,

Child molesters should get an express pass straight to the chair if you ask me.  My wife and I have had a lot of discussions about this.  Because of his rather eccentric ways and his rather childish hobbies I think Michael Jackson opened himself up to being a big target for anyone who wanted to accuse him of being a child molester.  He put himself in situations which I as a public school teacher would never put myself into for the very reason that it could be misconstrued or even serve as an opportunity to fabricate an accusation.  That and the fact that at the time he was an extrememly wealthy individual I think made him an open target for people wanting to cash in.  Was he himself a naive child, since his own childhood had been denied him; or was he something else?  I don't know.  On the other hand, if any of the accusations made against him were true then by all means...he should have been prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law with the highest punishment given to him.  The fact is though he served his day in court and was acquited of the charges.  I can only go by what a jury of his peers found to be true.

I don't know if he was crazy or not.  Eccentric...yes.   A bit out there...yes.  But so of course have been a lot of people.  I think most musicians of his stature have to be a little eccentric and out there.

Mean?   Come on.  You haven't ever been mean Pauline?  I don't think being mean disqualifies you from being missed when you die.  Certainly whatever meanness you are refering to has to be balanced on the ledger with all the good he did and all the joy and happiness he brought to people.  If I had stalkers after me all the time and always people wanting something from me I would probably have even more mean moments than I do right now.  I have mean moments and I don't even have a good reason.  Meanness is open for interpretation also.  I have students who claim I am very mean when their grades aren't going their way but tell me I am their favorite teacher when they get what they want.

Maybe with his death more facts will come out about the charges against him, but until they do I am not going to condemn him for unproven allegations he was acquited of.  If they do come out I promise to never listen to my Thriller album again though.


From Elana Lehrer
Posted on June 28, 2009 at 11:17 PM

 I'm with Pauline.  I don't think the debate here is about MJ.... the debate is about the statement that "someone so talented isn't capable of hurting children."  This is a separate issue from MJ himself.... and I won't entangle myself in discussions about him (he was a bit before my time anyway).  But I do want to make one comment.  As I work in schools with children, we are required as part of our training to take seminars in abuse issues.... and I know for sure that having talent has *nothing* to do with guilt or innocence.  If a child says anything to us, we are required by law to take action no matter who the person or what their status is.  The concept that a guilty person has to be all bad, while it's easier to  believe, is common misconception.  After all, Jeffrey Dahmer was apparently charming.  Ha, I'm off topic.  I have no opinion on MJ, nor are my statements intended to reflect any opinion one way or the other.  Only to respond to an issue that myself and many others may have to deal with as school educators.


From Yixi Zhang
Posted on June 29, 2009 at 6:00 AM

Very well put Thomas.  MJ is a sad case and a victim of this crazy society he lived in.  His life and death should be a wakeup call to all of us. Fame, wealth, talent, friends, family, love... none of those makes a happy and balanced man.  What really matters in life?

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