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Michael Jackson: Icon

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Michael Jackson’s sudden and tragic death has revealed the truly iconic status he had achieved in the world. While some of the news media has chosen to continually harp on what they have labeled as Michael’s eccentricities, especially what they have called his bizarre appearance and behavior over the last few years, his 40 years of unbroken creativity and musical genius have secured his enduring iconic status in the minds of an adoring global public.

No death in the last century, including Elvis’s and Princess Diana’s has generated the kinds of spontaneous and sustained expressions of love, respect, and tribute that Michael’s passing has. His musical genius and his iconic status have earned him a permanent and revered place in the hearts, minds, and memories of people of all races, colors, creeds, cultures, and genders throughout the world. The bigger than life icon that Michael Jackson became did all of that for him. Becoming an icon has its price however. Icons frequently consume, confuse, and destroy their hosts. They compete with and frequently engulf the real self. They rob the person of their identity and privacy, then turn them into objects of prey, subvert normal human relations, and induce aberrant behavior. (Witness icons like Elvis, Anna Nicole Smith, and most recently Heath Ledger.) Such was likely the case with Michael Jackson.

The foundation of his being was an extraordinary god-given musical talent—let’s call it the genius that it was. It was enough to make him a star entertainer by the time he was 12 years old. Though the youngest member of the Jackson Five, he clearly stood head and shoulders above his older brothers as a musician, dancer, and entertainer. And no one questioned the fact that he was their leader. But he was also still himself— Michael Joseph Jackson, a talented, hard working, exuberant child prodigy whose contagious infectious spirit and energy brought joy into the lives of all who saw or heard him.

Still one of the Jackson children, albeit the most talented and attractive one, Michael Jackson still struggled to live as normal a life as a genius child can live. Michael sensed that his public wanted more and the perfectionist in him demanded that he give more, become more, become larger than his human self, become larger than life. On the way from stardom to superstardom, Michael Jackson the child prodigy invented Michael, the larger than life icon. Along the way, he lost track of who he was. Struggling to sustain the larger than life icon image—the public face and persona of superstar icon Michael, Michael Jackson became more and more confused and developed more and more distorted views of himself—of who and what Michael Jackson was. The cherubic persona that was the child prodigy Michael Jackson wasn’t good enough to become the iconic Michael. He needed to be fixed—to be transformed—to be perfected based on some external standards of beauty that were the virtual negation of the bubbly, charismatic black child prodigy Michael Jackson. Numerous plastic surgeries and skin treatments killed the physical Michael Jackson and invented the new Superstar image—the icon.

The same distorted view of himself led him down the road to anorexia. Just as anorexics are unable to make accurate assessments of their weight, Michael Jackson lost his ability to make an accurate assessment of his physical self—of his own physical beauty. So he kept fixing himself until he had literally destroyed/erased the physical essence of himself. Ironically, in the final analysis, his iconic status had little or nothing to do with his physical appearance. Granted, the glove, the unique military-like dress, the penny loafers, the white or sequined socks, the moon walk and other dance moves were all props in the making of his iconic image. But it was his music and his showmanship that endeared him to his global audiences and lifted him head and shoulders above the rest of the entertainment world.

The public image of Michael, the Superstar, left little room for Michael Jackson the human being to live and be. Confused, anxiety-ridden, and depressed, the warring Michael Jackson and Michael, the iconic Superstar both finally called it quits. But the musical legacy lives on.

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We dedicate our song You are

We dedicate our song You are your Ancestors (U is Iku - How Great a History we are) to him. As he is now an Ancestor-bless his journey. www.myspace.com/familyindeed

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH - THE

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH - THE BENEFICENT - THE MERCIFUL:SAY:HE,ALLAH IS ONE.ALLAH IS HE ON WHOM ALL DEPEND.HE BEGETS NOT,NOR IS HE BEGOTTEN.AND NONE IS LIKEHIM. [QUR'AN:112]." OF ALL OUR STUDIES HISTORY IS BEST QUALIFIED TO REAWRD ALL RESEARCH." [MALCOLM X].BY THE GRACE AND MERCY OF ALLAH BEING BORN IN THE SAME DECADE AS MICHAEL JACKSON AND TO BE OF THE OPPRESSED AND COLONIZED AFRICANS IN AMERICA VERY FEW PEOPLE COULD HAVE WITHSTOOD THE PRESSURE MICHAEL JACKSON ENCOUNTERED IN THIS LIFE.BY THE GRACE AND MERCY OF ALLAH IT HAS BEEN REPORTED THAT MICHAEL JACKSON BORE WITNESS THAT THERE IS ONLY ONE DEITY WHO HAS NO CONSORT AND AND WHO IS ALLAH AND THAT MUHAMMAD IBN ABDULLAH [PBUH] IS ALLAH'S LASTPROPHET AND MESSENGER THE CREED THAT MAKES ONE A MUSLIM.MICHAEL JACKSON WAS UNIQUE AND ALLAH IS SUFFICIENT ENOUGH FOR A WITNESS.ALLAH'U'AKBAR.TAIF'TUL'ISLAM-P.O.BOX 338-COMPTON,CA.90223

I think the public's

I think the public's disenchantment with MJ was based on a little more than his "eccentricities." Might I suggest a read of several well known headlines regarding his " behavior" at his ranch.......

Remember innocent until

Remember innocent until proven guilty? You and your ilk like that Long Island politician-Peter King who called Michael a pedophile, yet deliberately fails to cite testimony of the accusers of those Brooklyn rabbis involved in sexual abuse of male and female children, and who have escaped public condemnation by the same press that you desire to enchant us with unproven accusations. Your agenda is transparent, and your concerns are not really to protect children. Scapegoating Michael Jackson will not cover your sins and you're fool if you think so. We're now living in the day of manifestation.

Michael Jackson was and

Michael Jackson was and still is a Genius, but I wished that he lived longer, and didn't have to take those prescription pills given to him from people who never cared about him, but only cared about the money.

I believe this article could

I believe this article could have been equally well written without putting down Michael Jackson's siblings as less attractive. I think that that personal opinion is hurtful, ill placed and untrue. I personally believe that Joe and Katherine Jackson had a beautiful group of children, although they all fell prey to the distorted self image, as young African American children with african features and brown skin, that was inescable in the limelight of a country that was forthright about its racism.

I am grateful for Howard

I am grateful for Howard Dodson's words about the late and great Michael Jackson, for The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is OUR repository, and Jackson was a major history maker. However, as much as I appreciate Mr. Dodson's efforts, I note that his blog covers SINGULAR aspects of Michael Jackson: the singing and dancing side of him. There is more. Michael Jackson was the most extraordinary entertainer of our time -- yes -- and one of its most tormented souls -- also yes -- but he was most definitely a PHILANTHROPIST and the world followed in his footsteps just as the ensemble he led sang "We Are The World." His superstardom did not only come from the rhythm in his feet, it was the size of his heart, an often broken heart. He cared for the world, and tried to teach us all to do likewise.

Thank you for sharing your

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Michael Jackson was truly a genius, representing that which should be an inspiration for people to care more about the human condition. Michael's love, concern,attitude,respect,talent and his vision of a better world will be shared in many ways forever. Listen to the many song lyrics he created. I do believe he was a true messenger of love an ideal for the future ;with a divine guidance that maybe he did not realize. As Maya Angelou wrote in her tribute to him which was so eloquently read at the memorial by Queen Latifa ...... "at Least we had him" Quite an impact he'll have if people listen and not be so judgmental....

Pain. Both physically and

Pain. Both physically and spiritually, emotionally suffering. No one can really understand the full gist of what he endured. Because until you have 'stood' under the pressure, and loneliness, and ridicule, and bitterness, and sometimes pure hatred surmounting in the battle of attacks on your person, your persona, your life, your memories, your family, your status, you can't touch it. Albeit, we (the world) watched his transformation, but we really never fully understood it. Although this well written article attempted to articulate the gravity of the the person of Michael Jackson, it failed to acknowledge this ine thing:That in his 'giving' he was the example to the world that that was the true showmanship. We can talk about a whole a lot of things but let's talk what it really is. When you have given so, that books attempt to record that which they cannot. When you gave not only from your pocket , but from your soul and it is depleted and nothing returns. Then the question is asked: What was he filling up on? Who or what was pouring in to him? He was giving. Did he give too much? Was too much expected? Is that where he lost sight of the real, in the selfless? I don't know. None of us do. We just know we lost Michael, why? Only his Creator knows that. For a man is alotted a certain time upon this earth and then... But I guess the only thing we really do know, is what he left, and it wasn't a dance.

Michael was an awesome

Michael was an awesome person. I believe he was not allowed to live a normal life because of so many fans. We all have our own personalities; we are all different - Michael was different with his own personality. He deserves to be laid to rest; and rest in peace without alot of "bad talk". In the days to come there will be alot of talk about him over dosing on drugs and the children not being his - well he didn't cause any harm to anyone living man or animal. Michael has brought music to our ears, music that we hum and sing without realizing it. Let him die in peace; he gave so much of himself; don't try to take away his fame by expressing your negative opinions. Thank you, we love you Michael.

Michael Jackson was/is an

Michael Jackson was/is an icon. However, much of what you have written about Mr. Jackson's distorted view of himself, his anorexia, his confusion, skin treatments, etc... is all media speculation. Unless you were intimately involved with Michael Jackson, I don't think you or anyone else should make reference to things that you can't be completely sure of. What you can be sure of is that he was a Son, Brother, Father, Friend, and human. Anything beyond that is unnecessary.

Dear Mr. Dodson, Your

Dear Mr. Dodson, Your description and analysis of Michael Jackson, the greatest entertainer we have ever witnessed on this planet, is the finest testimony to the fight between Michael and the Iconic Michael Jackson that I have ever read. As a matter of fact, your interpretation is the most talented writing on Michael Jackson that I have read during this explosion of love messages and hate venom to hit pages for readers! I salute the Schomburg and You for telling it like it is! I was and am a Michael Jackson Fanatic, not a Fan, I'm a Fanatic who loved Michael's music messages, his breaking down of the doors of racism in the music business, and most of all, his understanding and execution of doing what was best for HIM in the business end of showbusiness! Michael Joseph Jackson is the businessman template that we, Black Entertainers and Educators, should be teaching in high schools and universities around the world. We'll prepare our young entrepreneurs before they break into the business of entertainment. Michael Jackson was the leader in making it possible for today's lesser talents to get the big opportunity in the music industry. Most of today's group should be eternally thankful for the Michael Jackson Story that opened more doors than we can ever remember! In concluding, Michael was the top indidividual giver of dollars to charities and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities on this planet. His giving was just as big and legendary as any thing else he did in the music industry. Michael gave terminally ill children the comforts that only money, his money could afford for them and their families as they lived through lives of extreme pain and no way to pay for quality medical services. Most of the time, these stories of Michael's generosity went unpublished, but were definitely known by the Press. Finally, Michael Joseph Jackson used his acute business mind to obtain the music catalogs of the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Lady Gaga, and the Jonas Brothers. These acquisitions brought out the demonic haters of Michael Jackson and the player haters who attempted to destroy the Icon's legacy. People like small minded Congressman Peter King from Nassau County New York is an example of the haters. As a Fanatic Fan, I'll fight until my last breadth to preserve the great legacy of the greatest entertainer the World has ever seen! And as for Congressmen Peter King, I'm going to make sure that his days in Congress will be numbered. When and if he runs for higher office, I'm going to lead the Michael Jackson Fanatics in a political campaign that folks have never seen before. The Michael Jackson Fanatics will make sure Peter King is out of political life forever. We will not use falsehoods and untrue statements to beat him, we'll be determined like Michael Jackson and get educated voters to vote Peter King into civilian life. Peter, We're awaiting your attempt at higher office!! In the interest of preserving truthful Black History, Mr. Zachary C. Husser, Sr. Image Builders The Family of Friends Network

As a fanatic fan of MJ,

As a fanatic fan of MJ, please count on me to support your campaign against Peter King "The Ignorant". Thank you.

Mr. Dodson, thank you for

Mr. Dodson, thank you for your well written statement concerning Michael Jackson, while the whole world mourns his passing, we can remember the times and how he got off the wall and made a huge impact on the entire nation. He will be missed.

I share the feelings of Mr.

I share the feelings of Mr. Dodson. Michael can now be with the angels.

Hopefully by the end of this

Hopefully by the end of this week Michael Joseph Jackson will be able to RIP. I feel as though my youth was taken from me. Michael was a gentle soul, you could hear it in his voice and he was very socially conscious of the world and what was going on in it although he lived in a fishbowl. You heard it in his music and saw it in his videos. That idiot Peter, who wishes he was a "KING" is a racist and he wants to keep people separated. Michael Jackson brought people together...let the record show how every last one of his shows were SOLD OUT! worldwide past and present. It's not important that people won't remember the year you were born or the year you passed away, but it is most important to make that DASH in between! Michael made his dash! Now the world will never know how the hell did he do that perfected forward gangster lean in that Smooth Criminal video. ONE LOVE, SANDRA

It is most difficult for me

It is most difficult for me to put into words the depth of the loss that I am feelling over the loss of Michael Jackson. As an older, African American woman, I have followed Michael's journey from the beginning. I was definitely taken by his shear showmanship, at such a tender age. I think Smokey put it best by saying that "at age ten, Michael sang and performed with the skill of a much older person, and did my own recording, better than I did." On the way home from the Staples Center following the memorial, I happened across a radio station -I think "Haddity", Conservative, who was arguing with a Black Pastor. Haddity, like so many others was still caught up in the bogus charges, spurred by a money-grabbing parent, which relatd to his son, who had been one of many children that were guests at Michael's Neverland. The Pastor was pointing out that M, in his private life was childlike, gentle, kind, spiritual and demonstrated pure gifts of love toward children, much like that of a parent and child. Hence his buring desire later in having children of his own. But the stupid Haddity persisted in making Michael's comments about love and children -which he played repeatedly on the radio, into something sexual. That, in itself revealed more about him and his perseveration of thought, than it did about Michael. Nonetheless, it really burned me about how stupid this man was. How could anyone listening to the tearful remarks that Michael's daughter had just shared at her father's memorial, along with the hundreds of children that Michael came in contact with, say ANYTHING other than the fact that he played with them in a very innocent and childlike, fun manner, at all times. There was nothing ever proven to be sexual, after all the media, doctor evaluation, etc. during that embarassing and humiliating time period for Michael. So why can't/couldn't all this nonsense be put to rest? How could anyone in their right mind miss what Michael's true nature was? Even Brooke Sheilds who knew him more intimately than most, pointed out such qualities in Michael. Not to mention Lisa Presley, who was married to the man. And what about the butlers, nannies, food personnel, etc. all of whom, were around during periods of down town, when Michael was around children. Nobody ever said anything about anything to do with sexual display, behavior or tendencies, in regards to such allegations. One would think that after the Memorial's public display of who Michael really, would have to be most stupidest person in the whole world, if they still didn't get it. I felt I knew him better, which was the reason I confronted the sign carriers across the street from the corner of the Staples Center, which had some very negative statements on them -more stupid, ignoramouses. Of course they had notihing intelligent to say, except to say, something about "abomination" -which in itself showed their ignorance. For that matter, so is cursing at one's parents, adultry, wearing tatoos, laying with dogs! -according to the Bible (Leviticus 20:11-16) and more importantly, being fat/lazy and ignoring the poor! (Eziekiel 48-49) All are abominations! So do we condenm all the world governments? What about the poor in the U.S.!? Over the years I felt that I knew him better than they did, after reading many articles, books, etc.,. including having followed the life of his family and mother, who like mine, is totally devoted to the same religion. So thank you for putting Michael out there for who he truly was -a gifted and kind human being, who gave much to the world in so many ways to so many people; yet one who was plagued and troubled by the anomaly of his two selves. Simply put by Berry Gordy, who referred to him as 'like a son to me", and the "greatest entertainer who ever lived". Michael, rest gently in peace. onja

Mr. Dodson; Your tribute of

Mr. Dodson; Your tribute of Michael Jackson addresses all there is to be said about him, and needs no further collaborations. However, there is one point of view: Michael Jackson quietly endured/suffered the agony of being media labeled, with rebukes from envious insensitive people with double standards. Consequently, insecurities or inferiorities of self surfaced. But, there is no excuse for surgically carving and the reshaping one's face or body so to be accepted by others. One would dare say - Michael wasn't strong enough to fight those oppressing demons that harassed him into thinking he wasn't an attractive/handsome enough individual. He, like a well known biblical character, endured the agony, rebuke, and scorn of some like a lamb being led to the slaughter rather than to stand up to fight back verbally and through judicial venues. As Congresswoman Jackson said, one is innocent until proven guilty. And, just as his brother, Marlon also stated on yesterday, "maybe 'they' i.e. name sayers, media, accusers, will leave you alone now." It is my prayer that Michael finds rest, comfort, and peace in the presence of the Almighty, who sits high and looks low on this world filled with calamities. Thanks for the opportunity to offer my thoughts.

Dear Howard Dodson; Thank

Dear Howard Dodson; Thank you firstly for the expression of respect to Micheal Jackson, I agree with your analysis. In short I beleive MJ was searching for a self in which he could have for himself and that his talent brought about the oddest results. I always admired him as a cute little boy and then a very hansome man. His family is as good looking as he was in my opinion and I admire the strenght that they exhibited with respect to his last rights and his children. God bless the Jackson Family and keep them united forever.

Dear Dr. Dodson; Thank you

Dear Dr. Dodson; Thank you for sowing the concern that you have for Micheal Jackson. I share you opinon and believe that MJ was trying to create a self that he could have for himself. His (MJ) talent made it possible for him to go to the extreme in oddity. He live and he gave us all and we have all shown our appreciation and grief of his early transition. I always thought that Micheal Jackson was a cute and adorable little boy that grew into a most hansome man. It is my opinon that his entire family are good looking people and I appreciate their unity and strenght with regards to his last rights and his children. They have shown love and respect for their departed love one. God bless and keep them forever loyal to each other.

Please remember in all that

Please remember in all that has happenend...for there is another message in all this. Stress brings on physical pain. Just think Michael suffered when his persona was challenged. Yes being a star brings conflict and entertainers have to grow thick skin, but here's a man who would not hurt anyone, a child or an adult. MJ was hurt, in pain. Yes he needed drugs to help him deal with the hurt and iy manifested into back pain, not sleeping and depression. I'm sure someone you know or your own self have experience some of this. What we don't want to happen is have it affect others. Did MJ hurt you? So why the big negative fuss. The ones he hurt are they in the public eye now? Where are they if they are so hurt. What did MJ do to Peter King? MJ gave so much in song, spirit, money and himself and he just could not get rid of the that "hurt". I hope that all the haters or those that settled with him [for money] think about what it is to give so much and still be denied a simple "thank you" or "smile". His hurt all started when you took from him and it hurts. That is all Michael wanted was a smile. It represents so much. Yes we may have not agreed with how he spent his down time, but I know in my heart he could not and would not harm anyone's child. So if people keep hating then they are in pain for some reason. All that WE got to experience is his music, words and philanthropy. Just think if your child was hurt by someone, wouldn't you have justice take care of that person? why take the money? If Peter King wants to talk about being honest, true and right, how about his celebration on July 4th. Does he want to give back land to the real Americans, the Indian tribes?? Think about the hurt for generations they are feeling.

I agree that Michael was a

I agree that Michael was a genius. I also agree with the reader who said that article could have been written without putting Michael's siblings who are also talented and attractive. A few of us grew up listening to the "Jackson 5". That group was made up of more than one Jackson. I think the other siblings should receive credit for their talent or just not mention them in an article. They are also human beings with feelings.

I think that Mr. Dodson's

I think that Mr. Dodson's article on Michael is one of the better write ups in comparison to what's currently floating around about Michael online. However, remarks about his change in appearance such as skin treatments should have been left out. None of us knows about Michael's health issues. He stated for several years that he suffered from Vitiligo. I am disappointed that African-Americans ridiculed him for this and instead chose to believe that he disliked his brown skin. With his passing a few things have been revealed about his health (which should have remained private) by Deepak Chopra and Michael's former Dermatologist. I always chose to believe what Michael said about his skin change. I don't know many African -Americans who ever lightened their skin and I also find it difficult to believe people of color can endure such treatments without damaging their skin. One thing Michael no longer needs is judgment from anyone whether it's the African-American community or the media. RIP Michael--You will always be great

Rep. Pete King is a

Rep. Pete King is a contradiction of his oath of office. Instead of defending the concepts of the constitution, as a congressman should, his belief is that you are guilty until proven innocent. Michael Jackson was never convicted of the vile names that he called this great american icon. While over a 100 million people worldwide mourned his passing, Rep. King cowardly chose to defile Michael's memory before he was in his grave and unable to defend himself. My only wish is that you,Pete King, and all those who think like you will experience the same defilement of your love ones while you are trying to them a proper burial.

Shame on you and all that

Shame on you and all that hyped mourning garbage. I saw M.J."s side show that was to be some kind of memorial. Hogwash, you don't have little boys sleepover your house, let alone in your bed. What a show his family put on.So you made alot of money in the music bussiness, get real America,we are upside down now. God bless Peter King, he's a hero in my book. Do you think M.J. gave a hoot about are economy or the people without job's? not.........Peter King is a stand up guy,could you say that about M.J.? Oh....what about the secret door

micheal Jackson was great at

micheal Jackson was great at his dancing and singing i'm a singer myself too. I sang on news channel 5 in teach the children. I'm the biggest fan. He's the one who insipred me to sing .

There is no doubt about

There is no doubt about Michael Jackson's talent and his achievements as an entertainer. However, there is doubt about Michael Jackson's character and his actions in his private life. I am disturbed by the people who are ready to canonized Michael Jackson. Have you read the book written by Bob Jones who worked with Michael Jackson at Motown and became vice-president of Michael's company MJJ productions, he was privy to Michael Jackson's life and what he writes about him is not pretty. He writes about how Michael hated black people and the evidence he presents is strong. Do people realize that if Michael Jackson did molest one or any child, that this public lauded of Michael Jackson is an emotional assault on that child. The only ones that know the truth are the Michael Jackson, the little white boys and God. It is possible for a man to be a musical genius and a pedophile. Exhibit A R. Kelly As for Michael's charity work the more you research it you will find it was more public relations than anything else.

I think your comment is just

I think your comment is just ignorant. You have only read a book by someone who wrote it for money. How do you know that perhaps BOB JONES didn't get repremended for something and is now bitter? If MJ did rebuke blacks for a time, it was because they called him names along with everyone else about his skin color change. THEY rejected him as well....it was all ignorance. Unless BOB JONES was a physical witness to the accusations, you cannot speak anything. MJ was blessed of God and blessed others all over the world with his giving. Have YOU done any of this? Be careful not to judge, for with the same measure, all things will be judged back to you. Interestingly also, the people who accused him of these terrible things have confessed. One boy's mother has been charged with welfare fraud....the family has been known to have exstored money from others before. But the press hasn't pushed any of that news all over the media like they do terrible things. Know why? because it would embarrass them. THey were part of the shark-fest and publishing the now exposed truth would discredit them. Most people would altogether stop watching their news.......you think about it. All facts should be exposed to the media. Until then, you are not God that you have a right to judge anyone in this manner. Shame on you and shame on this BOB JONES, just another leach!

Howard..well said. The

Howard..well said. The articulative artistry of your words have so eloquently painted the perspective persona of Michael Jackson. Ironically...Michael's life hung in the balance between his "pain and glory." Michael has admitted time and time again that he did not enjoy his life off stage. He once said "If I could sleep on stage, I would." He really did not know who he was and he had a difficult time relating and trusting people ...especially adults. Most of his life, he related only to family and did not have any outside friends. He became shy and reclusive because of it. Michael needed someone he could really trust besides a family member to help him face himself. Unfortunately, Michael perceived "everyone" wanting domething and not being true to him. Truth be told...everyone has this problem of really trusting people, as they get older. We, as human beings only really have one to two "real" true friends in a lifetime. I am talking through the thick and thin friends. Many will pretend to be a friend until you go through a crisis in your life. That is the time when you find out who your real, true friends are. Michael must have really felt it because he had reached a height in his career that was stratospheric. He was the biggest star in the world...what he didn't know on the way there is that it is an extremely, lonely place. I think if he had known this...he would have retired sooner. No one really ever reaches where he has gone. In reality, he was dubbed this by people. Was he great? ABSOLUTELY! He needed to understand himself more before going on to become a huge star...In the end..it contributed to the price of his life.

I appreciate this essay and

I appreciate this essay and the subsequent commentary. I've been in a long time depression and it has deepened and darkened since Michael's death. It's a confounding experience on a daily basis. In the wake of his death I have rediscovered Michael and I am in a great deal of turmoil about the truths and realities of his whole existence. It's impossible to separate his public status from the mysteries of his private life. It's clear Michael was greatly troubled. I sincerely hope he didn't assert himself sexually with underage boys (or any males--so sorry if that reads as homophobia), but I have no way of knowing. I do know that he was supremely and uniquely gifted and, at various times in his life, quite beautiful. That's a superficial concern, but I think his original, unaltered appearance might give testament to the initial purity of his spirit. Mr. Dodson's essay gives a thoughtful look at the decline Michael suffered internally which was expressed in his adult behavior and his physical appearance. It pains me that he was so at odds with his looks. It scares me that he allowed himself to extensively indulge a regressive fantasy. I don't understand it. I don't understand why I want to understand it. I regret that his death is what brought me back around to him as I now am remembering how much he impressed me with his artistic works. I feel a deep, unanticipated and inexplicable emptiness for his loss and I hope that God will provide the truth before I meet my own end. Michael was but a man, but he was a very special man and, I believe, is deserving of whatever benevolent energy any person chooses to expend upon him. There are many serious issues in today's world demanding attention, but a figure such as Michael is not to be ignored. People can care about his life and death as well as the goings-on of our planet. I miss Michael Jackson and I truly hope he is somehow, some way, at peace.

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