Another piece of shock news as Michael Jackson dies unexpectedly at what is a relatively young age of 50. And of course we are all both horrified and fascinated by it, whether or not we were ever fans of him or his music. These kind of unexpected twists, especially in relation to someone we all know about, highlight the tragic nature of our existence. Because there is a Michael Jackson in us all. A combination of being very public and very reclusive, wanting people to know and recognize us and yet wanting to have our own space. And, like him, conflicted about our identities and with low points matching the highs. The media are having a field day speculating about his health, his childhood, his mental state, his apparent loneliness, his talent, now tinged with a kind of wistful speculation as to what might have been had he lived longer.
It’s not quite another Princess Diana moment, but as with all celebrity lives and deaths these things hold up a mirror to ourselves, our own hopes and aspirations, and the reality of our struggles. An opportunity to face up to the baggage we all inherit from childhood, and also to reflect on the contribution we can make to the wellbeing of those who come after us. Whatever the truth about Michael Jackson’s lifestyle and health, his music will live on in the lives of his many fans. Thanks for the memories. RIP Michael Jackson – a ‘Rare Iconic Personality’.