Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson: 1958-2009

Yesterday, the world lost one of its most incredible and legendary performers: Michael Jackson, the "King of Pop" was pronounced dead at a Los Angeles hospital after apparently suffering cardiac arrest. Further details about what happened are not yet available, but the Los Angeles Police Department is investigating, as is usual when a high profile celebrity dies in the City of Angels.

The media frenzy over Jackson's death has been incredible in scope, with cable news channels devoting almost exclusive attention to the news, and newspapers carrying giant headlines on their websites. Twitter and the AOL Instant Messenger network experienced such a large spike in traffic that both services were brought down temporarily, as chatter in response to the news rose dramatically in volume.

It was a welcome relief to find last night's Daily Show with Jon Stewart free of references to Jackson's death, although it will doubtless be covered on Monday.

We at NPI will remember Michael Jackson in much the same way that millions of other people will remember him: as a troubled person who created great music.

Hits like "Thriller", "Black & White", "Beat It", "Heal the World", and dozens upon dozens of others still remain some of the greatest pop songs ever produced. Jackson's albums "Off the Wall", "Thriller", "Bad", and "Dangerous" are some of the bestselling records in the history of modern music, and they will continue to be. Indeed, as of this writing, the top fifteen bestselling CDs on and the top ten at Barnes & Noble were all Michael Jackson albums.

Jackson will be remembered as a humanitarian; he financially supported some thirty nine different charities during his lifetime.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters this morning at the daily press briefing that President Barack Obama remarked to his aides that Jackson was "a spectacular performer". Here's an excerpt from the transcript of the briefing:
Q: Okay, I will ask. The President has talked a lot about his love of music. He hosted Stevie Wonder here. He has talked a great deal about what's on his iPod to Rolling Stone Magazine. Well, what's his reaction to the death of Michael Jackson?

MR. GIBBS: I talked to him about it this morning. Look, he said to me that obviously, Michael Jackson was a spectacular performer, a music icon. I think everybody remembers hearing his songs, watching him moonwalk on television during Motown's 25th anniversary. But the President also said, look, he had - aspects of his life were sad and tragic. And his condolences went out to the Jackson family and to fans that mourned his loss.

Q: Why not a written statement, then?

MR. GIBBS: Because I just said it.

Q: And you say he did send condolences to the family -- did he call the family personally?

MR. GIBBS: Not that I know of.
The Hill is reporting that the House of Representatives paused for a moment of silence this morning to honor Jackson's memory.

A zillion celebrities have already paid tribute to Jackson, either on their blogs, on Twitter, or in statements released to the media.

Hunter has posted a well-written obituary at Daily Kos that says more eloquently what any of us might be tempted to write about Jackson's life.

So long, Michael. Rest in peace and thanks for the music.


Blogger Mike said...

MJ will live on forever through his music and videos. A tribute to his life: never forget!

June 26, 2009 1:35 PM  
Blogger kelly said...

i never hated on u Mike.. like the rest of the world did... i always loved you with all my heart. i always stuck up for you..i always held you down.. and im so upset i never got to meet you.. let alone experience you in concert. it would have been the best ever,im sure. Rest In Peace MJ.. your legacy in music and talent will most certainly live on. its a wonder how many people talked smack on u.. but everyone had you in their hearts whether they admitted it or not. Love you Michael J. God has better plans for you-and whatever it is.. youll succeed...

June 26, 2009 8:33 PM  

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