Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Dear Michael

Dear Michael,

Last night, on Dancing with the Stars, the final dance was a ridiculous group number to the classic song, Rockin’ Robin.   This song has been around forever, and has been released by several different artists, but without a doubt, my favorite version is yours, back from the early days. It captures your youthful energy, years before you became the King of Pop.   You were a star, even as a child.   And what an amazing child you were!   What talent.   I actually remember the days of the Jacksons, and those white spacesuits you would wear in your TV specials.

After “Dancing with the Stars,” I thought about you.   I watched a couple of your old videos on YouTube.   I love the Afro from the seventies! Everyone knew you were a brilliant singer and dancer back then, but no one expected your fame to shoot through the roof in the eighties.   I can’t think of any musical career like yours.   Is there anyone anywhere in the world who has never danced to a song on “Thriller?” (My favorite album is still “Off the Wall”)

I remember once being in Thailand, being driven in a tuk-tuk by a driver playing “Billie Jean” on the radio.

You were a role model to me, a symbol of a what could happen when you are talented.   You took your childhood talent and ran with it, eventually reaching the pinnacle of fame. You were the King of Pop!

And then you just went bonkers.   You seemed miserable.   You became the butt of jokes.   All my life, I was under the illusion that artistic success, fame, and fortune were the goals of life — and this would bring happiness to the one who attains it.   What went wrong with you?   Why were you fooling around with your face so much?   Who cares if you are gay/straight?   Didn’t anyone tell you that your obsession with young boys was unhealthy?   If I can find a good therapist in Los Angeles, couldn’t you?   It should have been as easy for you as… like your own song goes… ABC.

I hope you get your act together.   Maybe one day, you can go on tour again, maybe a couple of weeks in Las Vegas.   It would be a sellout.   I would go, unless it is really really expensive.   If so, I would just watch it on HBO a few months later.

If you don’t want to heal yourself for yourself, do it for me.   It makes me feel sad to think that you’re miserable.   If the King of Pop can’t be happy with everything he has, what hope is there for any of us?!

28 Comments

  1. You must have missed out on the fact that this past weekend was the worldwide “Thrill the World” dance. http://sfist.com/2007/10/23/saturday_record.php Yep, the greatest worldwide Thriller dance. Even my kids from last year knew the dance, thanks to “13 to Going on 30.” But I have to admit that “Rockin’ Robin” was one of my favorite MJ songs, right after “The Love You Save.”

  2. My sons love the old Michael so much and refuse to believe it’s the same person when they see recent photos.

    Get it together, Michael! I’ve never seen you live and I’m tired of the Chris Brown/Justin Timberlake wannabees of the world!

  3. It is painful to see this video of “I Want You Back.”

    So talented. So good looking. Such a smile. Such charisma.

    Where did the self-loathing come from? Who planted it and let it grow?

  4. i saw on the news last night that he’s in jeopardy of losing his “ranch” and is now living in washington. i think a huge part of his problem with success is that this is “news”. i do agree, it’s sad what he’s come to and it’s such a waste of his talent.

  5. Neil, you are a genuis!

    Who hasn’t sung “The Love You Save” into a hair brush or curling iron? (Or is that just me?)

  6. word has it there was some major abuse from his dad. childhood abuse can lead to some real messed up adults.

    i wonder if MJ looks at old videos of himself and regrets his killing his true looks. i also wonder if he things the young MJ ‘attractive’ in a “here, let’s have some milk and cookies in my bedroom’ kinda way.

    sad and scary.

  7. That was such a beautiful post and a really powerful statement on pop music. If worldwide success and acclaim isn’t enough, then what is?? I hope Britney Spears is paying attention. Maybe this will deter her from plastic surgery!!

  8. like mckay i wonder if michael looks at himself and wonders where he went. imagine if you looked into the mirror and couldn’t even recognize yourself…

    now i am settling in to enjoy these videos. such a good way to start off a morning when i am up way too early…

  9. There was a couple of moments there, in I Want You Back…, where you could actually see a CHILD..perhaps even having fun.

    I used to think he was reslly cute back in highschool..

    Hey Neil, can YOU dance? Not Thriller..ballroom…?
    just wondering..

  10. Fame is a two edged sword. It can bring you to the pinnacle of glory and in a blink of an eye, the damnation of eternity. 🙂

  11. God he was adorable… and so talented. What the hell happened? It’s so sad.

  12. In the early 90’s VH1 did a MJ special where they played his stuff non-stop for 24 hours – videos, movies, concerts…and I recorded every single minute on my VHS tapes. And then I watched them over and over. I even tried to learn the Thriller dance, but seeing as how I’m completely without rhythm, I looked like I was having convulsions instead.

    Remember the video for Smooth Criminal? Yeah that was awesome.

  13. it really is sad. he must have had some serious trauma in his life to end up where he is.

  14. Fantastic post, Neil. I miss the old Mike, too. Thanks for such a beautiful tribute.

  15. I think he had some daddy issues.

    Plus, I agree Off the Wall is my favorite album too.

  16. man, watching that “i want you back” video makes me soo sad for scary plastic mj. I just want to reach into that video and pull him out and wrap him in a soft blanket and then we’ll spend the rest of our days watching saturday morning cartoons and eating cereal on the living room floor and running in the park chasing butterflies.

  17. I haven’t given the “Gloved One” much thought as of late, but now that you mention it, Neil…I truly think that his father’s abuse, physical, emotional, etc. was a huge factor that contributed to his state now, as an adult. I wonder if he ever tried therapy, the kind that short circuits the old wiring and replaces it with new and improved. I feel for his kids.

    I thought he was adorable as a kiddo, and cute as a young adult. He started to wig out, post Thriller. Interesting topic, Neil.

  18. For what it’s worth Billie Jean is still the tops here in France. I don’t remember attending a single wedding in my 6 years here where we didn’t dance to it sometime in the wee hours. It always drives the bride’s maids crazy…

  19. Worldwide fame is never enough – boy haven’t we seen that played out over and over.

    I’m thankful for my “small” life.

  20. I feel the same way!

    WHAT HAPPENED, MICHAEL??

  21. I road tripped to “Off The Wall” this weekend! I hope he gets it together not just for you, but, for his own children.

  22. I just could never get over how Michael sounded…and almost began to look…like Diana Ross, his good friend. What’s up with that?!

    Yes, he’s certainly no longer little Michael Jackson whom I used to watch in performance with his big brothers. I guess we have something to attribute his “going bonkers” to:

    Don’t blame it on the sunshine
    Don’t blame it on the moonlight
    Don’t blame it on the good times
    Blame it on the boogie

  23. I love old MJ- but now he seems damaged beyond repair. I feel so sorry for his children.

  24. Dear Neil,

    Your letter to Michael was lovely. I think, if he reads it, it might help some. If I were Michael, I would be incredibly touched.

    Yours respectfully
    Di

  25. I wonder why Michael went bonkers. can fame and fortune really mess up someone’s brain that much? *sigh*

  26. Hi Neil! I haven’t left you a comment in way, way too long but as always your posts leave me laughing. I enjoy coming to them during my crazy studying breaks after work sometimes. Three things… during the season when Mario Lopez was in the running, I got so sucked in I thought I would kill myself if he won. I couldn’t stand him! Second, do you know anyone in their 20s or 30s? I am trying to find a woman in the Boston area to fix up my desperate friend, Andy, with? (I wrote about him on my site.) Most importantly, can you please, please email me Sophia’s phone number??? I want to call her back! Thanks!

  27. Alexandra — I love that you used this comment to send an irrelevant person message about fixing up your friend. How Jewish. I find this very funny (if not a bit neurotic, but in a good way)! And why is this Andy still single? Is there anything wrong with him? Would he be happy with a woman with “a good pesonality?” Does he have all his teeth?

  28. Aww, great post. I wrote my thoughts about his death but have not put it up on my blog yet. I was not sad that he died because it didn’t shock me but at the same time, wow – what timing! A month before his final sold out concerts in London! What was with the fact that he traveled with such a huge medical team? And IV poles? How did he get to that point? Was he a good father? Are his children normal at all? He was great back in the day. His music was awesome – always will be – and he was a great entertainer. But what a sad life!

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