Their Bad Mother

Their Bad Mother

The Day The Music Died

Beat It was one of the very first albums that I owned. Oh, I had, of course, a collection of Disney Pops, and the soundtracks to Annie and Star Wars and the like, but Beat It was the first real pop album that I ever owned. And I listened to it endlessly. I danced to it, I dreamed to it, I rocked out to it as only a scrawny white pre-adolescent girl can: with utter abandon.

I didn’t have a crush on Michael Jackson – I was young, and had already promised my heart to Speed Racer – although my cousin Christopher accused me of just that. He’s BLACK, you know, he would whisper, the weight of the conspiratorial wisdom of all ten year old boys heavy in his voice. That means that you can’t have his babies. I didn’t understand what loving Michael Jackson’s music – anybody’s music – had to do with making babies – I wasn’t sure that I understood entirely how one even went about making babies, or why anyone would want to (the narrative of Billie Jean escaped me entirely) – but I knew that it didn’t matter to me what color he was.


This, of course, became the great cosmic joke about Michael Jackson: that even he didn’t know what color he was. That he became devoid of color. Except that in the way that mattered to me – what his music sounded like, and how it made me want to dance – he was always full of color. And flashing lights and fireworks; explosions of sound and feeling. Beat. He remained full of that color, for me – or rather, his music did – through all the years that followed, through all the controversies and scandals and the gradual disintegration of Michael as a person that I could recognize (literally and figuratively) as sharing the same human world as my own. The music never changed. The music was always among the mostly deeply textured, the most richly colored, that I had ever heard. And it always made want to dance.


Like a white girl. Like a white girl who didn’t know that there was such a thing as dancing like a white girl. Which is to say, like a person, just responding to the most stirring of beats.

And for that I’ll always be grateful to him, and glad that he was part of this world, my world, for a time.


Requiescat in pace, Michael Jackson.

Comments read comments(10)
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posted June 26, 2009 at 10:50 am

No way, I’m first!??
I agree. He was a star long before I was born, and his best albums were made when I was a mere child. I love(d) him, his music, he eccentricities. I never believed for one minute, any of the contraversial child molestation charges, and I will believe until the day I die that those were brought up just so some mom could make a buck. Not gonna lie, there.
I will miss him. His music will forever remain in my heart and soul, as well as my CD player in my car.
Definitely, RIP…..he needs the peace for sure.

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posted June 26, 2009 at 11:40 am

No snarking here either- had the Thriller poster on my wall. Choreographed a one-glove dance routine to Billie Jean for my little sister’s girl scout troop. I believe his legacy will be his music, and not his vagina-nose freakshow phase. (oops was that a tiny snark? sorry).

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Seymour Butts

posted June 26, 2009 at 12:16 pm

I came to a post by you about Michael Jackson from a link in another post by you titled “I Like Baby Butts And I Cannot Lie”. Ahem.

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posted June 26, 2009 at 12:19 pm


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posted June 26, 2009 at 12:42 pm

No snarking here. Loved his music as a teen especially! It was one of my first real records, and yes I said record.

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posted June 26, 2009 at 2:38 pm

What a great tribute. I’m also glad he was part of my world….. Always made me want to dance also! He was a legacy and his sadness of later years should not be how we remember him. Thanks for this!

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posted June 26, 2009 at 5:08 pm

I had a hard time explaining to someone that I am sad he passed away because it is as if a part of our childhood died.
Do I like what he became later in life….no. Were my walls as a pre-teen and teen covered with Michael Jackson, oh hell yes. Was he guilty of what he was accused? I think so. Will we ever know? No, that is between him and his maker.

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Paula C

posted June 26, 2009 at 6:42 pm

Thank you for your post and like you no matter what was said about Michael Jackson I loved his music and love him for the music, artistry and dance moves. He is the moon walk guy, he is the guy that would and always will get the foot tapping and the dance floor moving. Man, Woman and Child around the world loved Michael Jackson.
He will be missed.

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posted June 27, 2009 at 9:58 am

There aren’t words… What a star!

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posted June 29, 2009 at 1:33 am

He will be missed dearly :o(

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