Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gary, Indiana

It’s interesting to feel like the last one to know worldwide news. That’s how I felt when the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, died. As most people would agree he was an artist that was able to reach many generations of music listeners and perpetually shape the music world. After several decades in the limelight his death seemed to touch everyone, and seemed to remind people who may have been skeptical of his later years why he was such an important and iconic figure.

My two friends and I were on a road trip across the United States, unaware for two days of Michael Jackson’s death. We were driving through his home state of Indiana when the news finally reached us via an unlikely source, a tabloid magazine. When I bought the copy of OK! Weekly with Michael Jackson on the cover of it and the headline, “Michael's Tragic Death,” I was confused. I found myself questioning the information since I have never thought of tabloids as reputable sources of information, the same feelings Hanson mentions people had with We turned on the radio afterward just to double check and sure enough there was a King of Pop tribute hour.

When we drove through Gary, Indiana, the actual birthplace of Michael Jackson, looking for gas, it was incredibly strange and moving. There was no way you could be in that town, even just driving through, and not feel something; everyone seemed to be grieving for him. It was almost as if the culture of the town had passed away with him. The experience of just being in his birthplace, especially so close to his death, somehow made me feel much more connected to everyone else’s grief.

Since we were stuck in a car together my friends and I had a lot of time to do group communicating on the subject, and what we each thought about the messages we were receiving from the radio, magazine, and newspaper articles. My friends were feeling the same way as me, sad. The media played such a large role in it because even on the road we were constantly getting updates about his burial date and children’s custody. Although it wasn't unexpected for details on his burial to be made public, it felt strange to me to be part of an anonymous audience in regards to burial information, a matter which I generally associate being dealt with by close family members.

Passing through Gary, Indiana and seeing how much his death affected people there I felt guilty for having thought of him as a creepy guy, who was also an amazing musician. I thought about his kids and how they would miss their father. How many peoples lives he had touched with his incredible music and how he changed the music world today. The media was incredibly focused on his children, doctor, and family in the time after. They did an excellent job of helping me sweep away the questionable incidents that occurred during his life and focus on his music career .

fans mourning over his death in his hometown Gary, Indiana

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I definitely had felt that same feeling being the last that heard the news of MJ's death. I found out via Google news, and I went to tell everyone on Facebook to just find out that everyone had found out before I had.

    But, what amazed me about his death was how death completely changes peoples perspective of somebody.

    Like you said, before he died , so many people thought of him just as a creepy guy(who happened to be a great musician)and most of the attention that he had been getting was geared towards making fun of him.

    After he died though, All of his controversy was just about forgotten and pushed aside.

    I think Michael Jackson's whole life was filled with the media trying to get anything they could from him. I think it shows questionable moral character when the people in the media that solemnly announced his death were the same exact people so eager to get any dirt they could find to twist a story from.