Sunday, June 28, 2009

Where were you?

For some of us, it's easy to remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when something tragic happened in history. August 16, 1977 -- I was at my friend's house when I got a phone call from my mom saying Elvis had died. Katie and her family weren't big fans, so it didn't seem to affect them, but I was in shock. Another big day was September 11, 2001 -- I think most people remember what they were doing on that horrible day in history.

The other day someone posted on Facebook that Elvis had never seemed real to her. He was more like an icon, someone to be impersonated, or made of wax. She wondered if her two-year-old daughter would feel the same way about Michael Jackson as she felt about Elvis. She's in her 20s, so I understood what she was saying, but I couldn't relate at all. I'm 44, and to me, Elvis was very much a real person. I grew up listening to his music, watching his movies, reading books about him, and seeing his live concerts. He couldn't be more real to me, even to this day.

I'll be honest -- I've never been a huge fan of Michael Jackson. In fact, I looked on my iPod and couldn't find one of his songs. I only have one of the Jackson 5 and one of Janet's songs. That's kind of sad if you consider I have 8818 songs on my iPod. I just wasn't that into him, but I liked his music and loved his videos. I was on Facebook on Friday when the first report of Michael came out. I sat glued to my computer waiting for more information. I was surprised because, as I said, I never considered myself a big fan. However, you can't deny the fact that he was the top selling performer of all time. He was huge, a superstar, an icon -- now a legend.

My biggest interest in Michael Jackson has always been his relationship with Lisa Marie Presley. Growing up in a home that loved Elvis, I was always jealous of Lisa Marie. And unlike Michael, I have both of Lisa Marie's albums on my iPod. Yesterday I was looking at photographs of her and I still think she is one of the most beautiful women in the world. Lisa Marie and Michael both lived very strange and unusual lives. I've always been interested in their marriage.

Yesterday I went to Lisa Marie's blog to read what she had reported about Michael. It was very heartfelt and touching. I was appalled by some of the comments people had left. Some people are just downright nasty. It's pretty sad when some loser of a person stops by a blog and leaves raunchy comments. I mean, MJ has millions of fans who love him. He's done a lot for the music industry, the film industry, and the charity world. There's no denying that. So for some loser to leave disgusting comments makes me mad. What have they contributed to this world? Will people cry when they die? It made me mad because Lisa Marie didn't deserve that. Even though they were divorced, I'm sure she's heartbroken. In addition, she has to be going through the same thing she felt when her father died.

So ... even though I wasn't a huge fan of Jackson, I still feel affected by his death. Maybe it's simply because it's a repeat of how I felt when Elvis died. Maybe it's because of the connection between Michael and Lisa Marie. Maybe it's just because I realize he was huge. Whether you liked his music or not, no matter what you thought of him as a person, or whatever opinions you developed about his criminal investigations -- there's no doubt he wasn't a megastar. As someone who isn't really into celebrities that much, I think Michael Jackson is worthy of the media hype. In his own way, he contributed something to this world. To have millions and millions of people mourn his passing, says a lot. He will be missed by many, including me.


  1. That was really nice Rena and I completely agree. He was probably one of, if not THE most famous people in the world. He broke barriers, could dance like no other, had an amazing voice and was just brilliant musically.

    He never had a childhood and was basically a little boy in a man's body. I think he was freaky to be honest, but I have always thought he was amazingly talented.

    Have fun camping!


  2. Yes. Just...Yes. :)

  3. woops that was me...:)

  4. Both TH & I were in the office, on our comps, when he blurted, "WHAT?". Of course I immediately looked over to his comp and saw what he was reading. I'm not gonna lie, I was absolutely shocked to read that headline. Even with the surrounding insanity of his life, I always thought he'd live longer.

    Michael Jackson's music played in the background of my life, particularly as a young child during the Thriller years. At that time, he was the epitome of everything that was cool. I'm not a rabid fan by any means, but I do love his music. It can't be denied how massively talented he was.

    You hit the nail on the head, Rena. Generally, how you felt about Elvis' death is how I feel about MJ's now. Just...unbelievable.


  5. MJ always seemed like such a mysterous person. As you said, like a child in a man's body. He must have been terribly damaged as a child. I'm sure people are scrambling to be the first to publish a "Life of Michael Jackson" book or to get that movie out. It will be interesting to see how he will be portrayed.

  6. There was a time in my life when I was a true Michael Jackson *fanatic*. As an adult, deep down, I was still an adoring fan. I will miss him.

    Your thoughtful post is appreciated, Rena. Well done.

  7. It doesn't seem real. I've listened to his music since I was little. I loved the Jackson 5 music, and his music was always part of the Amusement Park shows I performed in during the 1980's. I agree with you about the nasty blogger comments. Why do people feel the need to leave such inflammatory comments at the expense of someone else? I leaves me wondering sometimes.

    Thank you for such a reflective post, Rena.

  8. I love Michael Jackson and feel sad about this tragedy. I will miss him.

  9. My daughter and I heard the news on the car radio just after it happened and were so shocked - especially following the sad news of Farrah...
    Like you I was never a huge fan, but I did like his music and admire his talent. His dancing was just phenomenal.
    Great post.

  10. I heard the tailend of the news report on my way to a Sisters in Crime meeting and when I arrived to the meeting, that was kind of the buzz - everyone wanting to know what was being said about Michael Jackson; then right after the meeting started, my daughter called me and asked if I had heard the news - that he was dead. I was kind of freaked out but more in shock I think.

    It was a tragic week - Ed McMahon passed on Tuesday; Farrah Fawcett on Wednesday and Michael Jackson on Thursday - three in a row - and it was unexpected for each of them. Well Farrah was expected in a sense in that she was on her deathbed but I think she advanced much quicker than they gave her time wise.

    And then yesterday, Billy Mays passed away - the Kaboom spokesperson - Makes you wonder who is next -

    Rena, when are you announcing the winner for your blog tour? It was a good tour and I think you had some very interesting stops along the way - see you in the postings - E :)

    Elysabeth Eldering
    Author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS), 50-state, mystery, trivia series

    STATE OF WILDERNESS, Book 1 of 50 now available.
    STATE OF QUARRIES, book 2 of 50 now available
    STATE OF RESERVATIONS, book 3 of 50 coming 2009

    WHERE WILL THE ADVENTURE TAKE YOU NEXT? (series newsletter forum)

  11. I also was not a big fan of MJ, but I do remember sitting in front of the t.v. the first time they played the Thriller video...I couldn't take my eyes off of the t.v...

    I hope he has finally found the peace that I think he searched so hard for when he was alive.

  12. Great post Rena. I grew up on Michael Jackson. I clearly remember the first time I saw the Billy Jean video. Thriller was like the most amazing thing my friends and I had ever seen. And every time I hear "Man in the Mirror" I sing it out.

  13. Great blog today Rena. I, like you, am not a really a fan of Michael or his music but he really was a legend and a superstar. It was a shock I think because he was only 50 and I will admit that when the news first broke, I thought it must be a publicity stunt.

    And you are right, I think this will be one of those times where you remember where you were. (for my mom it was Kennedy's assassination and Elvis' death) For me so far, it has been Princess Diana's death and 9/11.

  14. Great post, Rena. You stated that beautifully.

    I've always felt sorry for him. I would never trade places with him. I think my poor, anonymous life has brought me so much more joy than I think he got to experience.