So the King of Pop has died, at the relatively young age of 50. Pop is not my music, so I was never a big fan myself, but my girls loved him when they were young, and tonight, driving home in the sweltering heat, I turned from NPR to a pop station and listened to several songs from when he was still quite young. Whatever else he was, Michael Jackson was incredibly talented, there's no doubt about it. He was an adorable little boy with an amazing voice, and there was so much energy and promise and yes, sweetness, in those early songs.
But somewhere along the way, in spite of his incredible talent, something went terribly wrong. I'm not going to speculate on his weirdness, either what caused it or how it manifested itself. His psychopathology did not negate his amazing talent. But it was a bizarre combination, all that talent and all that psychopathology. About ten years ago I was doing a psych eval on a 7 year old boy, and he made a comment that captured the tragedy of Michael Jackson's life very eloquently. This was a very anxious little 7 year old, and I was asking him what kind of things scared him. Thunder, of course. Darkness. Things that go bump in the night.
"Anything else?" I asked.
"It's OK, " I said, "you can tell me."
"Well," he said, looking up at me..."Michael Jackson...Michael Jackson really scares me" .
Yeah. Despite all that amazing talent.
So incredibly sad.
Cross posted at Talking to Myself