Thursday, June 25, 2009

R.I.P. Michael Jackson, The Most Tragic Pop Star Ever

By Evan Rytlewski
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Michael Jackson died this afternoon, the Los Angeles Times has confirmed. The news marks the end of the singer's long, painful decline. Michael Jackson was, without a doubt, the most tragic pop star the world has ever known. Other singers and rockers have battled with sex, drugs and violence. Many have committed crimes, but few have been accused of committing the taboos Jackson did.

Over the past two decades, Jackson saw his career whither, his finances erode and his name sullied. He became a laughing stock even though there wasn't anything remotely funny about him—certainly not the lost childhood he so transparently pined for, the shocking atrocities that all but his biggest supporters believe he committed or his grotesque appearance. Surgery after surgery transformed him from a handsome young man into a literal monster.

And yet behind that inhuman face there remained a very real humanity, a gentle soul too removed from reality to fit in, yet self-aware enough to understand that he didn't. You could see that terrible recognition in his sad, panicked eyes. As his mental health declined, Jackson struggled to do or say the right thing while in the spotlight, but he rarely succeeded. Seldom has a downfall ever been as sustained, as public or as humiliating as Jackson's, yet he couldn't stop bringing these indignities upon himself. 

Here's hoping that somehow Michael Jackson has finally found peace.

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